Why Nordic Walking is so healthy and what to look out for
Nordic walking has a positive effect on physical and mental health. (Image source: ERGO Group)
Sport increases fitness, helps you lose weight and has many other positive effects on body and soul. What many people don’t know: 150 minutes of exercise per week is enough to improve general well-being. Nordic walking is a gentle, but at the same time effective way of being physically active. Solveig Haw, health expert at DKV, explains why the sport is so healthy and gives tips on the right technique.
Why Nordic Walking?
Nordic Walking – fast walking with sticks – is a real all-round talent and therefore suitable for almost everyone. Nordic walking is a perfect introduction, especially for people who have hardly done any sport before. “The risk of injury is very low and the training can be ideally adapted to age and individual fitness,” says Solveig Haw, health expert at DKV. “The poles ensure an upright posture and cushion the joints. This makes Nordic Walking one of the gentlest endurance sports,” says Haw. The swinging arm movements strengthen your back, shoulders and arms, the fast walking trains your legs and buttocks and is good for your condition at the same time – an optimal full-body workout.
Effects on body and mind
Nordic Walking has a lot of positive physical as well as psychological effects. Exercise in the fresh air reduces stress, lifts your spirits and stimulates blood circulation. Regular endurance training normalizes blood pressure and also reduces the risk of thrombosis or cardiovascular disease. Nordic walking also has a positive effect on the metabolism and is therefore suitable for lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. The immune system also benefits, since regular, moderate training strengthens the immune system. And especially important for people who sit a lot: “The use of the upper body mobilizes the neck muscles. Tensions can also be relieved in this way,” says the health expert.
The right sticks
In order to benefit from the positive effects of the sport, the first thing to do is to have the right equipment. In addition to sportswear and running or trekking shoes, this includes above all the sticks. They must be long enough and set correctly, otherwise there is a risk of tension in the shoulder and back muscles. The following applies to the optimum length: height in cm x 0.66. “If you want better cushioning and thus less stress on your joints, it’s best to choose poles with a high proportion of carbon or even with a damping system,” advises Haw. In addition, the poles can be adapted to the surface and type of use with various attachments, so-called pads. This makes them suitable for trekking and hiking, for example. Rubber pads have the advantage that they reduce the rattling noise when walking on asphalt.
Knowing how: This is how Nordic Walking works
Even if it is not difficult to learn the sport, it still depends on a few techniques. “The so-called diagonal gait is important in Nordic Walking. That means the right arm and left leg always move at the same time,” explains the DKV health expert. A few big steps put unnecessary strain on the joints, it is better to take more and smaller steps instead. The rule of thumb is: never straighten your knee when you touch down. Correct posture is also important. Nordic walkers should avoid a rounded back, a hollow back, a stiff upper body or raised shoulders. If newcomers are unsure about the correct execution, the DKV expert recommends attending a beginner’s course.
Number of keystrokes (including spaces): 3,600
You can find more advice topics at www.ergo.com/ratgeber You can find more information on health insurance at www.dkv.de
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Image source: ERGO Group
About the DKV
For more than 95 years, DKV has been a leading force in healthcare with its needs-based and innovative products. As a specialist, it offers comprehensive health and long-term care insurance coverage as well as health services to private and statutory insured persons. The organization of high-quality medical care is also one of the core competencies of DKV. In 2022, the company generated premium income of EUR 5.1 billion.
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