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Nordic Walking makes tracks
One of the highlights of April's Australian Fitness and Health Expo was the introduction of Nordic Walking.
A global phenomenon that is just taking off in Australia, Nordic Walking's seemingly humble and simple addition of poles while walking is having a great effect on outdoor recreational fitness participation by people of all ages and abilities.
Nordic walking uses specially designed poles (not trekking poles) to create a low stress total body workout which delivers profoundly greater benefits than regular walking. It is a weight-bearing activity which gives amazing aerobic fitness, body conditioning and weight loss benefits yet achieves all of this with less impact being subjected through the lower body.
Nordic Academy Australia Director Patrick Burtscher explains "even though Nordic Walking originates from the cool Scandinavian countries, it is an activity that is perfectly suited to Australia's climate, landscape and ï¾outdoorsy' lifestyle - snow or skis are definitely not needed! "Rather, Nordic Walking can be done anywhere that normal walking is performed - on sand, gravel paths, asphalt or grass, and on flat or hilly landscapes.
"Nordic Walking involves a simple and rhythmic yet definite technique which is easy to learn. It is not like trekking so proper instruction is essential in order to ensure that the movement is correct, the promised benefits are delivered and that injuries from incorrect technique are prevented."
Aware that there are many fitness activities which deliver great benefits, Burtscher points out that Nordic walking is different.
He explains "Nordic Walking's huge popularity and success around the world is based on some simple reasons - people love the fact that they can have a great workout which gives great health benefits without the strain, pain and detrimental effects to other parts of the body, it is performed outside in the fresh air and it is a form of exercise which easily allows people to talk and socialise at the same time - without slacking off from their workout!"
Nordic walking groups can cater for participants of varying levels of fitness because the intensity of a Nordic walking session is determined by the use of the upper body more so than by the tempo of the walk - therefore each person can exercise at the intensity suitable for them. For the more serious fitness goers there are variations of Nordic walking (such as Nordic jogging, uphill striding, double pole actions) which create high intensity training sessions and which are definitely not for the faint-hearted!
Burtscher adds "Nordic Walking is not rocket science although it is amazing that it has taken so long to realise that just by using poles to recruit our upper body whilst walking, such a significant increase in benefits can be achieved.
"Nordic Walking is very easy to implement into existing programs, either as a separate activity or as a cross training for people engaged in other outdoor activities. Outdoor educators, PE teachers and people working in the outdoor industry now have the opportunity to become Nordic Walking Instructors adding another component to their variety of activities they offer."
Nordic Academy Australia is the realisation of a dream by its founders to share the benefits of Nordic Walking with as many others as possible. Nordic Academy are Australia's Nordic Walking experts, providing training and equipment to the health and fitness industries.
Burtscher concludes "Nordic Walking is a simple activity that can be done just about anywhere, by anyone, at anytime. (The fitness) benefit gained versus time and effort put in ratio is almost unbeatable!"
The fitness benefits of Nordic Walking:
• Activates 90% of the body's muscles
• Gives a 20-25 % greater cardio fitness benefit than regular walking
• Burns up to 46% more calories compared to regular walking without poles
• Decreases the weight load and impact on the joint
2nd October 2008 - OBESITY: PREVENTION BETTER THAN TREATMENT
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