Nordic Walking—What Is This New Craze?
Popular in Europe for many years, Nordic Walking, also known as Urban Poling, is recently becoming an exciting exercise option here in the United States. To understand Nordic Walking better, envision cross-country skiing without the skis.
There are many great benefits from Nordic Walking. Namely, there is 80% more muscle activation than traditional walking, with up to a 40% increase in calorie burning. Nordic Walking improves posture, gait pattern, and balance, while increasing core and upper body strength. Using the poles with walking significantly decreases stress on the back, hips, knees, ankles and feet, enabling those with painful or chronic conditions to tolerate and enjoy more physical activity. Working out with the Nordic poles helps to increase overall strength and endurance, which can carry over to other daily activities and enhance the quality of life. Weightbearing and resistance activity with the upper body helps prevent bone loss due to osteopenia or osteoporosis as well.
At Palmer Physical Therapy for Women, we are utilizing the poles as part of our individualized rehab programs for those with balance or falling issues, for those with spine or lower extremity pain or dysfunction, or for those with postural problems. There are many great exercises that utilize the poles to assist with stretching, strengthening or balance.
We have also been promoting Nordic Walking to our clients and to other community groups as a new, unique form of fitness activity. Especially during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Nordic Walking can easily be done outdoors for social distancing, nearly anytime, anywhere. It requires little equipment, with minimal expense. Once the proper gait pattern is achieved on level surfaces, Nordic Walkers can challenge themselves on uneven ground, hills, or inclines.
Palmer Physical Therapy for Women is now offering classes for an introduction to Nordic Walking. Participants learn a comprehensive home exercise program using the poles to help with stretching, strengthening and balance. Physical therapists adjust and fit the poles properly to the individual, and educate them about proper gait pattern, posture correction and control.
Some of the comments from our recent classes:
“I started walking with Nordic poles July 18, so have been walking with them for a month. Previously, my walking was a chore and just something I felt I had to do for health reasons, not so much because I enjoyed it. Now, every morning, I am eager to exercise with the poles. I also started doing the recommended stretches, balance and strengthening exercises using the poles. I feel like I have settled into an exercise program that I totally enjoy! Even after only one month, I sense that I am more aware of having correct posture. I can tell from my Apple Watch app that I am burning more calories with the poles. I initially thought I would be embarrassed walking in my neighborhood, but I mostly get smiles, thumbs up, and inquiries about this form of exercise. Now I like being the unique exerciser! I would highly recommend walking with Nordic poles!” Jan Davis
Future ongoing fitness classes will be offered for those interested in advancing with more comprehensive exercise and conditioning. For further information about class times, please call Palmer Physical Therapy for Women, 316-630-9944. Our office is located at 10333 E 21st ST N. #406, Wichita, KS 67206. We look forward to working with you!