I am sure that all of us have been active walkers at some time and probably still are. About 15 years ago I read about a new form of exercise – Nordic Walking – and became a convert. Nordic Walking was originally started by competitive cross-country skiers to keep fit when there was no winter snow. This is me – practising in the snow! Using the poles to stop falling over on slippery slopes!
Studies by fitness researchers have shown that using walking poles, and more specifically Nordic Walking, provide significantly more benefit than normal walking.
And these benefits also benefit cyclists!
As far back as 2003, a research study showed that competitive cyclists are more prone to osteoporosis. And as competitive cyclists are also more prone to crashes and falling off their bikes, having weakened bones is not ideal! We fitness cyclists also have accidents and/or fall off our bikes. Also, Osteoporosis is more prevalent among ladies than men.
To avoid this weakening of bones, the most effective remedy has proven to be exercise which stresses the bones – that is some form of force – such as weight bearing loads. Road cycling in particular, does not do this. Running and jumping are classic body weight exercises, and training with weights is far better.
Walking, and especially Nordic Walking, are forms of body weight exercise. However like cycling, normal walking only exercises about 50% of the muscles/bones, i.e. from below the waist.
Nordic walking uses the same action as skiing, using the poles to push forcefully forward. Thus adding stress, also to the upper body, estimated to be 80/90% of muscles/bones, etc. A significant advantage!
I ceased Nordic Walking some 8 years ago when I introduced Thursday Anerley bike rides in addition to Sundays and Tuesdays. I found doing this, and N. Walking, too time consuming so concentrated on cycling.
However recently, after a long weekend hiking in the hills and valleys of the Welsh/English borders – I have the hiking bug back! And of course the walking poles from gathering dust in the garage!
Three challenges on the Welsh side of the border 6 weeks ago.
1. Re-learning Nordic Walking
2. The top sign is a bike route for MTB and Gravel bikes – An Anerley Ride next summer?
3. The bottom sign is a map reading challenge! This is No 4 to be found on an Orienteering course! Something else for Anerley Riders to have a go at!
There are techniques to practise and master to get the full benefit from Nordic Walking. One web page to have a look at is https://www.newfeel.co.uk/how-to-go-up-or-downhill-in-nordic-walking , whose poles are obviously stocked by Decathlon!
And what a more knowledgeable writer (from Harvard University Medical School!) had to say about Nordic Walking only a few month ago – in June 2022!