The days are getting longer, it’s getting warmer, and the beach or mountain trails beckon. If you love to walk for weight loss and general fitness - or hike - we’ve got a suggestion for you that’ll increase your pace, your calorie burn, and your overall fitness. Pick up a pair of Nordic walking poles!
Not originally created for weight loss, Nordic walking began in Finland as a way for cross-country skiers to keep in shape during the warmer months. As a technique for walking for weight loss, however, it is substantially more effective.
The cardiovascular workout using Nordic walking poles is stronger than without them because it works all major muscle groups, not just the ones in the lower body. Even chest and abdominal muscles are activated during a typical workout.
Recent studies by the Cooper Institute in Dallas showed that Nordic walking burns 20-45% more calories than normal walking and increases oxygen consumption. As an added bonus, Nordic walking is far easier on your joints than jogging or running and you can easily tailor your speed and intensity to suit your own needs.
By using walking poles, you increase your heart rate on average 10-15% more than normal walking. This means you can burn well over 400 calories per hour, much more than normal walking, which only burns around 280. How many calories you burn will be dependent on your pace, whether you're on a smooth surface vs. more rugged terrain, and whether you include hills during your walking session.
All you need for gear is a pair of comfy walking shoes and walking poles. Nordic walking poles come with rubber tips for walking on asphalt, which can be removed when you want to use the metal tips on the trails. The poles can be purchased as telescoping, so you can easily change the height, or the lighter and stronger one-piece version.
If you like to socialize while you exercise, then Nordic walking is still a great pick. Many areas have Nordic walking clubs that meet at parks or beaches.
So get yourself a pair of Nordic walking poles and a good friend and give it a whirl right here on Long Sands beach in York, or any of Maine’s fine beaches. Walking for weight loss the Nordic way is efficient, inexpensive, accessible to most people, and fun, darn it.
If you'd like more information about walking for weight loss using Nordic walking poles, visit https://www.americannordicwalking.com/
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