Nordic Walking got it’s start in Finland in 1987 when Marco Kanteneva recognized the benefit that Nordic skiers received from using their poles during summer workouts to maintain upper body strength and cardio fitness. Using a shorter pole while walking creates the same results. Today half of the Finnish population walks with poles and over 600,000 Austrians own poles.
So what’s the difference? Nordic Walking takes your walk to a new fitness experience. It adds an upper body workout that engages your upper back, shoulder, arm and core muscles. In fact you have the potential of working 90% of your body’s muscle groups while Nordic Walking. It’s less stressful to your joints, burns more calories, increases your oxygen consumption and your heart rate, adds stability and balance, and relaxes your mind while increasing your coordination.
Anyone can do it regardless of fitness level or age and you can walk right out your front door to get started. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and a set of poles. Once you’re walking with poles you’ll also be able to use them for stretching and strengthening moves.
I’ve been a fitness walker for 24 years and started Nordic Walking in 2004, so I have personally experienced the difference that adding poles has made to my overall fitness level especially in upper body strength. As a 55 year old woman I want activities that I can enjoy doing for years to come and know that Nordic Walking is fun, safe and a great workout. As a sport it’s attractive to a wide range of individuals, including many who have never been active in sports before.
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