Here is how Nordic Walking is practiced, the technique and the benefits

Here is how Nordic Walking is practiced, the technique and the benefits

The criticism that is most often made of us is that walking is easy and we don't need a course, a lesson, someone to teach us how to do it. Very true. Or rather, it is true that we all walk from an early age, but today the frenzy of everyday life, haste, sedentary work, in front of the computer, stopped in the same position, leads us to assume incorrect postures, to walk with small accelerated steps, to accuse small (big) pains that often prevent us from walking in a physiologically correct way.

Recovering our natural walking can, on the contrary, help us find the right physiological curves of the spine, simply trying to look ahead of us and not at the ground; it can cause the shoulders to loosen, the arms to move more without remaining attached to the hips, giving the whole body greater stability and balance. It can make the stride lengthen, making the step more stable (especially as regards the hip, knee and ankle joints) and the rolling of the foot more functional (support in sequence of the heel, of the plantar arch, of the fingers until the big toe comes off).


The technique

Nordic Walking is a natural walk made even more effective and beneficial through the use of special poles. The step is determined by thrusts of the opposite leg and arms that move alternately, that is, it uses the physiological diagonal movement of "walking" through the conscious use of the arm muscles with the introduction of sticks. This means that the right stick makes contact with the ground when the left heel hits the ground and vice versa.
When you switch from normal walking to Nordic Walking, the stride length increases and all the muscles of the body are involved. At the same time, the use of the arms makes it slower and adjusts its dynamics to the lengthening of the stride. The momentum of the stick always occurs close to the body, the hands perform straight “pendulum” movements, with the torso always slightly bent forward.
Specifically, when the left arm is forward, the hand holds the stick while the right arm is stretched back with the hand completely relaxed and open (arm, forearm and stick "draw" a single line); at the same time, the right leg is in front, the heel starts a new step and the left leg is behind, extended to the malleolus and ready to push forward. The shoulders are always relaxed and loose and accompany the alternating movement. The stick touches the ground together with the opposite heel.
At the end of the movement, the stick is brought back, always maintaining the diagonal orientation as a function of forward thrust (not only support as in the case of classic trekking poles). The gesture is continuous, constant, fluid and is made possible thanks to the handle and the strap that make NW poles special, differentiating them from those for trekking or skiing.

Nordic walking technique

The sticks are worn by putting them on with gloves which have a left and a right and that wrap the hand very well separating the thumb from the other fingers. The strap, once worn, must be wide enough in the lower part of the wrist so that the thrust is distributed throughout the hand and must be soft but at the same time resistant, not too elastic when it is loaded with the push. Almost all models, today, have the system called click and go, through which the pole is released and re-attached with extreme ease, without having to unfasten the entire glove.

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This rhythmic and natural walking allows you to do a movement within everyone's reach and step, it becomes one with the mind bringing enormous physical and mental benefits. According to studies by a US research center, it was found that, by adopting a correct technique, with Nordic Walking it is possible to have a high muscular involvement and an effective cardiovascular work, obtaining enormous benefits for one's health.

Benefits

  • 20 - 30% higher energy consumption compared to walking without poles;
  • involvement of about 90% of the muscles (i.e. over 600 muscles);
  • increased oxygenation of the whole organism thanks to the active involvement of the auxiliary muscles of the respiratory system;
  • maintenance in exercise of four of the five main forms of motor solicitation: resistance, strength, mobility, coordination;
  • substantial decrease in contractions in the shoulder and nape area (cervical area);
  • delay of the aging process;
  • stimulation for the elimination of hormones originating from stress;
  • increase in heart rate of 10-15 beats per minute compared to traditional walking at the same pace, consequently generating good cardiovascular exercise;
  • strengthening of the immune system;
  • lightening of the load on the joints and on the musculoskeletal system in general;
  • stabilization of blood pressure, triglyceride and cholesterol levels on regular values ​​because we tend to essentially consume fats;
  • decrease in glycemic values ​​in diabetic pathologies (in this regard the Italian School is carrying out research with a large group of diabetic instructors and Nordic walkers whose blood levels and state of health are constantly being monitored);
  • protection of the body from osteoporosis and arthrosis (moderate and constant effort stimulates the ability of the bones to assimilate calcium and produces substances such as elastin and collagen that form cartilage).

Nordic walking walk in the woods

In addition, Nordic Walking acts as a strong antidepressant, contributing to a substantial improved mood through the release of endorphins and serotonins capable of counteracting anxiety and depression; harmonizing the heartbeat which in times of stress tends to accelerate, causing anxieties and fears, releasing accumulated muscle tension, without the risk of muscle tears or strains.

Of course, the initial criticism remains: why is it necessary to rely on an ad hoc qualified person to learn a technique that seems so simple?
To obtain the maximum of the benefits described and have the maximum efficiency from the movements, the technique becomes decisive and an incorrect movement in the initial phase is difficult to correct and can, in rare cases, damage the body. For this it is necessary to contact specialized instructors who can give the notions to acquire the correct movement and to be "accompanied" in the discovery of this activity that is gathering more and more enthusiasts in all regions of Italy.

Article Written by Alessandra Cazzola - SINW Master Trainer of the magazine PREALPI A Mountain of Sport. Discover the new itineraries by consulting the free multimedia version PREALPI iEdition, available for pc, tablet and iPad.

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