Running a business is one of the most stressful activities of modern times. Indeed statistics show that depression and mental ill health issues affect a third of all entrepreneurs. As the business owner, you are your companies most precious asset. After all it is your vision that is the driving force behind your ultimate success. Consequently, you owe it to yourself and your employees (if you have any) to be in the best shape to deal with the tasks ahead. This means looking after yourself both physically and mentally.
One way of doing this is to schedule in some time each day designed to improve your physical and mental well-being. Poles apart from a Sunday stroll (pun intended), Nordic walking is a great way to start your business day. Nordic walking is suitable for all levels of fitness and people of all ages.
If exercise isn’t your thing then you are going to love Nordic walking. After all everyone can walk, right ?
Nordic Walking is low impact, which makes it better for the joints than running or jogging and like swimming it involves the whole body; with the added benefit of resistance from gravity. Nordic walking can be done almost anywhere there is space to move and if you can find someone to walk with, it is a great social activity too.
If the idea of walking for exercise seems like it wouldn’t be energetic enough for you, think again. The only similarity with ordinary walking is that it is inexpensive, easy and readily accessible.
Nordic Walking involves walking with two poles (similar to the poles used by cross country skiers). Walkers apply force to the poles with each stride to propel themselves forward. This means that Nordic walking uses 90% of the major muscles so the upper body gets toned as well as your legs and bum!
Has spending too long sitting at your desk taken its toll on your waist line? Well, regular Nordic walking will help you get back your trim physique faster. Nordic walking burns between 40-80% more calories than just walking.
How to walk the Nordic way
Nordic walking may look easy but it is important to learn the correct techniques in order to get the best out of it and avoid injuries. A common beginners’ mistake is to position the poles in front of the body the whole time. When the poles are used like this they are only being used for balance and you don't get the exercise benefits associated with this activity. The correct technique is to use the poles with a wider range of movement and extend them behind the body as well as in front. Take a look at this video which explains the process in 4 easy steps.
- It’s important to maintain good posture - Body straight (try not to slump); core activated and the shoulder blades stabilised
- Walk naturally for you, rather than trying to emulate another walkers posture
- Keep your hands and arms loose and relaxed to avoid building tension in your shoulders and neck muscles; arms should swing the shoulders with the elbows straight – think of a soldier marching.
- Use your poles to push off from the ground slightly once the pole is thrust behind you
This next video shows some more advanced techniques for Nordic walking. So if you are already super fit or want to do more than start your business day with a buzz, you can try these out too.
For more advice and information about Nordic Walking you can join a class. The International Nordic Walking Federation (INWA) is the global governing body promoting Nordic Walking. INWA has over 20 official member organisations and there are Nordic Walking coaches certified in over 40 countries around the world. Contact your country’s official INWA organisation via the INWA’s website for details of local clubs.