Nordic Walking with CNI

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By ELLEN BELLE MA, PT

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you are looking for a new form of exercise to increase your heart rate, allow you to enjoy the outdoors and is gentle on your joints, consider Nordic Walking (walking with poles). Brisk walking is safe and effective in countering our often sedentary lifestyle.  By adding Nordic poles a person can increase their heart rate by 25% so they can reach their target heart rate and stay there for the duration of the exercise.  This is accomplished by two things: the fact that you walk faster with poles and also that you are using your trunk and upper extremity muscles to maneuver the poles.  The poles are also helpful for individuals with minor balance problems who are worried about falls on uneven surfaces outdoors.

A recent article in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Health Benefits of Nordic Walking: a systematic review reviewed the literature and found sixteen randomized control trials with a total of 1062 patients and 11 observational studies involving 831 patients.  These studies were done between November 2010 and May 2012.  Analysis of these collective studies showed that Nordic walking is more beneficial than walking without poles and for some effects better than jogging.  Beneficial effects include: blood pressure, resting heart rate, oxygen consumption, quality of life, and exercise capacity.  Thus Nordic walking is good for individuals with a variety of chronic diseases or those just looking for a new form of exercise.

At the CNI NeuroHealth Center, we utilize Nordic poles with a variety of our patients – those with Parkinson’s Disease, MS or general balance disorders.  If you have balance issues and want to trial or pursue Nordic pole walking as an exercise, ask your physician for a referral and we will be happy to work with you.  Poles are fun and can put some SPRING in your step!

Contact CNI to learn more: 303-788-4010 or info@thecni.org

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