Nordic Walking: A Heart-Healthy Workout Using Walking Poles

There’s something about walking that’s trending right now. Walking is the latest fitness trend, from 12-3-30 workouts to hot girl walks.

Have you heard of Nordic walking? Think of cross-country skiing without the skis, poles, and boots. There is nothing new about Nordic walking, but you may love it.

Nordic Walking: What Is It?

Nordic walking aims to exercise your whole body while using specialized poles. You can engage 90% of your muscles when you do it correctly and get a great cardio and strength workout.

Dr. Aaron Baggish, the director, told TODAY, “The basic concept is you add upper body activity in the context of using Nordic poles, or walking poles, to assist with moving forward when you’re walking.”

Jennifer Reed, Ph.D. director of the center, told TODAY that Nordic walking originated in Finland. Nordic walking, or “urban poling,” is often associated with hiking, but anyone can do it anywhere.

Nordic Walking: How Do You Do It?

The key is not to complicate it. According to the American Nordic Walking Association (ANWA), which has a free beginner’s guide on their website, you hold each pole alongside your body and move them opposing your legs at a 45-degree angle.

Experts said that poles come in various prices, but the key is finding the right size for your height and grip. It’s not hard to master the proper technique; it can be advantageous once you do.

Benefits Of Nordic Walking

Stephanie Mansour, a contributor to TODAY’s health and fitness section, says walking works the legs, quads, glutes, and calves, but not the upper body. Mansour said, “Poles add strength training and cardio components to walking, working arms, shoulders, upper back, and core.”

Then Why Is Nordic Walking Not More Popular?

Baggish said, “European people have embraced it more rapidly and effectively than Americans, but young people may be more reluctant to embrace Nordic walking.”

It is safe for most people to incorporate Nordic walking into their fitness routine, but if you have any concerns, always discuss this with your doctor first.