Nordic Walking: Frequently Asked Questions

To help you better understand Nordic Walking, we’ve compiled a short list of the most commonly asked questions.

If you have a specific question about Nordic Walking, please contact us and we’ll do our best to answer your question.

Q. What exactly is Nordic Walking?

A. Nordic Walking is a form of exercises where participants use specially modified poles and learn a specific technique. It was first adapted from cross-country skiing and used as summer training for the Finnish cross-country skiing team back in the 1920’s.

Q. Can I teach myself to Nordic Walk?

A. We wouldn’t recommend teaching yourself. To really get the most out of Nordic Walking, you will need to learn the technique. It is far easier to learn the correct technique (and avoid bad habits) under the supervision of a qualified Nordic Walking instructor. At PhysioPilates Carlisle, both Rachel and Steve are qualified to teach Nordic Walking and we run 5 week courses or one day “crash courses” to learn the basic techniques.

Q. I’ve heard of the “10 Steps” to learn Nordic Walking – what exactly are they?

A. To learn Nordic Walking properly, you will be taken through several steps to develop a good technique. Steps 1-6 will be covered in during the 5 weeks course/one day crash course and will be enough to get you going. Steps 7-10 are not so essential in the early stages and will be taught during later sessions.

Q. How will I know which of the 10 steps I am working towards?

A. So you can keep an eye on your progress, we will give you a “Nordic Walking Log Book” which we will sign each time you progress through a level. Once you have reached step 5, you will be able to join any of our regular walks

Q. Can anyone lean to Nordic Walk?

A. If you can walk, you can Nordic Walk. At PhysioPilates Carlisle, we have different walks aimed at different levels. If you’re not sure which level is right for you, please get in touch.

Q. What are the health benefits of Nordic Walking?

A. There are a lot of health benefits associated with Nordic Walking, which include:

  • Nordic Walking burns up to 46% more calories than walking alone.
  • Nordic walking uses 90% of Skeletal muscle (making it a whole-body workout).
  • Nordic Walking can improve Posture, Lung function, Gait (the way we walk), reduce joint stiffness and even strengthens the Core.
  • By using the poles to propel you forwards, Nordic Walking reduces the load placed through the leg and spinal joints (so it’s ideal if you suffer from lower back pain or hip/knee issues)
  • Nordic Waling will increase your heart rate, which is so good for us on so many different levels, such as: reducing the risk of heart attack/stroke, tackling obesity, weight loss, improved mental health, improved mental function, protection against dementia…….and many, many more health benefits!
  • At a higher level, Nordic Walking will give you the same benefits and work out as running, but without loading the joints in the same way, whilst also working more muscle groups – ideal if you find yourself unable to run, but would like to. Did you know that you can enter PARK RUNS as a Nordic Walker?
  • By weight bearing and using your arms, Nordic Walking can be used as part of a program to prevent/improve bone conditions such as osteoporosis.

There are of course many other health benefits to exercising outside and by doing regular Nordic Walking – the above list just highlights a few. For more information, please get in touch!

Q. Can I use trekking/hiking poles to Nordic Walk?

A. I’m afraid not. Nordic walking poles are very different to trekking/hiking poles. We will talk in more detail about the differences between trekking and Nordic poles during the “Learn to Nordic Walk” sessions. However, to sum up, the poles are measured to your specific height, they are weighted differently to promote good technique, the handles are completely different to trekking poles and require a specific wrist strap and they often have an element of Carbon Fiber in their construction (to reduce vibration).

Q. Will I need to buy my own poles?

A. We have a large selection of poles for adults and children. If you come to our “Learn to Nordic Walk” sessions or come along to our group walks, you can use our poles during the sessions free of charge. If you really start to get into Nordic Walking and decide to buy your own poles, we would be happy to help you choose a set of poles.

Q. I have (insert medical condition here). Can I do Nordic Walking?

A. Nordic Walking is a safe form of exercise and can be used in the rehabilitation of a wide range of conditions, such as lower back pain, neck pain, obesity and joint replacements. If you have a specific medical need, please get in touch so that we can discuss this with you.

Q. Is there an age limit on your Nordic Walking Sessions?

A. The only age restriction is on children. We have a selection of children’s poles and children who are old enough to follow instructions and can walk unassisted for at least an hour are more than welcome (with an accompanying adult). There is no upper age restriction.

Q. Do I need to be fit and healthy to do Nordic Walking?

A. As we have different groups for different abilities, we can accommodate a wide variety of fitness and health levels. All our walks are led by Charted Physiotherapists and our “Nordic Walk Back to Health” sessions are aimed at people with health or medical needs, whilst our “Social” walks are aimed at people who want to exercise in a group at a moderate level. We also run a “Fitness PLUS” session which is more demanding, so we really do have a level that most people can enjoy and get something from. If you are unsure which class to join, please get in touch!

Q. Can children do Nordic Walking?

A. We have a selection of children’s poles and welcome families along to our walks. Children will need to be old enough to follow instructions and be able to walk unassisted for at least an hour (so not really suitable to very young children/toddlers).

Q. Can I bring my dog Nordic Walking?

A. At the moment we are not allowing dogs on our Nordic Walks, as some people can be quite nervous around animals. However, we might look at doing specific “Social” walks in the future where dogs would be welcome. If this is something you think you might be interested in, please get in touch and if we have enough interest, we will put on a session

Q. Can I just come along to a session to see if I like Nordic Walking?

A. Because Nordic Walking requires you to learn a very specific technique, we don’t allow complete beginners to drop-in to our sessions. Instead, we do offer occasional 1 hour taster sessions to try Nordic Walking and see if you think it might be for you. Keep an eye on our website for more details!

Q. How much does it cost to learn Nordic Walking with PhysioPilates Carlisle?

A. We have different prices for different sessions:

  • 1 hour taster sessions – £10.
  • 5 week “Beginners Nordic Walking Course” – £35 for the full course.
  • Regular week day walks – £35 for a block of 5 session or £10 per session (when booked individually).
  • 1 day “Crash Course in Nordic Walking” – £45 for the full day.
  • Weekend walks – Priced individually.

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