Nordic walking is good exercise even if you have joint or bone issues


Nordic walking combines the benefits of walking with an upper body workout. — dpa

Have you thought about giving Nordic walking a try?

Experts say it combines the health benefits of a brisk walk with the upper body workout you get from pushing off the ground with specialised poles.

Practically anyone can do it, "even people who have joint problems, are overweight or suffering already from osteoporosis," says orthopaedic surgeon Dr Martin Rinio.

Nordic walking works many muscles and is easy on your joints.

What's more, it improves endurance, balance and coordination in a gentle manner.

If you're starting out with Nordic walking at an advanced age, don't overexert yourself.

Your cardiovascular system needs to get used to the workouts.

To learn basic technique, he recommends professional instruction – in a training course, for instance.

Beginners should regularly walk fairly short, age-appropriate distances, rather than long ones once in a while.

You can gradually add more kilometres.

Two or three 45-to-60-minute Nordic walks a week are enough at first; later, you can up them to four.

Don't forget to warm up beforehand, and warm down afterwards with light stretching – first your calves, then your thighs.

Are you a couch potato at heart?

Dr Rinio has a tip: "Experience shows that many people find it easier to motivate themselves – and keep at it – in a group."

Shoes should be non-slip, breathable and waterproof.

More important than cushioning is foot support and the ability to comfortably roll your foot from heel to toe, so there should be a fingerwidth of space between the end of your big toe and the front of the shoe.

It's important to have proper poles too.

"They bear some of your body weight, and thereby, reduce strain on your ankle and knee joints," he says.

To make sure you get poles with the right length for you, it's best to go to a specialist shop or take a beginners' course in Nordic walking.

"Outdoor exercise boosts your immune system and lowers the risk of catching colds," Dr Rinio says.

It also helps to relieve stress and causes your body to produce "happiness hormones". – dpa

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Exercise , workout , Nordic walking


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