Nordic walking—no, it’s not the name of a new treadmill, but a style of walking that is becoming increasingly popular because it burns more calories and uses more muscles than regular walking alone.
You may have seen people walking in the warmer months with poles that looked like cross-country skier poles. It’s this type of walking that burns 18-67% more calories than regular walking. Nordic walking is walking with “Nordic poles,” which are slightly different than the type of poles used for hiking or trekking. The difference between Nordic poles and the other hiking poles is the way you hold it. Hiking/trekking poles have a loose strap which fastens around your wrist, but Nordic poles have a glove attached. This transfers the power to the palm of the hand to move the poles forward, rather than the fingers.
The benefits of Nordic walking are also gaining popularity with senior individuals because it provides support and provides balance. Using Nordic poles allows you to activate muscles above the waist, and it combines cardiovascular exercise with an upper body and core workout. It engages 30-40% more of your muscles than standard walking.
The poles are lightweight and are easily found at sports goods stores and online (Check out our best recommendation for York Nordic Ultralight Folding Walking Poles). There are poles with pointy ends for trails and poles with rubber ends for sidewalks. There is also more than one way to use the poles, including single and double poling.
Grab some poles and head outside, or search for Nordic walking meetups and groups in your neighborhood, to maximize your walking routine!