4. History lesson. Variation of heart rate in normal walking vs. Nordic Walking

The test shown on below was carried out at the Finnish Sports Institute in Vierumäki (www.vierumaki.fi) with the medical station’s treadmill on 20 January 1999. The Table below was previously published in the guidebook From Sauvakävelystä Sauvaliikuntaan eng. Nordic Walking to Pole Sports (M.Kantaneva, R.Kasurinen 1999). sauvakavely_opas

The purpose of the test was not to provide scientifically incontestable proof of increased heart rate resulting from Nordic Walking as opposed to normal walking. It was rather a concrete repeated test involving one individual, during which the heart rate curve variations at constant speed and constant slant of the treadmill was monitored. During the test, heart rate variations were monitored when a 5-minute walk was followed by 5 minutes of Nordic Walking. Furthermore, the purpose of the test was to find out what happens to the heart rate, if another 5-minute normal walking trip was taken after a Nordic Walking trip. There was no pause between the mode changes, instead the test continued without stopping for 15 minutes.



5 min

Nordic Walking

5 min


5 min

DIFFERENCE beats/min 


av 1) 136,1 beats/min av 1) 156,2 beats/min av 1) 144,6 beats/min av 1-2) 20,1 beats/min / 14,8 %

av 2-3) 11,6 beats/min / 7,4 %

av 1-2) Walking 1 and Nordic Walking 2, difference between average heart rates and change in percent

av 2-3) Nordic Walking 2 and walking 3, difference between average heart rates and change in percent

3. So, what is Nordic walking?

 115_1544In brief, Nordic walking is enhanced walking where the arms are also used to push.

In Nordic walking, the movements of your arms, feet, pelvic area and the entire body are similar to those employed during a vigorous walk. In Nordic walking, the opposite arms and feet swing in alternation and rhythmically forwards and backwards just as in normal walking, but clearly more intensively. It is important to try to learn the correct rhythm and swing moves of Nordic walking as correctly as possible right from the start in order to ensure the best training effects. The amplitude of arm swing in the back and forth direction also sets the swing breadth of the lower limbs, i.e. the legs. Short arm motions are translated into short pelvis and leg motions.

The same happens vice versa, when one walks with short strides. In this case, it is impossible to make extensive back and front arm swings. The further the pole is thrust back behind the pelvic line, the longer the stride required. The longer and more complete the above-mentioned swinging motion of the upper and lower limbs, the stronger the twists of the pelvis, chest, neck and shoulders. Nordic walking performed with wide and maximally large as well as alternating overall joint angles is an extremely good workout as well as beneficial for the skeleton and organs.

kirjaSo, what does Nordic walking offer you?

In addition to improvements in personal physical wellness, Nordic walking offers enthusiasts much more. A lively mind means that you are happier. Poles have given you motivation for regular physical activity. Flexibility provided by pole gymnastics. All this gives you the feeling of more zip vigour and vitality etc.