Fall in Love with Nordic Walking
By Kim Watters, Fitness Manger
Our guests have fallen in love with Nordic Walking. This exciting activity combines the two methods of traditional fitness walking and cross country skiing, including the use of modified ski poles. Our guests find it easy to learn and they experience the additional benefits of using the poles the first time they try it.
Nordic Walking was first used as a summer training method to keep cross-country skiers in tip top shape through the snow-less days of summer. Later a group of professionals consisting of researchers in sports medicine and other fitness professionals developed it into a fitness exercise. Nordic Walking was first launched in Finland in 1997. It has rapidly increased in popularity and today Nordic Walking is a well-known fitness sport.
According to the International Nordic Walking Association there are many benefits to Nordic Walking. Here are a few that stand out when compared to traditional fitness walking:
- Heart rate is 5–17 beats per minute higher (for example in normal walking heart rate is 130 beats/minute and in Nordic Walking 147 beats per minute—increase is 13%).
- Energy consumption increases when using poles by an average of 20% compared with ordinary walking without poles.
- Up to a 46% increase in energy consumption (Cooper Institute research, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sports 2002 publication).
- Releases pain and muscle tension in the neck/shoulder region.
- The lateral mobility of the neck and spine increases significantly.
- The muscles most actively involved are the forearm extensor and flexor muscles, the rear part of the shoulder muscles, the large pectoral muscles and the broad back muscles.
- Does not aggravate joints and knees.
- Reduces the load on knees and other joints.
- Consumes approximately 400 calories per hour (compared with 280 calories per hour for normal walking).
- Poles are a safety factor on slippery surfaces.
As the Fitness Manager, I also love Nordic Walking because it's an excellent work-out that a wide variety of guests find enjoyable and challenging. It is perfect for those that want to work a little harder than with traditional walking. This is accomplished by the added upper body work and the naturally longer strides which creates a faster pace. It is also a phenomenal workout for those that need a little more stability, due to back, hip, knee or ankle issues. The added support of the poles allows for a steady stable pace and the added upper body work helps alleviate the work load to the lower body. As a side benefit everyone stands taller and breathes more efficiently.
Come and try it out. Our Fitness staff is ready and can help you reap the benefits of Nordic Walking too.