Nordic Walking - Your Brain And Cognitive Health

Nordic Walking – Your Brain And Cognitive Health

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I am a Nordic Walking fan. It is not simply that the poles give you a better workout, but now there are added benefits to how Nordic walking can help you.

The Nordic walking poles don’t merely add an extra dimension to the physical exercise; new research now indicates they can also boost your brain activity. One key reason for this cognitive benefit is tied to the unique movement patterns involved in Nordic walking and how you walk while squeezing your right and left hand with the Nordic walking pole. Read on as we explore one of the reasons.

Table of Contents

Nordic Walking And Its Impact On Brain And Cognitive Health

Walking is often recommended as a simple yet effective form of exercise that benefits not just the body but also the mind. While regular walking is beneficial, Nordic walking takes the whole experience to a new level.

Nordic walking is known primarily for its efficacy in working out your arms, legs, waist, and butt. Did you know that It also exercises your brain?

The Art Of Nordic Walking: More Than Just A Physical Exercise

Before delving into the cerebral benefits, let’s briefly define Nordic walking. It’s an upgrade on regular walking, involving poles similar to ski poles. You actively use these poles to push off the ground, engaging more muscles than regular walking and turning your daily walk into a full-body workout.

That is also why walking gives you a more efficient workout than just regular walking. That’s good for your muscles, but what about your brain?

Nordic Walking The Hand Grip And Brain Activity: The Science

Research suggests that the squeezing action, specifically the unilateral squeezing of your left and right hand, stimulates brain activity in the opposite hemisphere of your brain. This action can improve cognitive functions like memory, memory recall, and creativity.

In these studies, participants were typically asked to squeeze a ball, and the impact on their brain activity was observed.

Benefits of Nordic Walking on our Brain And Cognitive Health

With Nordic walking, you perform the same action when you grip and release the pole handle. This seemingly simple movement can activate your brain, giving you a physical and mental workout.

Here’s how this simple action of squeezing your hands can also help your brain:

Memory Enhancement

Memory is critical for nearly every aspect of daily life. The bilateral coordination involved in Nordic walking—moving opposite arms and legs in a coordinated manner—requires mental alertness and memory usage.

Couple this with the hand-grip action, and you have a compelling case for memory enhancement.

Creativity Boost

Creativity often requires ‘thinking outside the box,’ requiring different areas of your brain to work in tandem. The bilateral activity of Nordic walking might help stimulate these regions, facilitating more creative thought processes.

Improved Focus And Attention

Engaging in an activity that requires coordination can improve your focus and attention span. Gripping the pole can help maintain this heightened alertness, contributing to better cognitive health.

The Neurological Angle: More Than Just Empirical Evidence

Beyond these cognitive benefits, empirical evidence suggests that Nordic walking can assist people with neurological conditions such as strokes and Parkinson’s disease. While more in-depth research needs to be conducted, the initial findings are promising.

The Benefits of Nordic Walking

Stroke Rehabilitation

For stroke survivors, physical activity is crucial for recovery. Nordic walking, which promotes arm-leg coordination and engages both brain hemispheres, could accelerate rehabilitation.

Parkinson’s Disease

For those suffering from Parkinson’s, engaging in an exercise that stimulates both the body and mind can be particularly beneficial. Nordic walking requires balance, coordination, and mental alertness, all of which can contribute to a healthier neurological state.

Other Health Benefits of Pole Gripping

Besides the incredible impact on cognitive health, the grip-and-release action of Nordic walking also offers other health benefits:

Improved Circulation

The squeezing action can improve blood circulation. Many Nordic walkers no longer experience numb fingers during winter, a minor but significant perk.

Stress Relief

Have you ever heard of stress balls? Well, your Nordic walking pole can serve a similar purpose. The act of gripping and releasing can be surprisingly therapeutic, offering a simple but effective method for stress relief.

Future Directions In Research Needed With Nordic Walking

While initial studies and empirical data offer a promising outlook on the cognitive and neurological benefits of Nordic walking, more needs to be done. Rigorous clinical trials can help provide more conclusive evidence, potentially leading to Nordic walking becoming a part of medical therapy for various neurological conditions.

Don’t Forget The Active Hands And Nordic Walking

Next time you’re out Nordic walking, remember (and you probably will, given the memory boost) that it’s not just about physical fitness. Your active hands also make you more alert, focused, and creative.

Meaning of Nordic Walking

So go ahead, grip that pole, and take a step, not just for your body but also for your brain.

Nordic walking could be more than just a full-body workout; it could be a full-brain workout. It’s high time we consider Nordic walking not just as a fitness trend but as a holistic approach to well-being that includes significant cognitive and neurological benefits.

But no matter what the science says, one thing is for sure: walking is good for you, but even Nordic Walking is better for you as the simple action of adding the poles to the walking has many known added benefits that there is no reason now to do Nordic Walking vs regular walking.

Happy walking and thinking!

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