WHAT IS NORDIC WALKING/SKI BOUNDING?
Have you ever seen people walking along and wondered why they needed poles in their hands? That’s Nordic Walking! It’s like roller skiing but without the wheels or cross-country skiing without the skis. Often used as a training tactic for professional cross-country skiers, Nordic Walking (or ski walking and ski bounding in its more physically demanding form) is a deliberate attempt to mimic real skiing while maintaining a natural arm movement. This method of exercise is made up of three main components: natural walking technique, correct use of poles, and posture. The International Nordic Walking Association describes the sport as “a safe, natural, dynamic, efficient and suitable-for-all form of a physical activity that trains the body in a holistic, symmetrical and balanced way.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN…
- 1966 – Finnish physical education teacher Leena Jääskeläinen introduced “walking with ski poles” into the students’ lessons
- 1979 – The former Finnish cross-country skiing head coach Maruri Repo described different training methods for off-season cross-country ski training in his publication of “Hiihdon lajiosa” and these methods share similarities with current Nordic Walking.
- 1996 – The sports equipment company Exel Oy developed special poles for this activity and named the activity “Nordic Walking” which is now the term used worldwide.
- 1997 – Excel produced the first Nordic Walking poles and the company registered the product name “Nordic Walker.”
- 2000 – The INWA (International Nordic Walking Association) was founded. The sporting goods industry joined the movement and Nordic Walking started spreading around the world.
WHO CAN DO IT?
Anyone can do it. Whether you’ve had experience of skiing or not, it’s suitable for anyone interested in fitness and the great outdoors, with no limitations imposed by season or weather. More than 10 million people across the globe enjoy Nordic Walking each year.
A good pair of walking boots/trainers and a set of Nordic walking poles
MAIN ADVANTAGES OF NORDIC WALKING:
- Develops core strength while working the upper and lower body.
- Increases circulation and metabolism and offers an all-around, low impact workout, so it’s a perfect alternative to running.
- It’s a great aerobic activity resulting in greater cardiorespiratory endurance.
- Can burn up to 47% more calories and consume more oxygen than ordinary walking without poles at the same speed.
- Nordic walking is a sociable outdoor exercise which needs little more than decent footwear and poles.
- It’s an excellent way to improve posture, eliminating back strain.
- The NHS states that regular Nordic Walking can lower your risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol;
- It reduces the load on the joints
- Can be used as part of an exercise programme to lose weight.
- Increases muscular endurance.
- Improves dynamic balance, as you are working the upper body to move forward while you are recovering small imbalances in the feet, ankles, legs and pelvis.
- Increases range of motion and coordination.
- Improves efficiency of movement resulting in fewer injuries, better reaction time, quicker and more precise movement, and greater mastery of sports skills.
- Increases strength and power.
- Exercising in green spaces has been shown to decrease stress.