What it is
Nordic walking is an all body workout involving walking with poles in urban areas (sidewalks, roads, parks, local trails) and in natural areas (local parks, trails, and mountain trails).
Nordic walking started in Finland in the early 20th century as a summer training exercise for cross country skiers. The real breakthrough of Nordic walking as a practiced exercise came in 1997, when a Finnish company, in cooperation with athletes and sports medicine experts, invented a new wrist strap system to make the present-day Nordic walking technique possible.
Europeans adopted Nordic walking as a favorite activity because of it's time-efficient, low-stress, total body workout.
Cross-country skiing has been long recognized as being one of the most effective body workouts for burning calories and building cardio-vascular fitness combined with reduced stress on your joints.
- Nordic walking adds stability to your fast walking exercise, through the use of poles, allowing you to take in the view or hear the sounds of the creek and the birds.
- It is an all body exercise and if done well uses the entire body including legs, arms, and core and burns more calories than just regular walking.
- Walking with good poles and good technique takes 20% of the impact off your hips and knees. In addition, if you have knee or hip issues or don’t like running, Nordic Walking is a great alternative.
- It is a low impact way to get outdoors any time of the year and you don’t have to drive a long way or at all, as you can walk right from your door.
- Nordic walking requires only minimal equipment such as a set of quality Nordic walking poles and outdoor clothing similar to what you would use for active outdoor activities like cross country skiing, running or walking.
- Ideally it is good to have:
- A good set of quality poles, preferably those with wrap around straps to lessen hand fatigue, and rubber tips for walking on pavement or sidewalks and carbide tips for trails. Poles come in fixed lengths (lighter) or can be collapsible making them great for travel. Consider getting higher end lighter poles to reduce arm fatigue, enabling you to go further and faster.
- A pair of high quality walking shoes or light boots in good condition
- Wool or synthetic base layers to wick sweat from the body
- A light pair of gloves to protect hands from rubbing on the grips and reduce sun exposure
- Extra wicking insulation layers depending on the temperature
- Wind coat or waterproof/breathable raincoat depending on the weather, location and duration of your walk
- Water bottle, sunscreen, hat and food/snacks for longer walks
- Backpack or fanny pack to carry extra clothes, food and water for longer walks
The Norseman has a wide selection of Nordic Walking poles, outdoor clothing, packs, pole parts and anything else you might need for Nordic walking.
Where to go
Nordic walking can be done anywhere - explore your neighbourhood, a local park, the foothills or mountains. You can try Nordic walking anywhere there are trails. Pleasant surroundings and scenery will increase the enjoyment and provide motivation to go on longer walks.
Come and talk to us at the store if you want some ideas on places to go.
For more information on Nordic walking, check out this article from Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, “Fitness trend: Nordic walking – Walking with Nordic poles burns more calories and works more muscles than conventional walking”.