A Walking Work-out
Did you know that Nordic walking is the fastest growing fitness activity in the world? Until very recently I didn’t even know what Nordic Walking was – and then I tried it out.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this type of exercise let me explain. It is a form of walking with special walking poles and a technique that exercises far more than just your legs. Nordic Walking UK lists the benefits on it’s website:
- Tones the upper and lower body at the same time
- Uses 90% of the skeletal muscles
- Burns up to 46% more calories than ordinary walking
- Reduces the pressure on knees and joints
- Great for the Heart and Lungs
- Ideal for neck, shoulder and back problems
- Poles propel the walker along, making it easier to move faster than normal without feeling the effort.
It is one of the most effective cross training techniques for athletes and sportspeople who require ultimate cardiovascular and endurance conditioning.
There are some other benefits I’ve discovered for myself since taking it up. It is sociable, though you can exercise on your own if you want to. It’s easy to learn, requires minimal equipment and no special clothing. But the aspect that has excited me most is where you walk.
Gyms or the swimming pool don’t really do it for me, so the prospect of getting exercise outside is encouraging. Add to that the chance to see wildlife, enjoy nature, and get healthy fresh air and sunshine are wonderful bonuses.
The origins of Nordic walking date back to 1930s Finland. Cross country skiers realised that this was the perfect training method for use when the snow had melted. By the 1980s people were enjoying this type of walking as a great method of exercise in its own right. By 2000 Nordic Walking had become a mainstream activity in several European countries and had attracted millions of followers. The first classes in the UK were held in 2001 and the activity has grown steadily since then.
Nordic Walking is now the fastest growing fitness activity in the world and is used by individuals, personal trainers, health clubs, physiotherapists, doctors and health promoters because it is highly effective, affordable and fun.
To get the best out of Nordic walking and to do so safely you need to learn a few basic techniques. Fortunately this is inexpensive and a 45 minute taster session with Jan Shaw, an accredited instructor, is completely free. Once you know how to walk safely you can go off on your own, or join in one of Jan’s regular walks which range from the gentler kind through to work-out walks which incorporate toning exercise along the way.
You can find Jan next to the Chasewater Heaths station on the Chasewater Railway. With several smaller lakes as well as the main Chasewater reservoir close by there are plenty of interesting places to walk. Details of courses and how to contact Jan can be found on her website www.dancingintherain.co.uk.
You can find out more about Nordic walking itself at this website: www.nordicwalking.co.uk.