Scandinavian Finnish walking with sticks

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 16.10.2021

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Sports today for many turned into a way of life. Everyone realizes the need for movement and muscular activity in different ways: someone prefers morning or evening runs in the park, someone rides a bicycle or swims in the pool. Anyone can choose a sport, regardless of age and sex. There are also some kinds of sports, which little is known about, for example, Finnish walking is a specific type of sports exercises that is gaining more and more admirers in many countries of the world.

Finnish walking as a sport arose in the Scandinavian countries - sometimes it is called "Scandinavian walking". Similar activities - walking with sticks, or imitating skiing, - were practiced by professional skiers to support physical activity during the warm season. However, a little later, Finnish walking began to be used in medicine - for the rehabilitation of patients with injuries and diseases of the cardiovascular system.

The benefits and harm of Finnish walking

Finnish walking can be confidently called a universal kind of sport, since such classes are suitable both for people professionally engaged in sports, and for those who do not even have minimal physical training. Therefore, the use of Finnish walking as a method of rehabilitation is fully justified.

The positive effects from Finnish walking are really numerous:

  1. Blood is saturated with oxygen, the processes of hematopoiesis are improved, blood circulation is accelerated.
  2. Normal mental processes, there is resistance to stress.
  3. The body becomes hardier.
  4. Stabilized vascular tone, improving capillary circulation.
  5. Blood pressure indicators come to normal by strengthening the walls of blood vessels.
  6. Myocardium is strengthened, cardiac activity improves.
  7. Coordination mechanisms are stabilized, thanks to the well-coordinated work of the limbs.
  8. The pulmonary volume rises, the function of the respiratory system improves.
  9. Muscles of the back are strengthened, spasms are eliminated.
  10. Excess weight - in particular, the most dangerous, the so-called visceral fat - goes away.

The effectiveness of Finnish walking for health is undeniable. In this case, there is no injury to the muscles, joints and spine - due to the lack of sudden movements. The weight of the trunk is partially distributed with an emphasis on the sticks, the load on the ligaments and joints of the legs decreases. Thanks to this, Finnish walking can be practiced by patients with inflammation and injuries of the ankle, knees and hip part.

Harm from the practice of Finnish walking can occur only in two cases:

  • If the athlete incorrectly picked up sticks for training;
  • if the athlete is wrongly engaged - for example, performs too sudden movements, or connects additional exercises and workload.

In these cases, injuries may occur: in order to prevent this from happening, it is necessary to start the training with the support of a specially trained coach, who will talk in detail about the correct technique of Finnish walking. At least the first time to do Finnish walking is better in the group. This will allow you to see your mistakes and shortcomings, fix them, in order to continue to deal with it correctly. In addition, communication with like-minded people is more motivating for success!

Indications for prescription

If Finnish walking is used as a rehabilitation method - for example, as part of exercise therapy, then for this there must be certain indications and contraindications. Finnish walking is often used to restore health in patients with diseases of the cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system, nervous and respiratory system.

Medical indications for regular employment by Finnish walking are:

  • the recovery period after traumas of the spine, ligamentous apparatus or joints;
  • osteochondrosis, the initial stages of the formation of herniated intervertebral discs (regardless of localization);
  • degenerative and inflammatory diseases of the joints;
  • hypertension, heart failure;
  • chronic forms of pulmonary obstruction, asthmatic bronchitis in remission;
  • metabolic disorders, obesity of any degree;
  • chronic depressive conditions, sleep disorders, neuroses;
  • support the body during pregnancy.

With sleep disorders, depressions and neuroses, it is better to practice Finnish walking in the morning or in the morning.

Finnish walking with sticks: contraindications

Like any other sport, Finnish walking has a number of contraindications, which are mainly temporary. Even before you start the first workout, you need to carefully assess your health. Contraindications to Finnish walking can be:

  • acute stages of chronic pathologies;
  • heart rhythm disorders;
  • fever, acute periods of viral and bacterial infections;
  • postoperative period;
  • pain of unexplained etiology, internal bleeding;
  • decompensated states.

With any doubt about the advisability of such a load on the body should consult a medical specialist. It is advisable to do this before the equipment for Finnish walking is purchased.

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The rules of Finnish walking

In general terms, we will tell you how to "walk" properly while doing Finnish walking. Of course, we all can walk, but there are some points that I would like to clarify.

