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Nordic Walking:

a really complete sport to be performed in the open air, that trains the body and helps us burning calories!

Nordic Walking is a recently discovered activity, a really complete exercise to be performed in the nature. At the same time, it allows to reach the optimal anaerobic threshold and cardiac frequency.

What Nordic Walking is, and the difference between Nordic walking and a normal walk Nordic Walking is a sport that can be practiced all year round, and has a large audience. Most of the Nordic Walkers are more than 30 years old, they are usually people who have never practiced other sports, or have interrupted their activity for a long time but want now to start again doing some physical exercise. Nordic Walkers care about their health and, as a consequence, about their physical shape. It can be done both on a competitive level, in the mountains, being a more demanding sport than simple jogging, and in a more relaxed way, on the plain, by whoever is simply able to walk.

 

Origins
Its origins can be found in a country where inhabitants are used to move with poles: Finland. Nordic Walking comes from cross country skiing, and not from normal walking as people might believe. In the 90s this discipline developed to become a really popular activity in Finland, also because of the development of a special type of pole. Nordic Walking poles are still different in the peculiar combination of carbon and glass fibre, as well as for the innovative system of handstraps. From Finland, Nordic Walking has conquered the Scandinavian countries and Germany, where it is nowadays perceived as a publicly acknowledged activity, a successful sport and part of the insurance and health system programs as well as a recreational activity for company employees.

 

The evident benefits
of Nordic Walking
It is recommended to those who have never practiced any sports and to those who normally practice it, and even to professional athletes because each one of them can choose the level of intensity through the use of the poles and the length of the steps. When correctly practiced, Nordic Walking trains up to 90% of your body muscles. You can strengthen the muscles of your legs as well as your arms, shoulders, abdomen and chest. It can be practiced even by people who have physical limitations (for example people suffering from obesity, arthritis, or in a phase of post-debilitation recovery) because the poles alleviate the effort of articulations and spinal column, and the pressure on the musculo-skeletal system is much lower than in other sports. Freeing the mind and integrating in a group, sharing the experience and being more relaxed and balanced are among the psychic and psychosocial benefits.

 

The equipment: shoes

A good Nordic Walking shoe must support in a proper way the foot on any type of floor and protect bones, muscles and joints, absorbing every step and allowing the Nordic walker to perform the complete roll of the foot: heel, sole, tip. Since Nordic Walking can be enjoyed all year round, a versatile shoe is recommended, to suit all atmospheric conditions: transpiring in the Summer but also resistant to wind and water.

Diet

It is good to have with you a light flask, as for other activities performed in the nature. For longer excursions we can take energy bars and isotonic drinks for a supply of calories and liquids.

 

The equipment: poles

    Poles are used to support the entire body and to lighten the weight on the articulations. Poles have to be light, resistant, flexible. The handle is comfortable and the handstrap is adjustable.

    They are made in an alloy of carbon and glass fiber, to ensure higher resistance and lightness at the same time. This combination of components allows the perfect distribution of the effort on arms and trunk, with a total absence of vibrations which can burden the articulations and cause pain in the hands, elbows and shoulders.

    It is incorrect to think that all poles are the same, and to use those which have been built for other sports (ski and trekking, for example).

    The tip of the pole has to be made in special material to last longer and above all it needs to have a good grip also on dirt roads. Usually, together with the pair of Nordic Waling poles, rubber pads are supplied. These are to be applied to the pole tip to allow a proper grip on hard pavements, such as on asphalt.

    The height of the poles is chosen according to the rule of thumb of one’s height multiplied 0.66, but this method of measurement is not absolute. Other factors, far more decisive, are the physical constitution, the length of the limbs, the physical condition, the frequency and length of the steps, the intensity of the training, the goals and the technique skill. A well prepared Nordic Walking instructor knows how to give us advice on these technical aspects.

 
 

The staff of Abano.it thanks the Association Target Outdoor ASD for information.

 
 
 
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