Nordic Walking is taking the world by storm. The International Nordic Walking Federation (INWA) report having 20-member organisations with instructors from over 40 countries worldwide.
Technically, it’s closer to Nordic Skiing than hiking with poles. The hands are attached by straps to poles and as the arm plants the pole pushes backwards, engaging the upper body muscles and the body is propelled forward. Nordic Walking is a total body exercise as compared with regular walking or jogging.
Nordic Walking is typically performed 2-4 times a week for 10, 45, 90 minutes or longer, depending on the person’s disease, age, fitness level and athletic goals.
This safe, time efficient and effective form of endurance exercise training is better than brisk walking and jogging. Nordic Walking offers people with a broad range of diseases another choice of endurance exercise training. The Health Benefits include improvements in; BMI, resting heart rate, blood pressure, exercise capacity, maximal oxygen consumption (i.e. fitness) and quality of life.
Nordic Walking sticks can regularly be found in Lidl or Aldi.
Lymphedema Precautions and Nordic Walking:
People with primary and secondary lymphoedema should first discuss their Nordic Walking plans and get clearance from their GP or therapist before starting. As with all exercise take the following precautions:
- Discuss your Nordic Walking (NW) goals with your GP/Consultant/Physio before you start. Get medical clearance for exercise intensity up to 6.3-7.7 MET.
- Learn the correct NW technique and use correctly sized Nordic Poles.
- Hydrate before you exercise
- Donn/wear the recommended compression garment on your lymphoedema limb.
- Wear a sun hat, carry water and wear appropriate shoes/boots.
- Before and after NW scan the at risk lymphedema limb for changes in swelling as compared with the other limb and modify your exercise accordingly.
- Warm up x 5 minutes.
- Plan and progress your time slowly and steadily towards your goal, over the first 12 – 16 weeks giving your body the time it needs to develop the new heart and muscle fibres, blood and lymph vessels it needs to grow to meet the increased demands of regular endurance exercise training.
- Cool down x 5 minutes stretch the calf muscles on a step x 3 times for 30 seconds.
To locate a Nordic Walking group near you, simply Google Nordic Walking with your location. Many Nordic Walking groups have trained instructors and offer workshops in the correct technique, organise days out, and even Nordic Walking holidays.