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Fitness for the elderly: Nordic walking with sticks

5 min read

The older a person is, the less time is spent on sports, and the more difficult is physical activity. However, even in adulthood, light loads are shown with exposure to fresh air. In maintaining excellent well-being, older people will be helped by Nordic Nordic walking – not only fascinating, but also extremely useful exercise for people of any age, gender, build and level of physical activity.

Nordic training is a full-fledged sports area, during which various muscle groups are actively involved. Despite the apparent intensity, the level of load during walking with sticks is considered moderate, thanks to which even those who have long overstepped the retirement age can perform the exercise.

Nordic walking is the best sport for the elderly.

This unique direction of cardiovascular exercise, by modern standards, appeared not so long ago – in the 90s. Initially Nordic (or northern) Nordic walking arose to help skiers who needed to maintain excellent physical fitness in the warm season.

It turned out that walking with sticks and ski-like manipulations perfectly imitate standard ski training on a mountainside, not yielding to it in efficiency. During the lesson, special sticks were used to help distribute the load correctly. Gradually, the new direction of fitness has spread throughout Europe, and then throughout Russia. Nowadays more and more young and old people are actively involved in sports hiking.

The main difference of this sport from normal walking is the position of the body and legs during movement. Nordic training is like a ski ride, since the leading hand is pulled forward and the opposite foot is pulled back.

The benefits of walking exercise

The benefits of walking exercise

Scandinavian training is popular with retirees because of its many beneficial properties. It allows:

improve joint mobility;
recharge;
increase the elasticity of muscles, ligaments and tendons;
prevent the development of stagnant diseases;
remove pain in the limbs;
eliminate puffiness in the spine, neck, lower back;
normalize blood flow and the lymphatic system;
weaken the symptoms of diseases of the cardiovascular system;
improve ventilation and respiratory health;
strengthen the muscular system and posture;
get rid of extra pounds;
establish oxygen and metabolic metabolism in the body.

Also, exercising outdoors is the perfect way to make new friends. Often, walking trainings are performed in groups, where you can practice socializing with similar interests.

List of contraindications for the elderly

Despite the large number of advantages, Nordic training with sticks still remains a full-fledged sports training. This means that older people need to be sensitive to their own well-being. And before you exercise in the fresh air, you need to make sure that there are no contraindications to classes. Therefore, you need to contact your doctor to obtain the appropriate permit.

The main categories of performers who should abandon the Scandinavian training are people:

with exacerbated chronic illnesses;
with hypertension;
with varicose veins;
with serious diseases of the musculoskeletal system;
in the process of recovery after surgery.

Start training

Experts advise you to start exercising with sticks in the open air by contacting a specialized sports school or a local fitness club. As a rule, modern centers offer many convenient directions for Nordic walking, among which an elderly person will be able to choose the most suitable option for himself. These can be individual trainings or group classes, trainings with the inclusion of other sports elements (stretching, breathing exercises) or classical classes.

Appeal to professional instructors will allow the age athlete to master the correct technique for correctly performing all movements while walking. Also, coaches will help you to choose sticks individually for the growth and needs of the performer, as well as make up a personal training program to improve the level of strength, endurance and overall health.

Proper selection of sticks for exercise

Selection of sticks for Scandinavian training is a very important stage. If the inventory is not long enough, the negative load on the body will increase, as the stress will shift to the joints, tendons and kneecaps. Too long sticks will simply reduce the positive load and give the person discomfort while walking.

Correct along the length of the stick reaches the level of the armpits. However, the most convenient will be telescopic poles, the length of which can be adjusted to the desired level.

The inventory must have special locks on the handle so that the hand is in the same position during the session and does not move down.

Also, when choosing shells, it is important to pay attention to the materials from which they are made. The best stick option for the elderly is carbon. They are not deformed even with strong impacts on the surface of the earth. They are distinguished by durability, they do not require special care. Their main advantage is a small springiness, due to which excellent shock absorption is provided on asphalt or hard ground.

Mode and time of walking

Mode and time of walking

Exercises with sticks must be performed under strict regime. For older beginners, 2-3 lessons per week are enough. As for walking time, the duration of Scandinavian training is determined on the basis of the general level of a person’s physical fitness, age and health characteristics.

You can start training from 20-30 minutes of hiking, gradually increasing the time to 40-60 minutes. Many pensioners prefer to train every day, but experts advise not to neglect the rest, allocating at least 1-2 days a week for the overall recovery of a middle-aged organism.

Walking technique

The technique of Nordic walking is simple and will be understood even by a beginner. Before the start of the class, you need to warm up by doing a 5-minute warm-up. The steps are slightly wider than in a normal step, and the body of the body should be slightly tilted forward in order to transfer the body weight correctly.

When moving the right hand with a stick forward, the right heel is at the level of the tip. The left leg should be carried back. Further, the exercise reverse is changing. The knees should always be slightly bent, as should the elbow joints.

Breathing during exercise should be carried out through the nose – it is recommended to breathe rhythmically and deeply. Older people with greater weight and shortness of breath need to periodically stop to restore breathing.

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Used photos Shutterstock

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