For muscles and joints: That's why Nordic Walking is so healthy

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Writed by - Andy Gocker
  For muscles and joints: That's why Nordic Walking is so healthy
Nordic walking can be even more fun in a group. © Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock.com, SpotOn

dr Martin Rinio explains

A sport for every age group that is also good for muscles, bones and joints and includes nature? Nordic Walking combines all of this. Fast walking with walking sticks is particularly popular at the moment. What makes the sport so special and what beginners should pay attention to, reveals Dr. Martin Rinio, specialist in orthopaedics, surgery and trauma surgery and medical director of the Gundelfingen Joint Clinic, in an interview with the news agency spot on news.

What exactly is Nordic Walking?

dr Martin Rinio: Fast walking with the help of walking sticks is characteristic of this gentle, healthy endurance sport. The special advantage: The brisk alternative to going for a walk moves almost all muscles and is easy on the joints. Endurance, sense of balance, strength and coordination are trained and improved.

Why has the sport been so popular for years?

Rinio: Nordic walking is a full-body workout that almost anyone can do. Just like hiking, this endurance sport is also suitable for people who have joint problems or already suffer from osteoporosis. In addition, Nordic walking offers a good opportunity, especially for people of advanced age, to strengthen bone density and build up muscles. Since this sport also protects the knee joints, it is also suitable for overweight people.

And another major plus point: Even in Corona times, this training in the fresh air is possible anywhere and independent of equipment.

And why is the sport so good for the body?

Rinio: The muscles and joints in particular benefit from regular walking. Thanks to the use of poles, it is particularly advantageous that the ligaments, joints and tendons in the arms and legs are evenly stressed, without significant impact loads. Incidentally, in the joint clinic we also recommend Nordic walking to patients with an ankle prosthesis - as well as cycling or swimming.

Regular training also gets your heart, circulation and metabolism going. The immune system is promoted. In addition to the many benefits for the body and fitness, Nordic Walking also has a stress-relieving effect.

What is your advice for beginners?

Rinio: The basic technique, including the correct movement sequences, should be mastered. That's why I recommend that beginners take a class before they start haphazardly. And it is better to regularly complete smaller, moderate and age-appropriate routes than to do a mammoth route every now and then.

What should beginners consider when equipping? What is required?

Rinio: Breathable, moisture-regulating functional clothing is just as important as the typical walking sticks. They shift part of the body weight and relieve the ankle and knee joints. Swinging the poles also strengthens your arms and shoulders. The right pole length - it's best to get advice from a specialist retailer - is just as important as the right technique.

Street shoes are not a recommended solution, even with firm soles. I recommend sturdy, breathable and waterproof shoes. These should not be too heavy, but flexible. Their cushioning doesn't have to match that of jogging shoes. It is more important that the shoes have a supportive effect on the foot and enable a comfortable rolling of the foot. For this reason, please make sure your toes have enough space - there should be room for one finger in front of the big toe.

Are there typical beginner mistakes?

Rinio: Mistakes are often made when using the sticks. These should be customized and not too short. In addition, as already mentioned, it is essential to learn the right technique beforehand. Because the poles are often placed too far forward, for example. Even when choosing shoes, not enough attention is paid to the required quality, especially to their stability.

If you start running in middle age or even later, you should start slowly. Daily running is always too much of a good thing, especially for beginners. Not only the circulation has to get used to the training. Don't forget to warm up beforehand - and then always gently stretch your muscles: first the calves, then lower legs and thighs.

Is Nordic Walking also recommended in hot summer?

Rinio: If the temperature is above 20 degrees, you should adjust or reduce your running speed and distance accordingly. Routes with shade providers such as in parks or forests are recommended. If the temperature rises above 30 degrees, it is better to leave your running shoes in the closet.

And if you do start on a hot day, then it's better early in the morning or late in the evening - and please make sure you drink enough, both before and after. That's why it's important to have a drinking bottle for when you're on the go. You should also think about sunscreen with a high sun protection factor and good sunglasses.

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