What is Nordic Walking?
Nordic Walking is a specific fitness technique developed by Nordic Skiers to keep themselves fit in the off-season. It is a complete exercise system that can be used by anyone from the most sedentary to the super-fit. It exercises 95% of muscles in the body and, when done correctly, can burn up to 65% more calories than walking alone.
What equipment do I need?
If you join me on one of the Wolf Run Canine Nordic Walking sessions, all equipment is provided.
The equipment you will use is as follows:
Nordic Walking Poles
These differ from normal hiking poles. The releasable strap and angled “paw” are designed to complement the Nordic Walking technique, enabling maximum push through the pole. The two main suppliers of such poles in the UK are Levi and Gabel.
Harness for your dog
A good harness should be snug fitting and not impede the dog’s movement in any way. We find a cani-cross walking harness to be the best for this activity.
The bungee line attaches you to your dog throughout the activity. It absorbs any shock for both you or your dog. If there is a sudden jolt your bungee line will absorb this.
The length of the line is important here. Too long and you may feel your dog is out of control. Too short and you risk treading on your dog’s back legs. About 2 metres is just about ideal.
The waist belt connects you to your dog. A good quality waist belt is important to support your back if your dog pulls (although my experience is that even the most enthusiastic pullers soon stop once we get going) and to safely secure your dog so you can confidently walk hands free.
What sort of dogs can do it?
Any dog can do Canine Nordic Walking but please do check with your vet if your dog has a medical condition that will affect it’s ability to take part.
Can anyone do Nordic Walking?
Nordic Walking is a low impact activity, making it suitable for many people that couldn’t do other types of exercise such as running that puts more stress on the joints.
The “gears” system we use means that you can Nordic Walk within your own limits, choosing to push yourself as little or as much as you want.
Nordic Walking has been shown to be beneficial to a wide range of health conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, bad backs, respiratory issues and Parkinson’s disease.
If in doubt please consult your doctor before embarking on a program.
Is there any special training involved for my dog?
One of the most amazing things about Canine Nordic Walking is the way your dog will tune into you and automatically seems to know if you are turning right or left, slowing down or speeding up. Whilst you are Canine Nordic Walking your dog will be on high alert “listening” for your next move. This means that this is a mental as well as a physical activity for your dog. Indeed, owners have been amazed quite how tired their dog was at the end of a session.
If you wanted to develop this training it is quite easy to do so. For instance, when your dog goes to the right, you simply add a command for this such as “right”. If you use this consistently and praise liberally your dog will soon pick it up.
What are the benefits for me and my dog?
Aside from the health benefits outlined above, you will be doing an activity that will build on the bond between you and your dog and, quite literally, you will be harnessing their desire to work.
I’m sold. How do I sign up?