It’s a given that regular physical activity has an enormous impact on our health and happiness, and as Nordic walkers we’re continuously reaping the benefits. You only have to look at the fitness of our regular attendees to see what a life changing activity it can be.
But it’s good to keep abreast of latest research looking at other activities, and recently exercise boffins have looked at the specific type and duration of exercise that makes the biggest impact on our lives, especially for us over 50’s.
A recently published study in The British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that while aerobic exercise or dedicated strength training are both associated with a longer lives, the real magic lies in combining the two.
- Those engaging in one hour of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week had a 15% improved life expectancy.
- For those who committed to three hours, it went up to 27%.
- But those who added strength training into this regimen showed a staggering 40% improved life expectancy. This is like comparing a non-smoker to someone who smokes half a pack, every day.
Doesn’t Nordic walking include strength training?
Absolutely, and Nordic walking can be truly transformational for overall health as it combines aerobic and strength-building elements.
But as powerful as it is, specific strength training can bring additional benefits:
- Improved Strength and Endurance – As we age we can lose muscle at an accelerated rate (especially around menopause) so we need higher intensity exercise to maintain body shape and tone.
- It’s The Quickest Way To Get Strong – Pushing muscles until they fatigue is the fastest and most effective way to build them.
- For Weight Control – Muscles are superstars at burning calories. Even when you’ve finished your workout you’ll continue to burn long afterwards.
- For Additional Bone Strength – Stressing your bones increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- For Joint Stability – Strengthening muscles using weights can provide excellent support and stability for your joints.
In a nutshell the importance of strength training is a hot topic and adding it to your fitness routine can extend your active and independent years.
Where Do I Find A Class To Suit Me?
Seek guidance from experts, such as personal trainers or physiotherapists who can point you to a class that’ll suit your needs.
Our experienced instructor Rachael is also a personal trainer, and will be starting a fun and effective 45 minute strength class every Monday morning between 8.45-9.30am in Bank Fitness, Henleaze in October.
We’ll have a room to ourselves and use bands, kettlebells (they’re great fun, honestly) and body weight exercises to focus solely on building strength and power.
We love the thought of Nordic walking and strength training together, it’s a powerful combination which will make you feel amazing. So don’t be shy and give it a try – Rachael is the best!
The Bristol & Bath Nordic Walking team
You can find our favourite Nordic walking poles here and if you’re looking for our advice on best walking kit here’s our recommendations: