Nordic Pole Walking was created in Finland in the early 1990s as a way for Olympic cross-country skiers to train during the summer.
The sport exploded across Europe in the 1990s and has grown to the point where today more than 20% of Finns and about 10-15 million Germans are walking with poles on a regular basis.
Numerous clinical studies show the vast benefits of walking with poles, especially among seniors.
Go to any assisted living facility in America and you’ll find hundreds of seniors who rely on trekking poles for mobility and regular exercise. By using the poles, they’re able to keep up the movement that’s absolutely crucial for maintaining some muscle tone and mobility.
Poling contributes to faster weight loss, better cardiovascular health and better posture. Poling even helps people recovering from knee or hip surgery to get moving again through the support from the poles.
Walter Johnson, 68, of West Palm Beach, Fla., found the Nordic-style poles with rubber tips for concrete use kept his exercise regimen active after a painful setback in 2009.
“All my muscles atrophied after knee surgery,” says Johnson, who traded his road bike for Nordic poles. They helped him walk up to 20 miles a day for two years until his legs healed sufficiently to resume cycling.
According to Prevention Magazine, walking with poles boosts calorie burn an average of 15 to 20%—and up to 50%—compared with regular walking, even though it feels just as easy. You can burn more than 500 calories an hour, almost as many as you would while jogging, but with significantly less impact on your joints.
Walking with trekking poles also helps sculpt a leaner upper body. Each time you push off the pole, you work your arms, chest, shoulders, and back, as well as your abs, legs, and butt. Nordic walking also strengthens your heart and helps you lose weight.