Skip to Content
TT + -
← Back to News & Blog

Enjoying Nature With Nordic Walking

A group of friends hikes with walking poles

Walking is an easy way to get a workout while spending time in nature. But what happens when you want to go another mile, but your joints hurt? Nordic walking takes pressure off of your back, hips, and knees, allowing you to feel lighter on your feet and make walking easier

Unlike regular walking, Nordic walking uses specially designed poles that get the whole body involved in the action. The result? You can walk further and maybe even faster while feeling it less on your joints.

Here’s what the Arthritis Foundation has to say on the topic. “The poles used in Nordic walking help with balance and stability and can make walking easier while still providing a great workout.”That makes Nordic walking an ideal senior exercise. Let’s take a quick look at how this all started before diving into what you’ll need to get going.

A Brief History of This Nordic Exercise

Scandinavian hikers have long used poles to help navigate the fjords and mountains of their native terrain. 

In 1996, a Finnish man named Tuomo Jantunen recognized that walking with poles was a concept that could be improved. So he enlisted the help of a local company called Excel and began developing the perfect walking poles. After more than two dozen prototypes, Jantunen and his team released the first Nordic walking poles in 1997 — they’ve been gaining ground ever since. 

A Primer on Poles

Nordic walking poles are shorter than ordinary ski poles and have feet with a forward angle. They also have straps that allow for a more relaxed grip and usually come with rubber attachments for walking on sidewalks or asphalt paths.   

While these poles start at about $20 and can be as expensive as $200, $50 is generally considered a good starting point for quality poles, which come in one-piece and adjustable models that can be easily stashed in a backpack or suitcase.

Most Nordic walking poles are made of either aluminum or carbon fiber. The aluminum version is heavier and more rigid, which means they have less give and more vibration is felt in the upper body. Carbon fiber poles are a bit more expensive but lighter and more flexible, therefore, more comfortable for some.

The Benefits of Nordic Walking for Seniors

Nordic walking is quickly becoming known as one of the best senior exercises for two primary reasons: It enables those with joint or balance issues to feel more supported and walk further. Additionally, Nordic walking offers a full-body workout because it engages the core and gets your arms in on the action.

“When you walk without poles, you activate muscles below the waist. When you add Nordic poles, you activate all of the muscles of the upper body as well,” explained cardiologist Aaron Baggish in an article for Harvard Health Publishing. “You’re engaging 80% to 90% of your muscles, as opposed to 50%, providing a substantial calorie-burning benefit.”

But the benefits are more than just physical. Spending time in nature is well established as a way to simply feel better and enjoy life more.

According to this 2019 study, people who spend at least 120 minutes a week in nature report a “significantly greater” sense of well-being than those who don’t have contact. Benefits peaked between 200 and 300 minutes a week with no further gain after that. That means that just four 30-minute walks a week is enough to boost your well-being — and Nordic walking can help you reach that goal even if joint issues have slowed you down in the past.  

Enjoying Nature at Meadow Lakes

Meadow Lakes is an active senior living community set on 103 tree-filled acres in East Windsor, New Jersey. You’ll find wooded walking trails, sparkling lakes, two swimming pools (one indoor and one out), and even an accredited arboretum on our campus – perfect for Nordic walking. Contact us today to schedule a visit and take it all in yourself. Just remember to bring your walking poles if you plan on hitting the trails to explore.  


Explore our resources.

Explore a wealth of information about Meadow Lakes.

meadow lakes exterior photo at sunset

Let’s connect.

If you have questions or comments about Meadow Lakes, we’re here to help.

  • *Required Information

    By submitting this form you are agreeing to receive emails about events, offers and news.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Don't worry! We won't share your info.
view our privacy policy