Nordic walking is a Finnish-origin total-body version of walking that can be enjoyed both by non-athletes as a health-promoting physical activity, and by athletes as a sport. The activity is performed with specially designed walking poles similar to ski poles.
Nordic walking (originally Finnish sauvakävely) is fitness walking with specially designed poles. While trekkers, backpackers and skiers had been using the basic concept for decades, Nordic walking was first formally defined with the publication of "Hiihdon lajiosa" (translation: "A part of cross-country skiing training methodic") by Mauri Repo in 1979.Nordic walking's concept was developed on the basis of off-season ski-training activity while using one-piece ski poles.
For decades hikers and backpackers used their one-piece ski poles long before trekking and Nordic walking poles came onto the scene. Ski racers deprived of snow have always used and still do use their one-piece ski poles for ski walking and hill bounding. The first poles specially designed and marketed to fitness walkers were produced by Exerstrider of the US in 1988. Nordic Walker poles were produced and marketed by Exel in 1997. Exel coined and popularized the term 'Nordic Walking' in 1999.
Compared to regular walking, Nordic walking (also called pole walking) involves applying force to the poles with each stride. Nordic walkers use more of their entire body (with greater intensity) and receive fitness building stimulation not present in normal walking for the chest, latissimus dorsi muscle, triceps, biceps, shoulder, abdominals, spinal and other core muscles that may result in significant increases in heart rate at a given pace.Nordic walking has been estimated as producing up to a 46% increase in energy consumption, compared to walking without poles.
According to the findings of the research, conducted by the group scientists from various universities*, both Nordic walking and conventional walking are beneficial for older adults. However, Nordic walking provides additional benefits in muscular strength compared to conventional walking, making it suitable for improving aerobic capacity and muscular strength as well as other components of functional fitness in a short period of time. The key points stated by the study authors are:
Nordic walking poles are significantly shorter than those recommended for cross-country skiing. Nordic walking poles come in one-piece, non-adjustable shaft versions, available in varying lengths, and telescoping two or three piece twist-locking versions of adjustable length. One piece poles are generally stronger and lighter, but must be matched to the user. Telescoping poles are 'one-size fits all', and are more transportable.
Nordic walking poles feature a range of grips and wrist-straps, or rarely, no wrist-strap at all. The straps eliminate the need to tightly grasp the grips. As with many trekking poles, Nordic walking poles come with removable rubber tips for use on hard surfaces and hardened metal tips for trails, the beach, snow and ice. Most poles are made from lightweight aluminium, carbon fiber, or composite materials. Special walking shoes are not required, although there are shoes being marketed as specifically designed for the sport.
The cadences of the arms, legs and body are, rhythmically speaking, similar to those used in normal, vigorous, walking. The range of arm movement regulates the length of the stride. Restricted arm movements will mean a natural restricted pelvic motion and stride length. The longer the pole thrust, the longer the stride and more powerful the swing of the pelvis and upper torso.
Cross-country skiing is a form of skiing where skiers rely on their own locomotion to move across snow-covered terrain, rather than using ski lifts or other forms of assistance. Cross-country skiing is widely practiced as a sport and recreational activity; however, some still use it as a means of transportation. Variants of cross-country skiing are adapted to a range of terrain which spans unimproved, sometimes mountainous terrain to groomed courses that are specifically designed for the sport.
Skiing is a means of transport using skis to glide on snow. Variations of purpose include basic transport, a recreational activity, or a competitive winter sport. Many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Ski Federation (FIS).
Walking is one of the main gaits of terrestrial locomotion among legged animals. Walking is typically slower than running and other gaits. Walking is defined by an 'inverted pendulum' gait in which the body vaults over the stiff limb or limbs with each step. This applies regardless of the usable number of limbs—even arthropods, with six, eight, or more limbs, walk.
A snowshoe is footwear for walking over snow. Snowshoes work by distributing the weight of the person over a larger area so that the person's foot does not sink completely into the snow, a quality called "flotation". Snowshoeing is a form of hiking.
Hiking is a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails or footpaths in the countryside. Walking for pleasure developed in Europe during the eighteenth century. Religious pilgrimages have existed much longer but they involve walking long distances for a spiritual purpose associated with specific religions.
