The Beginners Guide to Nordic Walking


  • Nordic Walking exercises 90% of your body muscles, more than cycling and running
  • Nordic Walking burns 900 kcal/h
  • Those with chronic illnesses can use Nordic Walking as a low impact form of exercise

Nordic Walking exercises 90% of your body’s muscle. Compared to running which uses 45% and cycling which uses 50%, it’s easy to see why it is going to be a huge fitness trend for 2019.

Walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise around. However, walking for long periods of time can cause pressure on the joints, particularly when building fitness and strength. Nordic Walking offers a great solution to this problem, supporting joints and allowing walkers to slowly build up.

To help you get a step on, Craig Manor have created the ultimate beginner’s guide to Nordic Walking.

What is Nordic Walking?

Nordic walking is a low-impact sport that can easily be taken up by anyone who can walk. It is a style of walking using two poles to keep the posture upright and work the arms. It began with skiers in Finland walking with their poles during the summer to keep up their fitness.

According to the NHS Nordic Walking is suitable for all ages and fitness levels because of the variety of classes available. Classes can include gentle walks for people with health concerns and workout walks are also available to improve fitness, lose weight and tone up.

The Benefits of Nordic Walking

The International Nordic Walking Association has researched the benefits of Nordic Walking for those with a whole range of health concerns including arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

In a study of 60+ year olds with osteoarthritis, after 12 months those who were regularly Nordic Walking, rather than strength training at a gym, saw a significant improvement in walking, standing and their pain levels.

Another study also found that Nordic Walking increases the amount of oxygen taken in compared to normal walking, in those with COPD and other chronic lung conditions.

As well as those with health concerns, Nordic Walking is a fantastic form of exercise for everyone. Those looking for a lower-impact sport to sit alongside their other high-impact fitness will find this is a great option.

Gill Stewart author of Complete Guide to Nordic Walking and Programmes Director at Nordic Walking explains that; ‘Nordic walking is the most effective way to work the whole body without the risk of injury that I have encountered in over 30 years of teaching fitness. It uses 90% of the major muscles in a safe, natural movement which leaves you feeling lighter on your feet and energised. The mood-boosting benefits of being outdoors and with others are the reason we now have over 2,000 a walks on offer and are growing fast.’

How to Get Started

Before you start walking, here are three top tips to consider to make sure your Nordic Walking experience is as fun as it can possibly be.

  1. Use the right poles – Choose poles which are specifically designed for Nordic Walking and measure them to make sure your elbow will be bent to 90 degrees and close to your body as your arms swing forward with each step.
  2. Use wrist straps – Nordic Walking poles are made as a pair, with the left and right being slightly different shapes with straps placed differently to make them more comfortable. Use the straps and the correct pole for each hand, to make sure you are getting the most support from the poles.
  3. Consider your terrain – The walking poles will come with rubber tips which work best on paved surfaces. If you’re walking in grass, sand, dirt or snow, remove the rubber for increased traction.

Nordic Walking Technique

Starting out with Nordic Walking can be overwhelming, but here is a simple guide to getting your posture right as you walk with poles for the first time.

Once you have perfected this basic Nordic Walking technique you can experiment with increasing speed, walking up and down hills and widening your stride to work different muscles.

If you’re looking for more fun things to do in the great outdoors, then discover the best walks in the Lake District for your dog and learn about cycling in the Lake District.

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