Nordic Walking is a natural and dynamic walk to which is added the functional use of two special sticks. It is a very recent discipline (1997) officially born in Finland thanks to the thesis presented by the student Marko Kantaneva but which in fact was practiced already many years before as training by the athletes of the Finnish national cross-country skiing in the summer period. After less than twenty years Nordic Walking has conquered the whole world!
If you want to start doing Nordic Walking in the right way, it is better that you know immediately some essential things that are far from obvious, otherwise you run the risk of throwing away your precious time by walking the sticks without any knowledge of the facts.
To get the maximum benefits from this sport, which are really many, it is in fact very important to start from a correct execution of the technique always using only sticks that must be strictly Nordic Walking and not trekking. Another fundamental thing is the choice of the terrain suitable for the practice of this activity which must respect certain precise parameters. Even choosing the right footwear is not something to be underestimated.
Start Nordic walking
But let’s go in order and analyze the various points one at a time
Start doing Nordic Walking: what you need to know
To start off on the right foot and make your life easier I have summarized the things that I believe are fundamental for a correct approach to this beautiful activity that has the advantage of being cheap and of being suitable for everyone.
From whom to learn the technique of Nordic Walking
It is absolutely necessary to follow an introductory course to learn correctly and progressively the succession of movements, a fundamental aspect to maximize the numerous benefits of this sport. You have to know that in Nordic the sticks are used in push mode and not in support and it can happen that if the movement is not performed correctly, the benefits are less and in some cases there may even be contraindications. For this reason it is essential in this first phase to rely only on qualified instructors who will be able to give you the right technique!
The Nordic Walking stick
As I said before, it is essential to start Nordic Walking with a specific Nordic Walking stick. I repeat it because many people do not know the difference between Nordic Walking and Trekking poles. The most macroscopic difference is in the strap: the strap of the Nordic Walking stick always has a “left” and a “right” and is easily detachable from the handle through the simple Click and go system whenever hands free is needed. This specific strap allows with its glove-like shape to always have the stick firmly attached to the wrist and to take it back quickly after each push. Telescopic or fixed, carbon or aluminum rods are many and with different characteristics, even in price, the Nordic Walking poles available on the market today.
An excellent cheap entry level Nordic walking stick that I would recommend is the Gabel Stride Vario that you can buy directly here: GABEL STRIDE VARIO NCS Nordic walking sticks green 700735053
Clothing and footwear for Nordic Walking
As clothing, breathable technical fabrics that can be modulated according to weather conditions (sun, wind, rain, etc. ..) are recommended. The jackets and trousers must leave the maximum freedom of movement and preferably be of soft fabric to the touch to avoid annoying rubbing. Of fundamental importance are the shoes: strictly gymnastic with a not too rigid sole to facilitate a complete “roll” of the foot during walking. No less important are the socks that must necessarily be elastic, breathable and perfectly adherent to the foot. The use of inadequate socks can cause the appearance of annoying blisters at the points of greatest rubbing.
Where to do Nordic Walking
Choosing the right terrain to practice Nordic Walking is essential to be able to perform the correct technique. On this aspect I want to open a parenthesis given the great confusion that I perceive in the speeches of the people: the Nordic Walking does not center a beautiful nothing with hiking and trekking! The two activities differ much more in the type of stick that is used, as we have seen, also for the ground where the two activities are practiced. In fact, in Nordic Walking, to make the foot complete a rolled (heel support – roll on the metatarsal – toe pushing), it is necessary that the ground does not exceed the slope by 7-8%. Above this slope you will progressively support the foot before flat and then even the tip. Moreover
even the sticks, which in Nordic Walking are used in thrust mode, in the case of too steep ground they would end up being used in support …
As a result, the ideal terrain for Nordic Walking is that of a flat natural bottom or at most a slight slope. The city parks, the country lanes and the gentle hills are fine, as long as the bottom is nice and homogeneous. Exceptional is doing Nordic Walking to the sea on the beaten sand of the shoreline when the tide is low (early morning and evening). Try it really deserves!
Can Nordic Walking also be done on asphalt? Of course it is more difficult and requires more concentration. Asphalt does not forgive technical gaps!
In the next episode I will talk about the benefits of Nordic Walking that are really many!