What do you imagine when you hear the phrase “walking with a stick”? You probably think about injury, pain, illness or old-age. But there are several different kinds of walking sticks. Do you know the ones for Nordic Walking?
Nordic Walking has become in the last few years more and more popular sport activity among people, no matter the age, gender or condition. It is so widely popular mainly because none of the factors are limiting the person.
On the contrary, thanks to its versatile effect on the organism, it is available to wide spectrum of healthy part of the population as well as for people limited with some illness.
Nordic Walking is simple when it comes to equipment or your time. You just need a pair of poles, good quality sport shoes, and comfortable clothes. You can go for a walk or run with the walking poles almost anywhere.
Walking with special poles originally comes from Finland, where it was used by cross-country skiers as an alternative for summer training and preparation. In comparison with classic walking it enables approximately 20% higher energetic expenditure, and involving 90% of the muscles of the whole body. Thanks to higher caloric intake it is ideal activity for reducing weight, and it preserves lumbar spine and knee joints. During nordic walking you need to involve your arms and move them simultaneously with your legs, it is important to keep your spine straight enough for a better rotation of the trunk, and thus let your arms freely move. Reaching a straight and rotable spine one of the main goal in therapy treating for example osteoporosis.
As any other aerobic activity, nordic walking improves heart function, and helps to regulate blood pressure. It is also often part of the spa treatment.
Nordic Walking is an easy choice for patients suffering from heart and cardiovascular diseases.
As it may be already clear, Nordic Walking demands intensive breathing and therefore it has a positive effect against diseases of the breathing system (for example: asthma bronchiale or chronic bronchitis).
Alpha and omega for therapists is remaining treatment of the musculoskeletal system, therefore nordic walking can also help you with:
- Training the arm muscles, shoulder muscles and back muscles, which normal walking doesn’t affect.
- Stabilizing the leaning system.
- Support during joint pain (“easing up” the pressure on the joints)
Last but not least, we ought to mention the positive impact on our mental health - it improves mood, because as any other physical activity, it removes stress. Staying in nature is for many relieving, and thanks to easy technique we get quickly into a relaxed state. Combination of nature and physical activity will also strengthen your immune system.
Correct technique and length of the walking poles is very important. There is a dimension table from which you can easily read out what length would suit you best. The base of a correct technique is the ability to keep straight posture. Physiotherapist can help you with both.
TIPS IN CONCLUSION:
- Don’t forget to do at least a light stretching before you start walking.
- Stay hydrated.
Author: FYZIOklinika physiotherapy Ltd., Prague, Czech Republic