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Nordic walking: discover the benefits and see how to practice

A nordic walking a type of exercise that has become popular recently and is characterized by the use of two sticks, one in each hand, while walking. The modality originated in Europe with the aim of facilitating movement on snow and mountainous routes, but it has gained strength as a lower-impact aerobic exercise option, especially for older people.

“The benefits of Nordic walking are very similar to those of other aerobic activities such as walking and running. But it has some small advantages: it can help people who have difficulty with balance, especially older people, already affected by dementia or with a history of stroke”, explains Carlos Leandro Tiggemann, physical education professional and professor of physical training subjects on the Physical Education at the FSG University Center, at CNN .

However, Nordic walking also offers benefits to healthy people because require greater upper limb strength during exercise . After all, it is derived from a sport called cross-country skiing in which athletes cover great distances on snow — with circuits ranging from 2 to 50 km — with the help of poles.

“These are athletes who have very high cardiorespiratory capacity. The fact of using the upper limbs to perform the exercise demands even more from the body and makes the activity more intense”, says Tiggemann. “So, Nordic walking can be used both as a therapeutic modality, for people with mobility difficulties, and by healthy people to improve their physical performance”, he adds.

What do you need to start practicing Nordic walking?

To start practicing Nordic walking, you need to have two poles specific to the sport, which can be found on websites and sporting goods stores.

Nordic walking poles are usually made from carbon fiber or aluminum, which offer greater rigidity without making them heavy. Additionally, they have a rubber tip, ideal for walking in paved areas, such as parks and sidewalks. There are also some versions with a metal tip, ideal for walking on lawns and trails, and adjustable for the rider's height.

Other important items for Nordic walking include comfortable, light clothing and walking shoes.

How to do Nordic walking?

For those who are beginners, it is worth looking for professionals specialized in this modality to perform the exercise with adequate monitoring and guidance. It is also interesting to start with routes without major obstacles and, preferably, without steep climbs or descents.

To walk, place one of the poles on the ground at an angle of approximately 45º and, with the foot on the opposite side, take a step. Then, repeat the same process with the other side, alternating passes with your arms. Start with a light intensity and, when you feel safe, increase your walking speed.

Are there any contraindications?

According to Tiggemann, There are no contraindications for Nordic walking . “Obviously, if a person has any limitations in their upper limbs, they may have difficulty using the bat. But, in general, there is no absolute contraindication,” he says.

Source: CNN Brasil

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