Why is Nordic Walking For Seniors Beneficial?
Table Of Contents
As we age, our bodies become less compliant with what we want to do; we start dealing with joint pain, muscle pain, and stiffness. These signs and symptoms might be an obstacle in the way of getting proper training, which only exacerbates our physical condition.
All you can do is go for a walk! but walking is not a physical exercise, right? Well, not quite.
Nordic walking was first invented as a summer training regime for cross-country skiers. Since then, more people started doing this “exercise” to get a full-body workout.
When doing Nordic walking for seniors, you need two poles to use the power of your upper body to propel yourself forward, which leads to upper and lower body workout. In fact, when using the poles to walk, you will be recruiting 90% of all the muscles in your body!
According to Harvard Medical School, Nordic walking increases caloric consumption by 18% to 67% compared to regular walking.
As you can see, this type of walking carries some great potential health benefits and it’s quite easy to learn.
In this article, we will discuss who can perform this exercise, as well as the health benefits you would expect from regular Nordic walking.
Who can do Nordic walking?
The answer is simple; everyone can do Nordic walking.
If you enjoy walking, you should try doing Nordic walking to reap more health benefits during the same time window.
Additionally, this exercise is easy on the joints, so it is a perfect fit for seniors. In fact, Nordic walking is extremely popular in Switzerland’s older age groups, and it’s becoming more popular in the United States as an exercise regimen.
What equipment do you need?
The equipment needed for Nordic walking is quite simple. A pair of poles and appropriate shoes; that’s it!
The poles for Nordic walking are specifically designed for that purpose, so other poles would be less ideal since the angle by which you’ll plant them on the ground is different. Note that most Nordic walking instructors will provide you with the pole, but you could buy a pair on Amazon.
Here is information about 2 different types of Nordic walking poles that are available through Amazon. If you would like to see all of the Nordic Walking Poles Amazon has to offer take a look here.
⇐This one was voted as the best folding poles which are ideal if you are a traveler.
This one was voted best overall. It’s made in Norway. ⇒
Health benefits of Nordic walking
By recruiting more than 90% of your muscles, you would be getting a great workout from Nordic walking. This is especially beneficial for older people who cannot perform intense cardiovascular exercise.
Moreover, contracting all the muscles and pushing your heart to work harder will decrease your risk of coronary artery disease (insert link of the CAD article) and promote a healthier cardiovascular system.
As we mentioned earlier, Nordic walking burns significantly more calories than normal walking, which can help you lose a lot of weight if practiced on a regular basis.
Additionally, this exercise could potentially help you get bigger muscles that increase basal metabolic rate (BMR) to help you lose more weight as you sleep.
Promotes good fat
Similar to other cardiovascular routines, Nordic walking will stimulate the metabolism of lipids, reducing LDL levels and increasing HDL levels.
High LDL (bad cholesterol) levels have been associated with numerous disease processes, such as cardiovascular disease, peripheral artery disease, and stroke.
As we age, our vertebral column gets more susceptible to injury and degeneration, which may result in chronic cervical pain and lower back problems.
According to the Nordic Academy of Australia, Nordic walking is a great tool to improve lateral mobility of the spine to reduce pain, stiffness, and the degeneration of vertebrae.
As we mentioned earlier, Nordic walking recruits most of your body’s muscle groups. As a result, your lean muscle mass will increase, which is a well-established protective factor against several diseases.
Muscle hypertrophy is a complex process that occurs when your muscles endure more physiological stress than they can handle. As a result, muscle fibers get microscopic tears that need to get repaired.
Of course, Nordic walking for seniors is not as effective at inducing muscle growth compared to resistance training; however, it is still a great exercise, especially for elderly people who cannot perform high-intensity exercises.
Moreover, this process increases BMR, so you can eat more calories without worrying about gaining weight.
The core principle of Nordic walking is to rely on all four limbs while walking. This decreases the strain on your lower limbs, preventing musculoskeletal injuries.
This is especially beneficial for patients who deal with knee problems, such as in the case of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
As you practice this exercise, you’ll strengthen the muscles and joints of your lower limbs, which allows you to perform more intense exercises in the future.
Promotes a healthy posture
Practicing Nordic walking on a regular basis will teach you to be aware of your body and muscles. As a result, you will be conscious about your posture, which makes for a great exercise to fix any spinal issues, such as kyphosis and lordosis.
Note that Nordic walking for seniors is only effective at improving the symptoms of patients with mild postural problems. More severe issues need the intervention of a licensed orthopedic surgery to figure out the best plan forward.
Stable for seniors
One of the common reasons seniors get scared of exercise is the fear of falling.
Fortunately, Nordic walking uses two poles to harness the power of your upper body to stabilize yourself, so there is basically no risk of falling, making this exercise a perfect fit for older people.
A beginner’s guide to learning how to Nordic walk
Nordic walking for seniors is considered a great alternative to intensive cardiovascular training and it could provide all the health benefits of vigorous training without actually doing any high-intensity training.
It is gaining a lot of popularity over the past few years, and many seniors are starting to implement it as part of their physical activity and fitness routine.
If you have ever tried doing Nordic walking before, feel free to share your experience in the comment section below.