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Nordic Walking

Walking with poles

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Updated March 25, 2014

Nordic Walking Urban Couple

Nordic Walking Urban Couple

Scott Markewitz/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

How can you make walking a better overall workout without feeling like you are exerting any more energy? How can you overcome the slouching, neck and shoulder pain many get from working at desks and computers? Across Europe, millions of people have taken up nordic walking to give them a good workout and loosen their neck and shoulders.

What is Nordic Walking?
Nordic walking uses two specially designed poles to work the upper body while walking. Like cross country skiing, the poles are used by the arms to match each step the person takes.

How is it Better Than Just Walking?
For a better but easier cardio workout, nordic walking increases your heart rate without increasing your perceived rate of exertion. You get a better workout without feeling like you are working any harder. While you can get a similar heart rate effect by walking faster, there are many people who do not want to walk faster or cannot walk fast.

Upper Body Workout
Nordic walking works the arms, shoulders and upper chest and back muscles through a full range of motion, stretching and lengthening those muscles which are often tight. The motion works to overcome the hunching forward that many people adopt while working at desks, computers, reading or watching TV. Many people exhibit stress by tightening their neck and shoulder muscles. Nordic walking loosens up those knots.

Stability and Posture
On any surface, the poles provide more stability for walkers who have balance knee or leg problems. Proper use of the poles and arm motion encourages good posture. People who had given up walking for pleasure find that they can walk comfortably with the poles. For natural trails, the poles provide stability for walkers much like a hiking stick.

Next page: > Technique

About Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking | Technique | Poles | Upper Body Workout | Cardio Workout | Who's Doing It

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