How does Nordic Walking benefit those with Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Group exercise is beneficial because exercising in a group is much more fun than on your own. This has a knock on effect of increased motivation to exercise, an opportunity to socialise at the same time, in turn boosts mood, mental well-being and lessens the feeling of isolation and loneliness, whilst physically exercising the whole body.
Making a commitment to meet up with a group increases the chances of maintenance. Friendships are formed and exercise becomes something to look forward to, rather than just a ‘must do’.
AS clients have told me that they struggle to walk for any length of time before they become tired, experience pain and begin to lean forward more. With the poles posture is greatly improved and clients are able to walk for longer, and in more comfort, standing up taller and straighter than they otherwise would normally.
Using Nordic Poles with the correct technique means that you have to stand up straighter. You can maximise how straight you can stand by using the poles to strengthen the back muscles. Furthermore, this helps to stretch the chest muscles which can become shortened due to prolonged stooping. The amount of time you use the poles can be increased gradually. After discovering Nordic Walking, AS clients have stated that they are able to stand straighter and for longer than they used to be able to.
Having two lightweight poles offers balance and stability with every step, it also aids in bearing some of the body’s weight load through the arms. This takes pressure off of the back, hips, knees and ankles. This increase confidence in AS clients to walk further and in areas they may usually avoid such as uneven ground and the countryside. Walking leads to increase muscle tone, which helps to give stability to the joints and improved cardiovascular fitness.
Nordic Walking increases your range of movements. It makes you take a longer stride than ordinary walking, but feels easier due to the support the poles give. A longer walking stride means greater strength can be developed in gluteal muscles; core stability and abdominal muscles are also engaged and worked.
Nordic walking can be done anywhere and anytime. Even 10 minutes of Nordic walking can make you feel better and it is now widely recognized as hugely beneficial exercise for all.
The act of Nordic Walking stretches the body but other exercises can easily be incorporated into the walk too. Such as the use of physio elastic bands and dynamic stretching, whilst using the poles for support.
Nordic walking is also suitable to help improve the health and fitness of those with arthritis, joint replacements (knees and hips), neck and shoulder problems, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, COPD, Parkinson’s, MS, breast cancer recovery and general fitness.
Anyone that can walk can do it. Any age. Any ability.
How does Nordic Walking reduce pain?
James O-Brien, aged 45 (symptoms of AS since the age of 18 years)
“One day at the Yeovil NASS group we tried Nordic Walking. As strange as it may seem using the sticks and techniques Helen showed us, I found this amazing relief in my posture and hips. Basically all of my pain had gone whilst walking in this fashion. Also, you felt the stretches and effects of the exercises and all of this walking in the great outdoors. All the mundane sitting on the end of the bed and stretching in solitude was no more.”
Poles Ahead PT
Gillingham, Shaftesbury and surrounding areas.
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