  • Before you take the first steps in Finnish walking, you need to check your posture: the back should be straight, shoulders - straightened, and the upper half of the trunk is tilted forward.
  • We begin to move, alternating steps with simultaneous movement of hands: the right leg - the left arm, the left leg - the right arm, etc. The foot becomes on the surface, rolling from the heel to the toe. The stick is "landing" next to the support foot.
  • We control the movements of the limbs - they must be rhythmic: do not pull the sticks behind you, imagine that each time you immerse them in the snow. There must be an emphasis on sticks.
  • Breathing with Finnish walking should also be correct: breathe in with the nose, exhale with the mouth. The higher the intensity of movement, the deeper the breathing should be.
  • Before and after training, you must perform traditional exercises for muscle stretching.

The rest of the advice of an individual character will be given to you by the coach of Finnish walking: he will assess your efforts from outside and point out possible mistakes.

Finnish Nordic Walking: Possible Mistakes

Training on Finnish walking, at first glance, seems quite simple. However, newcomers repeatedly make the same mistakes, which in the future can lead to an incorrect distribution of forces. What kind of errors are we talking about?

  1. The step amplitude is too wide.

To increase the speed of movement, many are trying to make an extremely wide step - this is wrong. In the end, the load on the tibial muscle increases, which leads to excessive tension.

  1. Incorrect setting of hands.

Do not stretch your hands too much: your elbows should not press against your body, your hands should move freely. Otherwise, the work of the upper limbs will not be dynamic.

  1. Incorrect positioning of the foot.

The foot should not be put, but rolled from heel to toe.

  1. Incorrectly selected equipment for the Finnish walk.

If the sticks are chosen illiterately, and clothes or shoes cause a feeling of discomfort, then in such conditions it is very difficult to adhere to the necessary training techniques.

How to choose Finnish walking poles?

There are two types of sticks for Finnish walking:

  • Adjustable sticks-telescopes, consisting of retractable parts;
  • stick-monoliths, the length of which is strictly fixed.

Telescope sticks are convenient to store and transport for long distances, however such devices often break down, since they have many weak points.

Monolithic sticks for Finnish walking are chosen strictly according to the growth of the athlete - they are more difficult to store and transport, but they are much stronger and more durable.

Material for making sticks can be aluminum, carbon or a composite alloy. The handle is equipped with a special strap-holder, so that the athlete firmly holds the element in his hand. Important: the belt should be of high quality, otherwise rubbing and trauma of the skin on the hands is possible.

The fixing spike on the sticks for Finnish walking can be stationary or removable. Since it has the property of quickly erasing, it is better if it can be replaced over time.

And the last, very important information: how correctly to calculate the length of the accessory?

  • If you practice a low pace of Finnish walking, then choose a stick with this formula: increase the athlete multiply by 0.66. For example, if your height is 170 cm - multiply by 0.66 = 112.2 cm. Therefore, you should buy sticks 112 cm long (110 cm allowed).
  • If you are an adherent of medium-intensity movement, then the index of your growth must be multiplied by 0.68. Thus, with an increase of 170 cm, the length of the stick for Finnish walking should correspond to 115.6 cm (115 cm).
  • With the active pace of training on Finnish walking, the growth rate is multiplied by 0.7. It turns out that with a height of 170 cm, sticks should have a length of 170 times 0.7 = 119 cm (120 cm).


Doctors unanimously agree that Finnish walking is good for health. It is assumed that such training is suitable even for people with disabilities, for whom the usual physical loads are beyond the control or contraindicated.

Specialists focus on the fact that during the Finnish walk a person uses muscles such as the shoulder, scapula, thoracic, deltoid, and almost all the muscles of the back, abdomen and extremities.

For those who want to get rid of extra pounds, there is the following information: Finnish walking helps "burn" an average of 600 kilocalories per hour. If you give lessons at least three hours a week, then with proper nutrition, weight loss is guaranteed.

According to experts, training is desirable to be done in intervals: first walk slowly, up to 5 km per hour, and after 20 minutes, increase the speed to 7 km per hour. After 10 minutes, lower the speed again and go for 20 minutes, and so on. With regular classes, you can get rid of 15-20 kg for 5-6 months.

Many people point out that systematic studies of Finnish walking improve the mood and give a positive attitude for the whole day. It is important to listen to your body and support it. Thanks to this kind of sport, like Finnish walking, you can significantly improve your own health and well-being.

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