By Kim Watters, Fitness Manger
Here at Red Mountain we are always looking for the next adventure, and an outdoor adventure is even better. So we were pumped when we discovered Nordic Walking, also known as ski walking. This exciting activity combines the two methods of traditional fitness walking and cross country skiing, including the use of modified ski poles.
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 well-known fitness sports.
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 i.e. 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
Red Mountain invites you to Nordic Walk with us among the beautiful red rocks of Snow Canyon State Park. Our Fitness staff is ready and can help you reap the benefits of Nordic Walking as we lead you into our next new adventure.