What do you get when you combine walking with shortened ski poles? You get Nordic walking, a truly remarkable complete body workout. Frigid temperatures and snow are not required. Professional skiers have used this unique combination for training in the off season to stay in shape for quite awhile. In the late 1980s fitness experts took notice of the benefits, both health and fitness, that skiers training this way in the off season were experiencing. Nordic walking is now popular among athletes, fitness professionals, and ordinary folks wanting to workout their entire body for the best and most complete health and fitness levels possible.


The poles used in Nordic walking are not as long as regulation ski poles are, and they do not need to be. You would not be able to correctly Nordic walk if they were, so do not think that you could up the benefits of this form of exercising by forsaking Nordic poles for regulation ski poles. The Nordic poles have metal tips for traversing over different terrains and under different conditions such as snow covered areas, mountainous trails, and sandy beaches. They also have tips made out of rubber that can be removed for traversing over concrete, blacktop, and similar hard surfaces. The poles can be made out of carbon fiber, steel, or aluminum. Some Nordic walking poles have hand straps for added gripping power.


Nordic walking consumes a higher percentage of calories compared to the amount of calories consumed by walking without poles. Nordic walking strengthens the upper, lower, and mid sections of the body simultaneously. That is why Nordic walking has become such a hit with those seeking a full body workout without having to hop from machine to machine or alternating machines with various targeted exercises. I should also mention that Nordic walking lessens the strain on back muscles, knees, hips, and joints, which significantly reduces the risk of spraining or tearing muscles or joint cartilage.


Since the body receives a complete workout through Nordic walking, it benefits inside and out. Lung capacity and functioning are increased through regular Nordic walking. Lung tissue expands with exercise as the exertion causes a demand for more oxygen. Nordic walking improves not just the amount of air you take into your lungs, but also how that air is transported throughout the body to nourish and fuel your internal organs. The cardiac muscles of the heart are strengthened through Nordic walking which results in the seamless pumping and exchanging of blood through the four chambers of the heart and back into the bloodstream of the body. Well nourished internal organs work properly and are more resistant to disease and injury. 


Nordic walking benefits your internal health and fitness even as it also benefits your exterior fitness with a toned and firm body. Some many consider the skin tightening benefits of Nordic walking to be a vain concern, but few can argue that taught skin has a better appearance on the body than loose skin.


You do not have to be a skilled athlete to engage in Nordic walking and you do not need to scale the side of a large mountain to gain the benefits either. A consistent program of that includes different elevations, terrains, and conditions, and the proper all terrain footwear, is all that is required to harvest the health and fitness benefits of Nordic walking.


The benefits of walking with poles are not a riddle to the millions of people who have caught on to Nordic walking for health and fitness. Nordic walking poles can be easily purchased online or at your local sporting goods store and  information is readily available online so that you can create your own Nordic walking program.