Learn more about Nordic Walking
What is Nordic Walking?
Nordic walking is an outdoor sport activity that is practiced with specific walking poles equipped with a gauntlet. It is a dynamic walk that mobilizes up to 90% of the body's muscles, due to the additional use of the poles to improve the thrust. It is an activity that can be practised all year round on "Nordic" terrain with gentle relief.
Historically (during the 1930s), this walk was invented by Finnish cross-country skiers to train during the summer when there was no more snow and wheel-skis had not yet been thought of. It was called the pole walk at the time.
Since 1999, Nordic Walking has arrived in France and continues to gain more and more followers.
What are the health benefits of Nordic walking?
Nordic walking is an effective endurance sport for physical and mental well-being. It improves breathing, strengthens the cardiovascular system and stimulates the brain. It is a complete and balanced sport that can be practiced at any age. During a session, up to 90% of the body's muscles can be used.
Nordic walking can also be practiced in a "healthy" environment. Indeed it has the advantage of preventing osteoporosis, improving blood circulation, strengthening the immune system and allowing rehabilitation after sports or other injuries.
It can be used as a training base for various sports.
Finally, its practice in groups is also beneficial from a relational and social point of view.
What equipment is used in Nordic Walking?
- The sticks: The basic equipment of the Nordic walker. There are many models of many brands (Leki, TSL, Exel, Swix...) and different compositions (composite materials, aluminium). It is important to choose them at the right length (standing upright, when you put the pole down and take the handle of the pole in your hand, the elbow should be bent at the right angle, better a little below).
- The gauntlet: This is the characteristic element of a Nordic walking stick. It is decisive in the quality of the material because it must allow a perfect recovery of the pole when the hand passes from the back to the front and allow a natural and ample swing.
- The handle: There are different shapes and materials. Cork being the most pleasant material to limit perspiration.
- The tip: It is made of tungsten carbide for more solidity. For more efficiency, choose a bevelled tip which offers a perfect grip on all floors.
- Clothing: They must be functional, comfortable and adapted to the day's weather. They must allow a good range of arm movement while providing good protection against cold, rain or heat. Be careful not to cover up too much in winter. Prefer synthetic or merino wool clothing that dries quickly.
- Shoes: The recommended shoes are of the "trail or running" type. Prefer a good notched sole for grip and a low upper for a good rolling of the foot.
- Accessories: Headlamp, hydration system (belt water bottle or bag with water pocket), "trail" type backpack close to the body.
How does a session take place?
A Nordic walking session is always done in three stages.
1- A warm-up lasting 10 to 15 minutes is designed to prepare the body for the effort that will follow. It is composed of several exercises that the instructor will make evolve with each session.
2- The body practice lasting from 1 to 1h30 will alternate between pedagogical group time and practice time. The instructor will be there to advise you and correct you to help you progress. During this bodybuilding session, through several exercises, we will be able to tackle very different themes such as: coordination, balance, flexibility, breathing, playfulness, bodybuilding, endurance/cardio, ascent and descent techniques, proprioception, obstacle crossing...
3- Stretches lasting 10 to 15 minutes are very important. They allow the muscles, tendons and ligaments to regain their physiological balance and work on flexibility.
On what terrain do we practice Nordic Walking?
Nordic walking is practiced on soft ground, i.e. flat or hilly, and on rather wide paths so as not to be hindered by the use of poles. Too steep and rocky terrain is not suitable for Nordic walking.
Around Annecy, we will therefore favour routes in the middle of nature with a maximum travel time of 30 minutes from the town centre.
Levels of practice and objectives
Nordic walking can be practiced at different levels depending on the goal you set yourself.
- The "Health/Beginner" level will correspond to people who wish to discover the activity and start or restart a sporting activity. Sessions will generally last 1h30 for a maximum height difference of 100m and a distance covered of 3 to 4km.
- The " Fitness/Well-being " Level will correspond to people who wish to maintain or improve their physical fitness. The session will be of light to moderate intensity for a duration of 1h30 with a maximum height difference of 300m and a distance covered of 7km maximum.
- The " Confirmed/Sport " level corresponds to people who wish to improve their physical fitness. The session will be rather sporty and invigorating for a duration of 1h30 (10 km max and 300m of vertical drop max) to 2h (12 km max with 500m of vertical drop max).
Session assured for a group of at least 6 participants.
The group, made up of a maximum of 12 participants, will be supervised by a French mountain leader, state-qualified and Nordic walking instructor.
Location and means of access
The areas where we will practice Nordic Walking are numerous and varied around Annecy and generally less than 30 minutes drive from the city centre. They will be chosen by the instructor according to the level and theme of the session and the weather of the day. A summary email will be sent to you before each session to inform you of the exact meeting places and times.
It is possible to take a personal vehicle or carpool from Annecy to the start of the Nordic Walking session.