What is Nordic Walking?
Nordic Walking is a wonderful open-air sport, a gentle training which developing endurance, strength and fitness. The perfect exercise to obtain and easy loss in weight without joints stress. Even runners choose Nordic Walking as regular or temporal exercise in case of knee or hip joints problems, or when they must completely recover from a trauma. Nordic Walking actively involves
arms movement and, in so doing, it increases shoulders and chest pectoral muscles and strengthens cervical muscles. Nordic Walking decreases the load on hip, knee and foot joints. It is therefore possible to assert that Nordic Walking is 40% more effective than the traditional one. Nordic Walking exercises all-important muscles the same way cross-country skiing does. Arms and shoulders are actively involved making the exercise more effective. It is an easy sport to practice and a natural alternate pace movement.
Nordic Walking history
In the Thirties, Nordic Walking was already used as summer training for cross-country skiers. From this experience, researchers and sport doctors developed the new trendy sport. Today, the Nordic Walking suggested by ANI, has evolved a lot, due to the research on this wonderful sport activity. Nordic Walking is a sport of Finnish origin that favors health and endurance, with 46% higher energy consumption than a regular walking. In Finland, more than 750.000 people are involved in this sport. Little by little Nordic Walking is conquering Europe as well.
The “Nordic Walking virus” has affected all of Scandinavia and is now spreading toward Southern Europe. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Nordic Walking has become the new interesting offers for the most active customers of hotels and tourist resorts. Balme offers magnificent naturalistic panoramas and the experience of Enea Berardo, regional ANI instructor.
Nordic Walking advantages
Many studies have been carried out, throughout the years, on Nordic Walking, and they have proved all of this sport advantages:
- Nordic Walking is 40% more efficient than walking without poles,
- Nordic Walking increases energy consumption due to the great muscle engagement (85% of the whole body musculature, that is 600 muscles),
- Nordic Walking decrease the load on the human motor apparatus better protecting ankles, knee, vertebral column joints,
- Thanks to the active engagement of breathing apparatus auxiliary muscles, Nordic Walking increases the whole body oxygenation,
- Nordic Walking keeps up four of the five main physical or conditional qualities: endurance, strength, motility,
- Nordic Walking eases up shoulders and nape contraction,
- Nordic Walking delays the aging process,
- Nordic Walking conserves heart work,
- Nordic Walking strengthens the immune defense system and stimulates the stress hormone removal. (Sources: Cooper Institute Dallas, Studies “Sports Medicine” Hollmann, Hettinger, Schattauer 2002)
Shortly, Nordic Walking is the ideal activity to reach physical fitness in a gentle and pleasant way.
As for any other sport, for Nordic Walking there is also a technique to learn in order to better exercises it and benefit from the deriving movements.
The cross-country skiing classical technique movements inspire the Nordic Walking fundamental technique. It uses the diagonal movement including proper use of the poles.
The goal of our method is to teach the trainee the correct dynamic posture during walking. This is possible through the physiological sequence of opposite arm and leg alternate movements, trying to obtain an efficient push through the pole. This system allows longer steps without preventing movement fluency.
ANI’s “4 elements” progressive teaching was born in order to pass on the fundamental and functional Nordic Walking technique. This teaching method allows gradually and easily learning a functional technique.
So as to better learn the technique, we suggest to anybody, willing to start this sport, to contact ANI Instructors. They are the only persons qualified to teach, in an easy and enjoyable way, the Nordic Walking “4 elements” method.
Nordic Walking poles
The Nordic Walking poles are completely different from the skiing, trekking or hiking ones. Usually they are carbon and glass en bloc poles. They perfectly take up vibrations and, being very light, avoid shoulders and neck muscle tensions. The important pole characteristic is the wrist strap. Specifically built for Nordic Walking, it allows a firm hand grip so as to make easy directing the poles, without having to firmly grip them. In such a way, the hand may constantly open and close during the movement, which is one of the most important features of the basic Nordic Walking technique.
Furthermore, the strap is usually made of particular materials not provoking skin rash and easing sweat evaporation.
Each pole is supplied with a special pad to be eventually placed on the ferrule to soften bumps and noises when practicing this sport on harder grounds. The most important feature of the pole is the proper length. Each person should buy the right pole for his/her height. Practically, in order to calculate the proper pole length you should use the following formula: “personal height x 0,66”. In any case, the best way to choose the correct length of poles is, by holding it and leaning on it, to obtain an elbow span slightly wider than 90°.
All ANI Instructors will, in any case, able to suggest the proper pole length to suit you physical characteristics.
Nordic Walking, everybody’s sport
Once you have obtained the proper technique, you will succeed in exercising the whole body by involving 85% of all muscles.
The Nordic Walking movement simplicity and adaptability allows the practice of a complete, harmonic and enjoyable movement which has many variations, from just a performance to simple body weight control.
Not having any contraindication, Nordic Walking is suitable for everybody. As all aerobic exercise, it has its circulatory system (heart muscle and blood system) training characteristics. It also improves the body oxygen transportation and use – VO2 max.).