Nordic Walking Is A Genius Way To Get In All Your Steps

Get your walking sticks ready.

Originally Published: 
Nordic walking benefits, explained by fitness pros.


Nordic walking got its start as an off-season training technique for cross-country skiers, says trainer Maddie Casadonte. It has since caught on among exercisers as a way to add extra intensity to a regular walk. Here are the benefits of Nordic walking, plus how to give it a try.

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What It Is

Nordic walking involves holding a pole or walking stick in each hand as you walk, says Casadonte. The poles are secured with wrist straps and have rubber ends that dig into the ground. The goal is to utilize the poles as you move forward.


It’s Great Cardio

The motion of Nordic walking turns your stroll into a cardio workout, Casadonte says. Not only do the poles allow you to traverse tough inclines and declines, but they allow you to walk farther and faster to bring on the sweat.


It Strengthens Arms

Nordic walking also requires you to pump your arms and push off the ground as you go. This action initiates power from the shoulders, triceps, and biceps for a great arm workout, Casadonte says.

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It Works The Legs

“Nordic walking makes walking a full-body workout just by adding some props,” Casadonte says. The poles work your arms as well as your core as you move. And since your legs have to keep up, they get a workout, too.


It Improves Coordination

“Using the poles increases the challenge of coordination, while at the same time allowing more stabilization for balance,” Casadonte says. “This allows you to train your core and take that control with you when you're not utilizing the poles.”

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It’s Comfortable

Trainer Jake Dickson says Nordic walking is a good way to ease into exercise, especially if you have achy joints. The poles provide support and take excess pressure off your knees and hips.


It Boosts Your Mood

If you’re looking for an excuse to get outside, Nordic walking might be the ticket. Spending time in the fresh air is good for your well-being, Casadonte says. The activity has also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression.


It’s Fun & Social

Nordic walking is a super cute weekend activity that you can do solo or with friends, Casadonte says. Take your walking sticks to the woods for a hike, trek along the beach, trot around a city — or join a Nordic walking Meetup group.


How To Get Started

All you need to get started is a pair of walking sticks and a desire to go outside. For your first walk, Dickson recommends sticking to a level path. “As your stamina improves, you might begin to include hills in your route,” he says.


Nordic Walking Form

To walk with good form, hold onto your poles and allow the natural sway of your arms to happen. “You should start to feel the bottoms of the pole lightly dig into the ground,” Casadonte says. As they do, push off to propel forward.


Keep Walking

You can place both poles down at the same time or alternate them for techniques called double and single poling. Pick whichever motion feels right to you. And as Casadonte says, “Just keep on walking!”

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