Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Nordic Walking & Osteoporosis

October 20th was World Osteoporosis Day and this got me thinking. I believe that Nordic Walking poles have a role to play when it comes to the prevention of both Osteoporosis and the Osteoporotic Fracture.

Osteoporosis is a disease which affects many older people particularly women,in which bone density and bone quality are reduced. This can lead to osteoporotic fracture eg in the spine, hip, wrist, upper arm and shoulder.

Unfortunately many people are unaware that they have Osteoporosis until it's too late. The first symptom they experience is a bone fracture. Medical experts agree that exercise plays a vital role in maintaining bone health. This is because bones respond when they are stressed eg when they are forced to bear more weight than they are used to.

Exercise also helps to maintain muscle strength, agility, mobility, flexibility, movement quality and confidence. The result of all this is that quality of life can be maintained for longer and the risk of falling, which can lead to osteoporotic bone fracture is reduced.

Ordinary Walking has for a long time been recommended as a good form of 'bone loading' exercise for the spine and hip but what about Nordic Walking ? Well, logic suggests to me that if enough force is applied during the Nordic Walking polling action (eg you push hard enough) this will result in 'extra stress' being placed on the bones in the wrist, and upper arm and shoulder, which can only have a positive effect in terms of osteoporosis prevention in those areas.

It is the muscle tendons pulling on the bone that build bone strength.So the harder you push during the polling action the harder the muscle works (contracts). The harder the muscle contracts the harder the tendon pulls on the bone. The harder the tendon pulls on the bone the better it is for developing or maintaining bone strength.

Of course, Nordic Walking Poles are also the ideal equipment for people who experience balance instability (so much better than a single walking stick). The increased stability and improved postural position gives added confidence to the user, which reduces the likelyhood of them falling and therefore experiencing an osteoporotic fracture.

We promote Nordic Walking as a total body exercise program but could it also be the best single form of exercise for osteoporosis prevention too ?

I would welcome any feedback anyone is willing to give.

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