Active aging and the benefits of Nordic Walking

 

Nordic Walking in Mallorca, Active ageing, active aging, benefits of Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking in Spain

 

As you probably know by now, the population is getting older in average due to the extension of lifespan. Medicine, food and exercise are the main drivers of this phenomena, leading to fitter and healthier seniors. Todays’ 40-plus generations are either thinking about or actively trying to not become “the oldies that do not participate anymore”. Instead they are more eager, able and willing to continue eating healthy and practicing sports in order to enjoy an interesting social life when they retire: family issues (which can actually be thrilling and demanding), travelling, performing (music, theatre, dance, etc.), studying, (volunteer) working, and many other leisure activities are also a seniors’ thing. This rich social interaction will probably help them to prolong their capabilities in time.

In this post, we want to support the international movement of “Active Aging” by highlighting the benefits of Nordic Walking. To better understand the meaning of active aging, we think that the explanation from the World Health Organisation’s website is very helpful:

“Active ageing is the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. It applies to both individuals and population groups. Active ageing allows people to realize their potential for physical, social, and mental well-being throughout the life course and to participate in society, while providing them with adequate protection, security and care when they need. The word “active” refers to continuing participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs, not just the ability to be physically active or to participate in the labour force. Older people who retire from work, ill or live with disabilities can remain active contributors to their families, peers, communities and nations. Active ageing aims to extend healthy life expectancy and quality of life for all people as they age. “Health” refers to physical, mental and social well being as expressed in the WHO definition of health. Maintaining autonomy and independence for the older people is a key goal in the policy framework for active aging. Aging takes place within the context of friends, work associates, neighbours and family members. This is why interdependence as well as intergenerational solidarity are important tenets of active aging.”

Now this is where Nordic Walking and Mallorca Hiking have something to contribute. This fantastic sport has got a large number of benefits and it is considered as one of the ideal sports for almost all humans in different ages because of the following facts:

1) Nordic Walking is one of the most effective cardiovascular workouts (together with cross country skiing) because when doing Nordic Walking you use all your major muscle groups in your body.

2) Recent studies by the Cooper institute in Dallas showed that Nordic Walking burned more calories, increased oxygen consumption and can be up to 46% more efficient than normal walking.

3) Nordic walking is great for weight loss as you burn more calories compared to walking without poles.

4) Nordic walking is generally a very “kind” sport for the rest of your body and less stressful for knees, back.. compared to regular walking, jogging or biking.

5) By adding the poles and a correct Nordic walking technique to your walk, you increase the total use of your muscle mass from approximately 70% to 90% while increasing your heart rate significantly.

Nordic Walking Mallorca

Nordic Walking in the woods

Moreover, we need to add another few but very important issues that might lead to a greater popularization of Nordic Walking in the future. The price is not a barrier because if you want to exercise Nordic Walking on a regular basis you only need comfortable sport shoes and a pair of poles, and that’s it! Since you are most likely to be walking in the outdoors (and preferably in the nature), you will receive all the benefits of (hopefully) fresh clean air, sunshine (D vitamine amongst others) and quietness (relaxed mind). Nordic Walking is generally a very safe sport and the risk of injuries is very low. Nordic Walking is also a very social sport as it is often done in pairs or groups (you might even have a Nordic Walking club or association very close to where you live!). It is easy to learn a proper Nordic Walking technique and easy as well to keep it up. It is a sport that is suitable and has got benefits for everyone; from the absolute beginner to the fittest sportsman or woman.

Mallorca, and especially the East part of the island (Llevant), is very attractive for exercising Nordic Walking due to its natural quality, its fantastic landscapes and the fabulous climate. Mallorca Hiking’s guide Nina Harjula is a licensed Nordic Walking instructor from Finland, and she is committed to spread the knowledge and fun of exercising this magical sport in a beautiful natural environment such as the Mediterranean coast can offer.