It’s just walking with poles, where is the snow?
Just some of the comments I get on a regular basis when I am out on the coast path with my poles. In the UK Nordic Walking is yet to break through into the mainstream and is often thought of as a fringe activity for those with physical limitations. In fact it is often confused with rambling with trekking style poles.
Well I am here to tell you that yes, Nordic walking is very inclusive and has great benefits for those returning to exercise or overcoming illness. However Nordic walking if done using the correct technique can be tough, really tough. After all it was pioneered by winter skiers who needed to keep up their fitness during the summer months.
So what do these Nordic skiers know that we don’t? Nordic walking is a great form of cross training that can supplement other sports or activities. With Nordic Walking you can not only choose your own level of intensity but it also has the potential to be combined with outdoor strength work and calisthenics to create a unique outdoor exercise experience.
My background is in lifting weights, running and team sports such as rugby, and I find that Nordic Walking has been a great form of cross training to add to my mix of physical practice. I have been able to utilise it to develop exciting workouts that include high intensity blasts up the steep coastal paths or marathon distance adventure walks that take in the best of the sights that Cornwall has to offer. I also use Nordic Walking as a form of active recovery from the other intense activities I engage in. I can feed blood and oxygen to tired muscles by walking in a steady state and still fulfill my desire to engage in a fun outdoor activity.
Nordic Walking can be an alternative to running that allows similar energy expenditure with less perceived effort and impact. However it’s adaptable nature holds so much more for those that are willing to give it a try. If you are after weight loss, rehabilitation, fitness or even just a shared activity, Nordic Walking could be be the activity for you. I like to think of Nordic Walking as a pick your own fitness adventure.