Increase the effectiveness of your training with Nordic walking

Nordic walking is efficient because it combines aerobic and strength work into one session.
Nordic walking has a long history as a conditioning tool for competitive athletes, and in the last decade it's become an ideal fitness activity for everyone. Nordic walking looks like traditional (or classical) cross-country skiing, but without the skis and snow.

Adding Nordic walking to your race training can help you reach a new personal best in distances ranging from 5K to the marathon. Here's how:

  • Effectiveness. A training program should help you reach a specific conditioning level, whether it's a certain race pace, or a specific level of fitness or weight loss. Nordic walking is a proven effective total body conditioner, used by Nordic skiers to build aerobic fitness and strength in the off season.
  • Efficiency. Training should provide the best possible conditioning in the least amount of time. This acknowledges that few of us are professional athletes, and most of us have other obligations. Simply put, why train three hours a day if 90 minutes, done properly, can yield the same result?
  • Nordic walking can be an efficient high-intensity workout, boosting energy expenditure over walking at the same speed from 20 to 45 percent, and even more during uphill intervals. Nordic walking is efficient because it combines aerobic and strength work into one session.

  • Safety. An effective training program is one that protects against injury. Walking with poles can add stability on uneven ground or trails, without increasing upper-body injury risk because the poles are so light. Using the poles also reduces impact force since the poles bear part of your load. This is especially true during downhill walking, when many hikers most appreciate using poles.
  • Fun. Health and fitness should never become a chore. That's why we set goals, train with others, participate in events, and -- perhaps something we sometimes forget -- should always be open to new activities.

  • New training routes, running partners, races, and new workouts can add variety and new challenges. Nordic walking can provide a fun alternative to mix into your routine and take your workout to new trails, mountains, fields and beaches.
Because it's so easy to learn, Nordic walking requires only a small amount of instruction and practice to master basic technique. There are instructional DVDs offered by Nordic walking pioneer Exel Sports N.A., as well as a nationwide network of trainers and instructors accessible on the Exel's Web site at

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