Dear readers, in the article “Technique of Nordic Walking” I wrote about the health benefits of this type of walking. Among its other advantages it was mentioned that, according to doctors, it is one of the best means to reduce weight. What is the reason?
Perhaps there are three main reasons that make Nordic walking especially effective for solving the problem of weight loss.
- Involvement in training a large number of muscles. The article “Metabolism and weight loss” said that the more muscle a person has, the more calories he burns, which in turn leads to weight loss. However, unfortunately, with age we decrease physical activity, muscle mass decreases and subcutaneous fat increases.
Nordic walking allows you to use up to 90% of the muscles of the body and, therefore, helps to maintain them in good condition. Moreover, these are mainly large muscles of the body. This gives us additional benefits not only for weight loss, but also for improving posture and keeping the muscular system in good shape. Regular Nordic walking can perfectly help us maintain weight at a normal level. Nordic walking with sticks reduces the load on the knees and other joints, greater comfort is achieved than with regular walking or jogging.
And by the way, why not just walking or running? It turns out that they, in contrast to the Nordic walking, cannot so effectively solve the problem of weight loss . Let’s look at the numbers.
Nordic and regular walking. Scandinavian walking, depending on the walking speed, allows you to burn approximately 46% more calories than normal walking. This is achieved by incorporating the upper body into the workout process.
Nordic walking and running. Nordic walking to lose weight is twice as effective as normal running and much less dangerous for the joints, especially for the knees and back. Many doctors oppose running due to continuous strokes that can cause knee problems. In contrast, Nordic walking is ideal for people suffering from joint problems and obesity. For 1 hour of Scandinavian walking about 350-400 kcal are burned, while when jogging, only 155-200.
- Increase the intensity of the muscles. Naturally, the more active we are, the more calories we burn. If you’re still on your way to Nordic walking, doing regular walking can be a great way to increase your activity. However, in order to maintain the results of losing weight, you will need to gradually increase the walking distance or the intensity of regular walking. This is where Nordic walking can come to your rescue. Moreover, the intensity of walking should be one of the most important components of your training program.
With walking sticks, you use more muscle, which significantly increases the number of calories burned, and you will not feel too tired, as in the case of normal walking. Walking poles actually help you move forward.
Nordic and regular walking. Nordic walking lets you burn the same amount of calories as you walk, but in a shorter amount of time. For example, an increased level of intensity training allows you to burn as many calories in 25 minutes of Scandinavian walking, compared with 40 minutes of normal walking.
- Easily include in the schedule of our daily life. The advantage of Scandinavian walking is that it can be practiced at any time of the year, in any weather and at any age. And in order to quickly see the results of Nordic walking, it is necessary to integrate it into your daily life. For example, when I was on vacation in Finland, I saw older people go with the Nordics and visit shops, social facilities, etc. Some people go to and from work instead of using a car or other transport if their place of work is on reasonable distance from home. In addition, for convenience, there are folding sticks for Nordic walking, which you can take with you anywhere in a special case.
Of course, in our conditions it is not always possible. Some will twist a finger at the temple, others ask the question: “And where did you forget the skis?”. But I hope that it will be time for us and an understanding will come that health must be dealt with daily, including with the help of Nordic walking.
What needs to be done to increase the number of calories burned?
- Increase the distance traveled. Naturally, the more we pass, the more calories we will burn. At the beginning of your training for Scandinavian walking, you should concentrate your attention on gradually increasing the distance, and only then on increasing the walking speed. Little by little, increase your walking time from 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Your goal is to walk 4-5 times a week, the rest of the time should be left to restore the body. The walking time should be gradually increased to 5-10 hours a week.
- Increase walking speed . To increase the effect of losing weight, you need to go with the right intensity. It depends on the heart rate (HR). To do this, determine the maximum heart rate (MCSS). It is calculated by the following ratio:
- for women. MHSS = 226 – your age in years;
- for men . MHSS = 220 – your age in years.
Depending on the degree of your physical fitness, the optimal heart rate for you is determined:
- for beginners walkers (health zone) – 50-60% of the MCS;
- fat burning zone (when recruiting certain experience and wanting to improve its shape) – 60-70% of the MCSS;
- for professionals (to improve the work of the cardiovascular system and endurance) – 70-80% of the MCSS.
During walking, especially for novice walkers, it is recommended to periodically measure heart rate. This is necessary to ensure that you train in the zone you need.
In contrast to the usual walking with the Scandinavian walking heart rate increases on average by 10-15%. This means that you can burn up to 400 kcal per hour, much more than with normal walking, which burns only 280 kcal.
- Walking on rough terrain . Walking through hilly and / or uneven terrain, such as walking on trails, grass, sand, gravel, snow or maneuvering among trees, descents / ascents, activates the core muscles, burns more calories and strengthens muscles. For example, a 5% slope increases calorie burning by 50%. If you’re new, avoid steep hills. Walking through the snow increases the number of calories burned by 2-3 times. If you have a “second wind” when walking on an asphalt road at the end of a long way, this may be because less energy is required when walking on asphalt or concrete than walking on the ground or sand.
- Walking with extra weight . When you increase your level of training, you can try walking with additional weight. This should be done very carefully, as extra pounds create an additional load on the joints. But if you decided to do it, you should add no more than 10 kilograms and wear this additional load in your backpack or, evenly distributing, in the unloading vest. Keep in mind that walking in an uncomfortable position or additional weight on your legs and arms can cause injury.
- Increase movement with your hands . Walking speed largely depends on arm movement. Waving your arms generates energy and movement that propels us forward, helps burn more calories and strengthens the muscles of the upper body.
- Good posture . Walking with good posture means that your back muscles and buttocks work more powerfully. Therefore, you will be able to go faster and burn more calories.
- The muscles of the abdominals . Some experts believe that the abdominal muscles work most effectively while standing. To maintain good posture and tone the abdominal muscles, pull them in and up, but continue to breathe normally. Do not hold your breath.
- Proper walking . Walk from heel to toe. Start by touching the heel of the ground, roll your feet through the arch and push off your toes. This gives you not only more energy and burns more calories, but also strengthens the calves, hamstrings, muscles of the buttocks, helps to lengthen the muscles of the legs.
- Increase the stride length . The best way to walk quickly is to step up the steps. But to add variety and muscle to the legs, increase the stride length. By taking big steps, you strengthen the inner and outer muscles of the thighs.
- Add interval training . Nothing burns fat as well as interval training, which is an alternation of short energetic and weak physical exertion. For example, you can walk at a moderate pace for 5 minutes, and then within 1 or 2 minutes to go in quick stride (just below the jogging point). Then go back to the normal pace, recover within 5 minutes and repeat the acceleration. This will increase the fat burning process, increase your physical fitness, increase your walking speed and keep your metabolism at a higher level for several hours after your workout.
Visitors to the site often ask questions, “Why did I start losing weight at the beginning of walking, and then everything stopped,” “Why I don’t lose weight, even after several months of Nordic walking,” and others. I answer them in my letters and comments, but there are no less questions . And the answers to them are not so short and simple. Therefore, I wrote a book in which you will find answers to many questions related to weight loss with the help of Nordic walking. You can get acquainted with the book here .