Nordic walking, also known as people walking with skiing like sticks, is a growing exercise trend. . . at least in certain parts of Europe.

Nordic walking evangelists include Olympic gold medallist alpine ski racer, Lindsey Vonn. Who is able to still look attractive while performing the correct Nordic Walking technique (perhaps it should rather be called Nordic Skipping).

Some Nordic Walking instructional videos have attracted 300 000 viewers on YouTube, making them more popular than most indie rock bands, but the exercise still lags behind the barefoot running or prancercise craze.

That said, the exercise has some scientifically tested health benefits. A study, presented to the Heart Failure Congress found that Nordic Walking increases VO2 levels by 14,7%, heart rate by 15 beats a minute. The study, which was trying to determine the effectiveness of Nordic Walking as a safe exercise for heart failure survivors, found that “Nordic walking enables heart failure patients to exercise more intensely than walking without poles.”

In this regard, the exercise is a similar to Thai Chi. The relatively un-strenuous movements make it feasible to elderly people and the participants will always look a tad strange while doing it.

If you’d like to get into the new trend, a pair of Nordic walking sticks from will set your bank account back R 590. The damage to your ego is more permanent.

photo credit: CT Arzneimittel GmbH via photopin cc