Skiing, or traveling over snow on skis, has a history of at least eight millennia. The earliest archaeological examples of skis were found in Russia and date to 6000 BCE. Although modern skiing has evolved from beginnings in Scandinavia, 5000-year-old wall paintings suggest use of skis in the Xinjiang region of what is now China; however, this continues to be debated. Originally purely utilitarian, starting in the mid-1800s skiing became a popular recreational activity and sport, becoming practiced in snow-covered regions worldwide, and providing a market for the development of ski resorts and their related communities.
A ski binding is a device that connects a ski boot to the ski. Generally, it holds the boot firmly to allow the skier to maneuver the ski. However, if certain force limits are exceeded, it releases the boot to minimize skier injury, such as in the case of a fall or impact. There are different types of bindings for different types of skiing.
Ski boots are footwear used in skiing to provide a way to attach the skier to skis using ski bindings. The ski/boot/binding combination is used to effectively transmit control inputs from the skier's legs to the snow.
Backpacking is the outdoor recreation of carrying gear on one's back, while hiking for more than a day. It is often but not always an extended journey, and may or may not involve camping outdoors. In North America tenting is common, where simple shelters and mountain huts, widely found in Europe, are rare. In New Zealand, tramping is the term applied though overnight huts are frequently used. Hill walking is an equivalent in Britain, though backpackers make use of a variety of accommodation, in addition to camping. Backpackers use simple huts in South Africa. Trekking and bushwalking are other word used to describe such multi-day trips.
Ski poles, also referred to as poles, sticks (UK), or stocks (Australia), are used by skiers for balance and propulsion. Modern ski poles are most commonly made from aluminum and carbon fiber, though materials such as bamboo are still used. Poles are used in alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, and cross-country skiing. Ski jumpers do not use poles.
Tour skating is recreational long distance ice skating on natural ice. It is particularly popular in the Netherlands and the Nordic countries. It is becoming more popular in areas of North America such as New England, Southcentral Alaska, and Nova Scotia.
Trekking poles are a common hiking accessory that function to assist walkers with their rhythm and to provide stability on rough terrain.
Roller skiing is an off-snow equivalent to cross-country skiing. Roller skis have wheels on their ends and are used on a hard surface, to emulate cross-country skiing. The skiing techniques used are very similar to techniques used in cross-country skiing on snow.
A walking stick or walking cane is a device used primarily to aid walking, provide postural stability or support, or assist in maintaining a good posture, but some designs also serve as a fashion accessory, or are used for self-defense.
A skike is a sports device consisting of two wheels attached to a frame that can be strapped onto the rider's shoe. Similarly to roller skis, the skike has a wheel in front and at the tail of an aluminium frame that can be attached to the foot. However, unlike roller skis and roller skates the tires are pneumatic. In addition to asphalt, the skikes can therefore be used on rougher terrain such as dirt roads, plaster and gravel. The skike straps onto the rider's shoe, and does not require any special type of boot. It has a brake on the heel that allows the rider to stop or brake gradually by pushing back the lower legs.
LW4 is a para-Alpine and para-Nordic standing skiing sport class defined by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for skiers who may have a disability in one lower extremity, which may be a result of a leg amputation below the knee, knee arthrodesis or a hip arthrodesis. For international skiing competitions, classification is done through IPC Alpine Skiing or IPC Nordic Skiing. A national federation such as Alpine Canada handles classification for domestic competitions.
Mauri Repo was the head coach of the Finnish Workers' Sports Federation during 1981-1987. By profession he was a physical education teacher and for some time worked in the Jyväskylä city administration as director of the sports department. He is the first known person to write about nordic walking and considered its author.
The sport of cross-country skiing encompasses a variety of formats for cross-country skiing races over courses of varying lengths according to rules sanctioned by the International Ski Federation and by various national organizations, such as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Ski Canada. International competitions include the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, the FIS Cross-Country World Cup, and at the Winter Olympic Games. Such races occur over homologated, groomed courses designed to support classic (in-track) and freestyle events, where the skiers may employ skate skiing. It also encompasses cross-country ski marathon events, sanctioned by the Worldloppet Ski Federation, and cross-country ski orienteering events, sanctioned by the International Orienteering Federation. Related forms of competition are biathlon, where competitors race on cross-country skis and stop to shoot at targets with rifles, and paralympic cross-country skiing that allows athletes with disabilities to compete at cross-country skiing with adaptive equipment.
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