Nordic Walking – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it

Nordic walking Austria

You’ve probably seen people doing it, you’ve probably scoffed at them. It’s called Nordic Walking but I prefer the more literal translation of Stick Walking. That is, walking with sticks.

I myself have scoffed at people doing it. Now, why on earth would you go walking with sticks when you can just walk, or run? Surely it’s just an old person’s sport for people that need help walking?

That was until I tried it.

Nordic walking Austria
I’m definitely a fan

It’s becoming very big in Europe – everybody’s doing it. So when Thomas suggested we give it a go, I begrudgingly agreed.

Our standard loop takes us on a scenic, mountainous walk up past the mausoleum affording spectacular views over the town and taking a little under 1.5 hours. Easy, I thought to myself the first time. Within minutes I was sweating and when we started the uphill climb I thought it would never end.

Nordic walking Austria
You can do it in any weather

And even though I was fit, the next day my butt was sore in places I’d never felt before… and my arms! Those sticks actually make it harder but also, more fun. Because you’re constantly propelling yourself forward you can go a lot faster than normal walking and get a great workout. And, except for those really steep uphill parts, you’re not too exhausted to enjoy the views and maintain a conversation.

Checking out the local fauna.
Checking out the local fauna.

I liken it to swimming with flippers. Everyone thinks it’s easier, until they try it and their calves start burning. Sure, it’s faster, but it’s using more muscles… same theory with stick walking.

Although Thomas agrees it’s not traditionally the most manly sport to be seen doing, we both love it. It means we get outside together a few hours every week, even during winter (rugged up with beanie and gloves). Much better than a solitary session on the cross trainer!

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