What is Nordic Walking?

Nordic walking is a full-body outdoor experience that is gaining in popularity in Canada and around the world every year. It is an ideal activity for people of all ages because it challenges almost every muscle in the body while also training cardiovascular endurance, balance and coordination. 

Participants offload weight into Nordic walking poles, which has two effects: 1) it takes stress off their hips and knees and lower body in general, while simultaneously 2) shifting work to the core, arms and shoulders.

As with activities such as swimming, rowing and running, users simply speed up or slow down to vary the intensity. This makes it an activity that people can easily practise for a lifetime.

Here are the 10 big benefits of Nordic walking:

  1. It whittles your waist—Your abs tighten each time you push off with your poles. Many people walk 5,000+ steps per hour—that's also 5,000+ pole plants per hour!

  2. Your knees and hips will thank you—The poles let you offload weight from your hips and knees into your upper body. You can walk further, faster or even pain-free.

  3. It revs up the calorie burning—Research proves it over and over again: urban poling burns up to 46% more calories than standard walking. Wow!

  4. It sculpts your arms and shoulders—Urban poling uses 90 percent of your muscles—especially those underused upper body muscles. Hello short sleeves!

  5. It helps balance your blood sugar—The full-body urban poling workout helps keep blood sugars in a healthy range.

  6. You’ll straighten up and feel more confident—Your upper back muscles (the ones that pull your shoulders back) tighten each time you plant your poles and press down on the ergonomic handles.

  7. It’s a fun social workout—Invite your friends, your parents & your kids to enjoy all the health benefits with you.

  8. It’s an amazing stress buster—The smooth rhythmic action provides a distraction from everyday concerns and lifts your mood.

  9. You can adjust the intensity—Urban poling is an energizing activity that can be enjoyed by people of any age and athletic ability. Just press on the ergonomic handles with more or less intensity to modify your pace.

  10. It’s a great running alternative—Hit the trails or your neighbourhood sidewalks on your own or with a gang of friends. Urban poling offers the same year-round fresh-air experience as running—but without jarring and jostling your joints.

Also see the February 8, 2018 blog post: "Are You Really Nordic Walking or Just Walking with Sticks?"