health benefits of walking with poles and 7 tips for good walking practice

health benefits of walking with poles and 7 tips for good walking practice

It is no longer unusual to come across a walking enthusiast in the countryside, in the mountains, on the beach or even in the city. Nordic walking or Nordic walkingNordic walking, the sport of walking with specialized poles similar to ski poles. In recent years it has gained much popularity, and is now considered a competitive sport at the international level.

Daniel Sanjuan

Daniel Sanjuán Sánchez

  • Physiotherapist and research teaching staff, San Jorge University.

Although this discipline is not new at all. It was born in Finland back in the 1930s. as a summer training method for cross-country skiers when there was no snow. Later, in the 1960s, Finnish athletes also used poles to prepare for cross-country races, which led to the development of a new sport called sauvakävely (“pole walking”).

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It was in the 1990s when it began to gain followers in Europe.especially in Germany and Austria. In the early 2000s it arrived in the United States and quickly conquered fitness enthusiasts.

These are its powers

Fashion aside, are there any advantages to using walking canes? The most obvious one is that they provide greater stability and help the body to move better, which makes it possible to optimize the effort.

From intense activity to leisurely strolls, Nordic walking suits all levels.
From intense activity to leisurely strolls, Nordic walking adapts to all levels.

But in addition, this is an alternative suitable for all audiences, regardless of age or physical conditionIt is practiced by athletes ranging from professional athletes to recreational walkers. It has also become a common activity in rehabilitation programs and is recommended by health professionals as a safe and effective form of exercise.

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The main virtue of Nordic walking lies in the fact that it is. a low-impact cardiovascular exercise and places less demand on the joints. Although there are no solid comparisons with simple walking, the use of poles undoubtedly helps to distribute the weight over the whole body and favors ground reaction forces, which decreases the impact on the lower extremities.

Multiple researches point lThe health benefits of this practice of certain groups. Thus, according to their results, Nordic walking would be recommended for postmenopausal women, older adults with diabetes myelitus, women with breast cancer, those affected by cardiovascular pathologies, patients with Parkinson’s disease and patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation.

Nordic walking has also been shown to exert positive effects on the emotional state and, in general, the level of health and physical condition of any practitioner. For this reason, experts recommend that its prescription to patients with obesity and/or overweight in the future be assessed.

And this same year the first research has begun in Spain to elucidate the possible benefits of this sport in patients with asthma. Its results hope to open up a new active treatment modality.

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Tips to practice it well

If all of the above has convinced you to sign up for Nordic walking, here is a brief guide to use, with the following aspects to keep in mind.

1) Choice of poles. Not just any cane will do. It is important that they are appropriate for your height and physical shape. General recommendations include that they should be above elbow height and made of a lightweight, durable material.

2) Grip strength to the cane. It should not be excessive. Wrap the strap between the fingers and tilt them back slightly away from the body.

3) Arm swing. This movement should be executed naturally, with the elbows bent about 90 degrees. The displacement will follow the following steps: placing the baton in front, impulse with arm and leg to leave the baton behind and repetition of the process.

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4) Foot placement. A natural and complete path must be made, from the heel part to the toe part, to push off from the toe. The opening of the legs should be at shoulder height, so that the weight distribution is symmetrical.

5) Posture. You should keep your back erect and shoulders relaxed. Legs and arms will naturally accompany the movement.

6) Stride. It is slightly larger than when walking without poles. The movement flows together with the movement of the arms.

7) Speed. The first few times you have to walk at a smooth and comfortable pace, to apply the technique in a correct way. Once you automate the movement of arms and legs and it is fluid, then you can accelerate the pace.

In short, Nordic walking, alone or in a group, is a sport that is booming and brings numerous health benefits. Of course, it is essential to carry it out with a correct technique to avoid possible injuries and maximize its benefits.

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Kayleigh Williams