Nordic Weight Loss

Mary Tweed
image description

Mince pies, chocolates, turkey, christmas cake, canapes, sausages, gingerbread, brandy butter. Its that time of year again, when we all indulge joyfully and regret the extra pounds at leisure. Once the wrapping paper is in the bin and the party clothes put away, squeezing back into the usual pair of jeans can suddenly be a bit of shock. Just what is the best way to lose weight effectively? A fast and furious zumba class? Pumping iron at the gym? Or simply walking?

With Christmas around the corner and in a week that the Chief Medical officer has published figures revealing that 51% of women aged 25-34 are overweight or obese, rising to 63% by the time women are between 45-54, it is vital that we understand how to lose weight and subsequently keep it under control.

In order to lose weight an energy deficit must be created. In other words, you need to expend more energy than you take in. One can do this either by decreasing the amount of food we eat, or by increasing the amount of exercise that we include in our daily lives. In reality, the best course of action would probably include a bit of both. Most of us are too sedentary; it is estimated that 80% of the UK’s population is failing to achieve the government’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. Setting a simple goal, such as aiming to walk 10,000 steps a day, would lead to dramatic improvements in many people’s health and fitness.

A recent study from the London School of Economics (LSE) found that people who walk at a brisk pace are more likely to have lower body mass index (BMI) than those who engage in a wide range of other activities such as going to the gym, swimming, cycling, dancing, rugby, tennis and running.

Grace Lordan, a specialist in health economics who led the research, examined reported physical activity levels from the annual Health Survey for England from 1999 to 2012. She focused particular attention on activities which increased heart rate and caused people to perspire, such as those listed above. Also she included heavy housework, such as moving heavy furniture, walking with heavy shopping, scrubbing floors; heavy manual activities, such as digging, felling trees, chopping wood and moving heavy loads.

The research found that men and women who regularly walked for half an hour five days a week were more likely to have lower BMIs and smaller waists than those who engaged in regular sports and exercise. They also report that women over the age of 50 were most likely to have a lower weight if they walked regularly.

Why is Walking So Effective?

There is no cost to walking and so people are not put off by monetary factors. This also means that people do not feel that they have to limit the number of walking sessions in which they take part. People who enjoy walking tend to participate regularly and it is this frequency of exercise, which is so beneficial. Walking is easy to incorporate into daily life. A spare half hour here, or a lunch break there can be filled by a quick walk without the need for changing clothes or driving to a class in a special location. These factors make regular walking much easier to stick to than other fitness regimes.

“People are also more likely to get walking ‘right’, as compared to gym exercises - it’s easier to know if you’re working to a moderate level with walking than with other exercises,” Dr Lordan adds. “Given that regular walking is an easier habit to adopt regularly than high-impact classes or complicated exercise regimes, I would have to say that we do underestimate how a regular walking habit could modify the lifestyles of many people. And walking costs nothing but your time.”

And What About Nordic Walking?

This study was based on regular brisk walking that involved raising the heart beat and making participants perspire lightly. Nordic Walkers will feel all the benefits mentioned above and more. Nordic Walking activates 90% of the skeletal muscles, including the upper body muscle groups, which make the heart work faster and tones the waist. Nordic Walkers are propelled forwards by their poles, increasing stride length and thus walking more briskly. Finally, remember that nordic walking burns 46% more calories than regular walking. Now you know how to work it all off, I’m sure you can treat yourself to an extra mince pie. Go on!

Get in touch

In order to answer your enquiry more quickly, please complete this form and submit it to us. We will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible.

Stay in touch

If you would like to be kept informed of forthcoming events and classes, please sign up to our newsletter which we send out six times a year.