top of page

Why Nordic Walking is Better Than the Normal Kind

You have probably noticed people out walking with poles, even on flat surfaces, and wondered why they are doing it? This is known as Nordic walking, which is a little bit like cross country skiing but without the snow and, as the name implies, originates from Scandinavia. People do it because it offers many health advantages over normal walking.

Here's why.

Old couple Nordic walking together on a country lane

Burns More Calories: As far back as 1995, researchers noticed that Nordic walking burned more calories than regular walking did. In fact, they found it burned up to 18 percent more calories than ordinary walking did. Numerous studies have confirmed this. So, while Nordic walking doesn’t burn more calories than other, more intense forms of exercise – such as running – it can be a great low-impact exercise option, or a way to boost the benefits of your regular daily walks.

Boosts Cardiovascular Health: Research shows that Nordic walking can improve cardiovascular fitness in as little as four weeks.

Improves Upper Body Strength: Nordic walking engages your arms and shoulders more than regular walking does, and that could improve your strength. Research shows that Nordic walking can not only increase hand grip strength but also increases muscle activity in the shoulders. Upper body strength – including how strong your grip is – is important for many of the things we do everyday, from carrying our shopping to filling up the kettle. Increasing muscle strength is also important to help prevent injury as it helps stabilise the joints and protects them when moving under impact like carrying heavy shopping bags.

Increases Core Strength: Nordic walking also engages the core muscles (including those in the abdomen and your back) more than ordinary walking does. Greater engagement of the core muscles will help strengthen them, which may in turn improve posture. Better core strength can also improve your balance as well as your ability to move.

Reduces Risk of Falling: Unfortunately as we get older we are more likely to trip and fall when we are walking. This is mainly because of a decrease in muscle strength, balance issues and problems with the way we walk. The benefit of Nordic walking is that you are placing the poles into the ground at the same time as you’re using your legs. This improves balance and makes you less likely to fall. In fact, one study even showed that people who followed a Nordic walking training programme for three weeks had improved balance – even when walking without poles.

You Walk Faster: Nordic walking can help you get where you want to be faster than ordinary walking can. In fact, a review showed Nordic walking increased average walking speed by up to 25 percent compared to ordinary walking. As a consequence of walking faster, you can then burn more calories.

As you now know, there are several clear advantages to doing Nordic walking. It may be especially good for people who don’t like (or can't do) other types of exercise but still want to do something of a higher intensity than brisk walking.

Sandy track leading up a grassy hill


bottom of page