Nordic walking is one of the best exercises for burning off calories. Some people consider it superior in that regard to jogging because of the upper body involvement, comparing it to swimming.
Estimated ranges of how many more calories it burns compared to normal walking vary, because how much you burn really depends on how well you develop your technique, how much weight your body is currently carrying, and how fast you go. A common estimate though will fall in the 40 to 50% range.((“Thirty minutes of Nordic walking at three miles an hour for an average female would burn 165 calories, increasing to 195 as they develop their technique. Thirty minutes of Nordic walking at roughly four miles an hour will burn between 230 and 275 calories depending on technique.” Stewart, Gill. Quoted in: Venning, Annabel. Nordic Walking could give you shapely arms and a pert derriere (and you don’t need any snow). London: Daily Mail. 7 February 2010. Retrieved March 2014 from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1249000/Nordic-Walking-shapely-arms-pert-derriere-dont-need-snow.html))
The Sparkpeople site have a Nordic walking calorie burner calculator (Note at the bottom different speeds to choose. Link valid as of March 2014).
As odd as it may sound at first blush, the more you weigh the more calories you burn when you exercise because your body has to do more work to move that body mass during the exercising. So people who weigh more than you do are actually working a darn sight harder at their exercising than your skinny butt is.
So that’s part of the reason for various estimates of how many calories Nordic walking burns off: it depends on your speed, your weight, and how long you keep at it.
Nordic Walking and Weight Management
This is a personal opinion, but I’d go a step beyond thinking about “weight loss” and think instead of Nordic walking as a fun weight management tool. I know as a Weight Watchers for Men member that just 80 minutes of brisk Nordic walking during the week entitles me to 4 bonus glasses of wine on the coming weekend. And because the exercise is so easy and convenient to do, it’s easy to fit that time in even just 10 minutes at a time.
So you can use Nordic walking to burn off existing calories when you are in weight loss mode, and to earn “treats” when you are in weight management mode.