Walking the Nordic Way

If you’re looking for an exercise that burns more calories in less time, Nordic walking might be for you. Nordic walking is an exercise performed on modified ski poles that can be performed all year round, and not just when it’s snowing.

Nordic walking evolved from evolving from another type of exercise better known as ski-striding, which is an off-season activity that allows people to become more accustomed to skiing. It was first popularized as a year-round activity in Finland by cross-country skiers for off-season training — known as the world’s fittest athletes. This is where Nordic walking was created — although in Finland the sport is called sauvakävely, or “pole walking”. Although initially this fitness regimen did not spread that fast — with first being promoted in 1980 until the first official Nordic pedestrian ski pole was introduced to the public in 1997 — it soon became the fastest growing recreational fitness sport in the world. At the end of 2005,

How did Nordic walking get such attention? By getting the upper body to do its job as well as the lower body, it has taken the step towards regular fitness by walking or running to a new level — allowing the body to burn up to 50% more calories without having to walk faster or for longer.

The Nordic Way includes several other benefits, such as:

1. Heart rate is about 13% or 5-17 beats higher than normal walking

2. The mast helps traction on slippery surfaces, thus a safety factor

3. Burns about 400 calories per hour, beating the regular walk that only burns about 280 calories

4. Improves overall endurance

5. Helps climb hills and other high areas more easily

6. Improved balance and stability

7. Less pressure is applied to the back and lower joints, reducing the chance of injury

8. The lateral mobility of the neck and spine is significantly increased, thereby releasing muscle tension in certain areas

Nordic walking, with its specially modified poles, proves to be a whole body workout that caters to people of all levels, be it for rehabilitation or relaxation, weight management or aerobic capacity building, to Nordic walking as a physical challenge. Of course, it is important to choose not just any pole for Nordic walking activities. Here are some tips for choosing the best Nordic poles for your specific needs.

1. Must be sturdy and light enough to be carried everywhere.

2. The grip should be comfortable and replaceable.

3. The asphalt paw is more efficient in absorbing shock and grip.

4. Straps must be specially designed to facilitate the transfer of power and weight.

When determining the height or length of these poles, the elbows are only perpendicular to the posts when held by the handle with the ends on the ground.


The Nordic Way takes some getting used to, which is why special training is recommended. With the Nordic getting more and more walkers every day, finding an instructor isn’t hard to find. There is an organization in this sport called the International Nordic Walking Association which aims to bring together all the Nordic walkers out there. If your country is a participant, you may be able to find a Nordic walking session somewhere. If not, why don’t you go and pioneer the Nordic streets of your city.

Nordic walking seems to be something that will rule the world with its ski sticks and promise overall fitness. That might be the next big thing — showing no sign of going away any time soon.