Fitness Articles

Burn 20% More Calories with This Walking Technique

An Introduction to Nordic Walking

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Eventually, most people who walk for fitness will reach the point when walking alone no longer challenges them or helps them see results. If that sounds like you, then Nordic walking may be just what you need. First used as a summer training method by cross-country skiers, Nordic walking has become a stand-alone fitness regime, thanks to fitness professionals and the sports equipment manufacturer Exel Oyj of Finland.

Nordic walking, which uses walking poles to increase effort, is a low-impact, full-body workout that is gentle on the joints. And although you'll work harder and burn more calories than walking alone, the perceived exertion is about the same. What this means is that you burn more calories while working more muscle groups. If you try Nordic walking, you’ll enjoy a greater aerobic challenge than walking alone, but won't feel as though you're working much harder.

A small study conducted by the Dallas-based Cooper Institute and funded by Exel found that:
  • Nordic walking burns about 20% more calories per hour than walking alone.
  • Nordic walking elevates heart rate between 4.0% and 8.2% higher than walking alone.
  • Although Nordic walkers burned more calories and used more muscle groups, they did not feel that walking with Nordic poles was more strenuous than walking without poles. Continued ›
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • I tried this today with my XC ski poles. I had trouble with the rhythm - couldn't make my arms go as fast as my feet. The poles were a bit too long, but even when i gripped them further down the pole, it just wasn't working for me. Maybe I'll just keep trying... - 5/17/2016 8:17:43 PM
  • I've lived in Finland almost 2 decades and have never tried this. - 1/20/2016 1:58:51 PM
  • Good article - I've been Nordic walking for something like 6 years now. Here in Germany, it's a very popular sport. I love my Leki poles and the extra boost they give to my walking workouts!

    Just wanted to let folks know that there's a Nordic Walking Team here on SP - come join us! - 10/21/2015 4:35:22 PM
  • OZARK2896
    I use Leki poles as they help take some of the impact off my knees when walking in hilly terrain. With my current weight and fifty something year old knees, walking pain free is important. The extra calories burned and the positive effect on fitness is a bonus. They are common with backpackers-somet
    hing I did growing up and want to return to. - 10/21/2015 11:17:41 AM
  • Have had my walking sticks for about 2 years and what a difference it makes! Also take one with me most of the time just for balance - at my age, I just do not want to fall.
    - 10/10/2015 9:42:29 PM
  • i bought some nordic walking poles this year. I felt I needed them for balance as I tend to fall... not only do I use them for my regular walks... I took them with me on our cruise. I feel more able to do more with them and I feel like I have so much more support. I love using them - 10/10/2015 9:14:32 PM
    Thanks for enlightening us with this article, Leanne. I didn't know what Nordic walking is until I read your article. I didn't know that I am doing Nordic walking during my spring walking. Hey, I am sure, many of your readers will benefit from this article too.
    Thanks! - 7/30/2015 7:53:48 AM
  • I bought a pair of fibreglass ones for less than 20 dollars locally. - 6/11/2015 8:20:59 PM
  • I have been using my Leki trekking sticks a lot this winter since they help give me balance and keep me safer on snowy hills. I recommend that if you are a walker you will enjoy having a pair of good walking sticks! - 2/27/2015 1:19:48 PM
  • Great idea. I must try this.
    I too would like to see these articles more concise, as I am busy, but like to read them all. Keeping it to 1 page would save the reloading time for each page.
    Thanks for the info!
    - 11/11/2014 4:19:45 PM
  • I love Nordic Walking. I have my poles beside the door, together with my green high visibility belt. People know me as that funny old lady who goes walking around barefoot with those ski pole things. I highly recommend this way of walking.

    You build upper body strength instead of having your upper body just come along for the ride while your legs do all the work. And it's good for people who have knee or foot issues. I have bad knees and a knee replacement.

    I love my Nordic Poles and would love to see more people in the USA walking this way (I get that it's bigger in Europe than it is here).
    - 8/1/2014 8:37:41 PM
  • Bought my father-in-law a pair years ago. He loved them. Now, I have to buy a pair for myself! - 11/7/2013 9:40:30 AM
    Interesting. I would love to try it someday. - 9/19/2013 10:52:44 AM
  • 4 pages, really?
    - 8/25/2013 9:48:33 PM
  • Great article - 6/15/2013 10:30:43 AM

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