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Feature report 2007 | The Most Fashionable Exercise Nordic Walking



The sport walking originated from Nothern Europe and it has started to develop since 1997; the Finlanders call it "sauvakavely" (meaning walking with holding sticks), but it is generally referred as "Nordic Walking" nowadays. As early as 1930, cross-country ski players of Finland would walk with ski sticks in Summers for maintenance of strength and pysical fitness. At the later stage, the famous Exel Company for manufacturing ski sticks in Finland started to cooperate with experts from each relevant field for developing this new sport. The material for grip, wrist band and body of ski stick were reconstructed as walking stick that suits the new sport. The sticks became more suitable for walking and mountain climbing, where the walking had gradually became a good way of public exercise. From 1997 till now, this sport had spread from Northern Europe to the whole world and become public exercise and entertainment with fastest development. In Finland, there ae 560,000 people (10% of national population) that exercise by walking weekly now and in other European countries, the total population of walking sport also exceeds 3 millions.

Nordic Walking is also referred as cross-country walking, which features with using two special hand sticks for walking and exercise. The sport mainly consists of three types, namely road walking, mountain climbing and exercise with assistance of the stick. Within 10 years, the sport has been popular from Germany, Austria to U.S.A. and the members of International Association of Nordic Walking has increased from only 3 countries in 2000 to 16 countries. At present, there are approximately 60 millions people of all ages and both genders over the world to swing their walking sticks and step ahead. Nordic Walking was originally a way for cross-country ski players to train their physical fitness during summer, so the entire body is exercised. Since both hands have to push the sticks, the upper body moves for strengthening muscles at back, abdomen, legs and arms, as well as promoting the cardio-respiratory function.

Compared with regular walking, the sport walking can achieve better effect of exercising; With assistance of the two light sticks, walkers can inmitate animal movement of four leg walking and exercise muscles of entire body. Compared with jogging, the sport walking can effectively prevent excessive burden to the body caused by running, which can slow down impact on the knee and ankle joints in particular, as well as reducing the possibility of sport injury. Compared with normal walking, the heart rhythm can be increased without the need of fast walking. According to a test by experts from International Federation of Cross-country Walking, the heart rhythm of cross-country walker can be enhanced by 13% at least and 30~46% of calorific capacity can be consumed, which solves the problems of insufficient exercise with walking and bad result of training. Since sport walking is simple, scientific and easy to persist, it is deeply favored by urban habitants, especially office ladies.

According to the research from University of Illinois in U.S.A., frequent exercise with Nordic Walking does not only effectively increase amount of oxygen supply from blood towards brain, but also motivate the exerciser to concentrate and enhance efficiency more easily. Some fitness experts even think that the effect of Nordic Walking is about the same with Yoga and it is also a nice way to lose weight. The sport walking is becoming fashionable trend of exercise in Europe and America, which pushes fitness sport back to origin and nature.
The Exel Company is a famous manufacturer of sport equipments in Finland and it specializes in producing and selling high-tech sport utilities made with carbon material. With more than two decades of production for Nordic Walking sticks, the Exel Company has continuously researched and manufactured Walking sticks suitable for different people. From grip of walking stick to rope that support the wrist and connects with the stick, as well as angle, material and functional design of ground contact with base of walking stick, different product design are available for different sport frequency and actual requirement of user. In view of this, product that can effective support the sport and design with compliance to human factors engineering are manufactured accordingly. The most representative products of Exel are the cross-country ski sticks and cross-country walking sticks, which possesses 40% and 60% of global market share separately.
The hand sticks of Exel are made with synthetics of high quality fibers and

Data source :
Nanjing Explorer Outdoor Club

each stick only weighs 150 grams, which is provided with sufficient load-bearing capacity and flexibility. It can bend under pressure of weight and flip back to straight status, which allows the user to absorb shock and acquire . extra force. The wrist band with humanized design is comfortable and convenient for walking, as well as guarantee normal blood circulation at the wrist. In addition to the metal tip that is suitable for walking on snow and loose ground, the base is provided with small rubber shoe for slip resistanceThe Exel's hand stick is perfect combination of weight, flexibility and support; it has exclusive patent on the wrist band, hand grip and tip, which is irreplacable by mountain climbing stick and other hand stick.

The Exel's hand stick is available with fixed and adjustable length. The fixed length is available from 100 cm to 130 cm and one specification is designed at every 5 cm for person with different height as required.

Over recent years, the sport walking has become popular in Taiwan. Ji Zheng (Antelope of Asia) has been actively motivate for the sport walking since 2002 since she has experienced the magical power of walking, where she lost 20 kilograms of weight in 6 months by 1 hour of walking everyday. She also initiated the activity of "one million happy walkers", because she wished to motivate millions of civilians to cultivate the habit of walking 10,000 paces daily and stay healthy. Ji Zheng has expressed that walking may seem easy and normal, but it is now acknowledged over the world as the most convenient and publican sport, and even the new trend of sport and fitness in many advanced countries.

Data source : www.chnsport.com/yyxzsz.htm


The benefits of walking can be summarised into aspect of body shaping and health:

Walking can achieve result of body shaping and weight loss and the secret is to walk at least 10,000 paces everyday. Although walking is an aerobic sport, it starts with taking sugar as the main consumption of energy and fat is only officially burnt after approximately 20 minutes. After calculation, scientists think that Nordic Walking consumes 20% more of calories comparing to normal walking under the same speed. With faster walking, the calorific capacity consumed can even achieve 46%, which effectively consumes redundant fat on waist, abdomen and hips for achieving the goal of body shaping and weight lossing.


The effective consumption of calorific capacity by walking


Speed (km/hr)

Time needed for consuming 300 calories (min)

The calorific capacity consumed per minute (cal)









Natural walking




Exercise walking




Full strength walking










Data source: Health vol. 22


Walking can prevent disease and keep the threat of cancer away, since the most usual behavior often generates most unusual result. According to "Research on nursing health" of U.S.A. and the "New British Medical Journal", more than 3~7 hours of sport per week can probability of breast cancer by 20%, heart disease by 30%, diabetics by 50% and walking is the most ideal sport. Further more, this fashionable sport of fitness also becomes the most effective movement therapy for preventing high blood pressure, high blood fat, high blood sugar and heart disease.

The sport walking is applicable for people over all ages with three formats, namely the recreational fitness, health recovery and professional training, which satisfies needs of different body quality and ages. In addition to enhancing cardio-respiratory function, bone density, muscle strength, relieve tension and control the weight, the most import factor for sport walking is its features of simplicity, cheap price and all season activity.