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Health facts - Benefits of Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking benefits are clear within the first few minutes of trying and the Cooper Institute in Texas has issued the following findings following comprehensive tests into the activity.

1. Burn more calories in less time

  • Consumes approximately 400 calories per hour (compared with 280 calories per hour for normal walking) Energy consumption increases when using poles by an average of 20% compared with ordinary walking at the same speed without poles Heart rate is 5-17 beats per minute higher. Up to a 46% increase in energy consumption when fully utilising the correct technique (Cooper Institute research, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sports 2002 publication).

2. Low rate of perceived exertion & easy to master

  • You can walk for extended periods and not feel exhausted because, you are utilising more of your body's muscle groups to propel you.

3. A total body activity

  • The lateral mobility of the neck and spine increases significantly. The muscles most actively involved are the forearm extensor and flexor muscles, biceps, triceps, the rear part of the shoulder muscles, the large pectoral muscles, chest, abdominals, back muscles, and your butt!

4. Reduced load and relaxed muscles

  • Reduces the load on knees and other joints. Improves balance and co-ordination. Releases pain and muscle tension in the neck/shoulder region. Poles are a safety factor on slippery surfaces.

5. Varied levels of intensity

6. Energetic, Relaxing and Fun

  • The Ministry of Health and SPARC New Zealand recommend that all adults get at least 30 minutes of activity five or more days per week, and Nordic Walking is the ideal way to do so. This low impact, total-body movement is easy and effective - and so fun you'll likely want to do more than the 30 minutes minimum. And if you want to boost the intensity for greater calorie burn and improved fitness you can simply pole harder, tackle more challenging terrain or walk for a longer time with a low level of perceived exertion.

*The complete Cooper Institute study can be found at this reference: Timothy S. Church et. al. Field testing of Physiological Responses Associated with Nordic Walking. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, vol. 73, No. 3., pp 296-300

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