I am a writer living in Melbourne who loves to devour culture and the arts. Visit me at www.pumptheatre.com.au
Published January 3rd 2011
Walking is the most basic form of exercise known to man and for most people requires no fancy equipment or special training.
In recent years, a new type of walking has stepped into view, offering those who want to do a little more than just walk.
Nordic walking differs from regular walking in that if done properly, it works your entire body instead of just your legs.
Some have commented that Nordic walkers, with metal poles in hand, look like people in perpetual pursuit of a snow field. Indeed, the activity started off as off-season training for skiers and was once known as 'ski walking'.
Anyone can enjoy Nordic walking, and some of the greatest benefits can be felt by those with joint problems. When used correctly, the poles can help alleviate the pressure on lower joints by letting the arms and upper body take the strain instead.
Many people with joint problems who love hiking have found that with the poles they can enjoy walking greater distances with relatively little difficulty.
People trying Nordic walking for the first time can feel a little self-conscious striding along with a pair of poles, doing an activity that essentially you could do without poles.
But once the benefits become apparent, inhibitions are cast aside and before you know it, you'll find yourself nodding knowingly at fellow Nordic walkers passing in the opposite direction.
If the inhibitions prove to be too, well, inhibiting, then consider joining a Nordic walking class. There are plenty of instructors across London who will help you to build confidence and learn about the physical benefits of this fast-growing sport.
Beverley, for example, is a qualified instructor who runs classes in various locations across west London. All fitness levels are welcome and lessons aim to be fun as well as beneficial to your health.
Classes are tailored to suit your needs and goals, and other help such as nutritional advice is also offered.
Of course, it's you who decides how demanding you want your Nordic walk to be. Long-term benefits include a stronger cardiovascular system, better muscle tone (including upper body muscles), less jarring of joints, and a greater burning of calories compared to regular walking.
So if you'd like to get a bit more from your Sunday stroll, or want to ramp up your regular ramble, grab a pair of poles and sign up for a Nordic walking lesson forthwith!