Nordic walking is an outdoor activity that originated in Finland. Scandinavian walking became trendy there in the 1930s and was used as a form of training for skiers. Over time, it started to be enjoyed as a sport in its own right, which can be practised in summer and in winter alike. In Chamonix, many visitors now appreciate Nordic walking as a pleasant way to discover the Vallée Blanche. So, what is this sporting activity, exactly? Can everyone partake? We, at Le Morgane Hotel, have decided to find out more. Let us take a deeper look at a trend that’s here to stay.
WHAT IS NORDIC WALKING?
Nordic walking is a form of speed walking. Halfway between hiking and skiing, Nordic walking is a delightful sports activity which involves a pair of walking sticks. You march at a steady pace and use the support provided by the equipment to propel your body forward.
Yet, Scandinavian walking goes well beyond a mere sports practice. It instead serves as a means of establishing a different relationship with your body. You learn to become fully aware of your own movements and more sensitive to external and internal stimuli. Another benefit of Nordic walking is that it invites you to discover unique landscapes. Out in the open air, you can allow the beauty of nature to work its magic and make you feel wonderful. Yes, Nordic walking boasts many advantages both for the body and for the mind.
WHO CAN PRACTISE NORDIC WALKING?
Great news! Anyone can partake in the practice of Nordic walking. It can be enjoyed during every season and is accessible to all. For more seasoned practitioners who are used to winter sports (snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, etc.), it can serve as basic training to ease back into it.
Scandinavian walking in Chamonix is therefore the perfect activity to take part in as a family or with friends, whether you are a complete beginner or practise a variety of sports activities. You will (re)discover the pleasure of walking outside, surrounded by nature and by people you love. As for those who prefer a solo escapade, there is nothing quite like an invigorating hike all by yourself to cultivate that symbiotic relationship between your body and the wonders of nature!
A small piece of advice: Do not practise Nordic walking in Chamonix (or anywhere else) alone unless you have a good deal of knowledge about the mountain. In winter especially, the mountain can be unpredictable. Fortunately, mountain professionals are there to accompany you all year round!
Good to know: Though Nordic walking can be enjoyed by all, those who present a risky profile should make sure not to strain themselves. This is why the practice should be adjusted for anyone who suffers from arthritis, tendonitis, or any form of rheumatism. It is also advised not to practise Nordic walking if you suffer from severe arthrosis.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT?
Nordic walking does not require much equipment:
- Two walking sticks or hiking sticks: these are made from a fiberglass and carbon alloy and are particularly lightweight. They are also designed to absorb shocks effectively and to support the weight of your body through every stride. The wrist straps located around the handles of the sticks ensure a perfect grip for ultimate comfort.
- A pair of good quality walking shoes: preferably waterproof, so you don’t end up with soaked feet in the middle of winter!
Our tip: To find the right size for your walking sticks, simply subtract 50 cm (19.6 inches) from your height. If you are unsure about anything, never hesitate to ask a professional for advice when purchasing or renting your equipment from a shop!
HOW LONG SHOULD A SESSION LAST?
It all depends on your level of fitness. In theory, a session of Nordic walking tends to take between 1h30 and 2 hours. Be sure to stretch and warm up your muscles prior to heading out. This will help prevent any muscle soreness the next day.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF NORDIC WALKING?
There are many! Practising Nordic walking on a regular basis will help you strengthen your bones and should also improve your blood circulation. This sports activity has a wonderful effect on the entire body which gets toned evenly by this rather comprehensive workout. After several sessions of Nordic walking, you will find that your endurance has progressed, and any difficulty breathing should be alleviated!
Beyond its physical benefits, Nordic walking also has an influence on your psychological well-being. Finding yourself in the middle of nature, far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, is a wonderful approach to soothe away pent-up stress. This practice provides a healthy escape and reconciles body and mind. Are you ready to give it a try as early as next weekend?
Do you wish to find out more about Nordic walking or to discover even more activities in Chamonix? We will be delighted to welcome you to the Morgane Hotel and to chat with you about the best activities you and your family can enjoy on the most memorable stay in Chamonix.