Autumn is the ideal season for walking, hiking or cycling. If you are tempted by something different and new, try Nordic walking. Walking is considered to be the most natural movement of the body. Do you know how Nordic walking is different? What it actually is, why it is beneficial to health and why we write about it on our blog you will find out in the following lines.

What is Nordic walking?

Nordic walking originated as an off-season training method for Finnish cross-country skiers and came to us at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. In 2013, the Slovak Nordic Walking Association was founded as an association dedicated to the promotion and development of Nordic walking in Slovakia. Nordic walking is considered to be a health and sport activity, in which you can engage up to 90% of the muscles of the whole body. Just for interest and comparison, cycling involves about 50% of the muscles and running 45% of the muscles of the whole body. The energy expenditure in Nordic walking is much higher than in normal walking. The advantage is that it can be done all year round, whatever the season. It can be done by different age groups – elderly people or children, and it is also suitable for people with health limitations, pregnant women or people with a higher weight for whom some physical activities are restricted. It can be applied both in the mountains and on the plain. Simply put, Nordic walking is for anyone who wants to move in the fresh air all year round.

It takes time to know how to perform the movements correctly and to learn the correct Nordic walking technique to engage all the muscles in Nordic walking. The axis of the body should be straight, when rotating the shoulders and pelvis, the spine is exercised evenly. Stepping out with a heel to toe motion exercises the arch of the foot. The so-called cross rule is applied, i.e. active alternating involvement of the arms and legs – right hand with the left leg and vice versa.

Correct gait

The Slovak Nordic Walking Association states that if Nordic walking is done correctly and regularly, it provides solutions for several health problems. These include: back pain, musculoskeletal diseases and conditions after musculoskeletal surgery, problems after breast cancer surgery, depression, asthma, allergies, low immunity, type 2 diabetes, lower respiratory tract diseases, neurological diseases, diseases of the lymphatic and cardiovascular system, obesity, osteoporosis, arthrosis, arthritis, phybromyalgia, learning disabilities in children, as well as prevention and support of cancer treatment. Thus, Nordic walking has a beneficial effect on both physical and psychological well-being.

An important tool in Nordic walking are special poles, which differ from trekking poles. Nordic walking sticks have the following main features:

  • the handle of the stick is long and slender, therefore one size suits several users (attention: the length of the stick should be 2/3 of the body weight)
  • the loop on the stick is a ‘smaller glove’, at least a thumb hole, as the stick is dropped backwards when moving, it is not held still
  • sticks are most often one-piece
  • Nordic walking sticks are finished with a ‘slipper’ which is shaped to make unstrapping as comfortable as possible
  • the poles are mostly without cushioning

If we have inspired you, enjoy your stay in the Tatras in this way. As part of our Autumn Hiking package, we will even lend you Nordic walking poles for free. And as a bonus, we have tips on trails in the High Tatras where you can Nordic walk.

  • Circuit around Štrbské Pleso and New Štrbské Pleso
  • Tatranská Polianka – Starý Smokovec and back
  • Starý Smokovec Kyselka – trail to Smokovec lookout and back along the Cross Road
  • Tatranská Lomnica – Tatranské Matliare and back
  • Circuit Tatranská Lomnica: Jamy – centre – Grand hotel – parking under the cable cars – Jamy
  • Veľká Lomnica, circuit around Black Stork
  • Štrbské pleso – Jamsské pleso and back
  • Štrbské pleso – Popradské pleso and back (on asphalt road)
  • Tatranská Polianka – Sliezsky dom and back
  • Starý Smokovec – Hrebienok and back (on asphalt road)
  • Biela voda – Zelené pleso and back