research says .........
the Benefits of Nordic Poles! (October 2016)
Nordic Walking can be done on virtually any outdoor terrain including tarred roads, concrete paths, forestry trails, sandy beaches, and grassy parks. The activity is enjoying substantial growth worldwide - and in Ireland there is a growing interest in using the sticks for a fitness fix.
Benefits of Using Nordic Poles
The use of poles transform normal walking (where most of the work is done by the legs) into a complete body workout. Studies comparing walking with poles with normal walking show improvements in aerobic fitness and muscle strength. The proper use of Nordic poles utilises large muscle groups including the abdomen, the chest, arms and legs. Using poles adds physiological strain and brings many improvements with less speed.
1. strengthening muscles, bones and joints
- as you push the poles the resistance provided strengthens muscles all over the body. Because the poles improve posture, the muscles in hips and buttocks get used too.
- strengthening muscles also improves the density of the bones to which they are attached. This has implications in the fight against osteoporosis.
- pushing against the poles has the effect of lifting the body and softens the impact of landing by up to 30% - good news for the feet, ankles, shins, knees, hips and spine.
- using the poles releases tension in the neck and shoulder region and increases the mobility of the neck and spine.
2. natural technique
- the movements in Nordic walking are quite natural and a large number of the muscles are used.
- pushing the poles automatically encourages a straighter back and better posture.
- the use of the special straps puts the hands in the correct neutral position and encourages the natural swinging action where the arms swing forward and backward next to the body.
3. stability and balance
- walking with a pole in each hand gives support reducing the risk of falling.
- the extra support provided by the poles helps people with balance or instability problems - leading to an increase in confidence to increase activity levels.
4. aerobic fitness
- while it feels no more difficult than normal walking at the same speed, walking with poles gives a better workout because more muscles are involved (including muscles in the forearms, shoulders, neck, chest and back)
- the extra work involved increases heart rate by as much as 13% and is more aerobic - giving your heart and lungs a good workout.
- depending on the intensity of effort, walking with poles can burn more than 40% calories than normal walking - without walking faster! This is good news for weight management which is a balance between taking in energy (in the form of food) and expending energy (in physical activity).