Written by Julie Taylor
Nordic Walking Poles for fitness and perfect exercise
– especially to help rebuilding after trauma
What’s one part walking, one part cross-country skiing and one of the new hottest ways to blast a slew of calories? And on top of that it’s perfect for those whose balance is slightly ‘off’… The walking poles give more support than a traditional walking stick and yet they are perfectly ‘ordinary’.
It’s Nordic walking, a popular fitness activity in Europe that’s quickly gaining momentum this side of the Atlantic. The whole-body walking workout involves using two ski-like pole to propel yourself along rural roads, urban pavement and nature trails.
Click to order some first class quality poles at a big saving from Amazon – who I found to be one of best and most trustworthy outfits on the web with great customer service. Even with the crazy sales at the moment I think you’ll find these are the best value and quality around. If you are ReBuilding after a physical trauma it may well be best to get some training advice from your physiotherapist with a good clear book on Nordic walking. There are also some good DVDs – although I found that a bit of an unneccessary luxury!
Less jarring on joints than running, Nordic walking targets almost every muscle in your body; your arms, shoulders and back in particular, a ski and Nordic walking instructor in Whistler, B.C. tells us. “I totally reshaped my upper body and gained better mobility in my spine after I started Nordic walking,” she says.
Its calorie-zapping potential also outpaces regular walking. It burns about 20 per cent more calories than strolling sans poles, and-here’s the best part-it doesn’t feel more strenuous.
Before taking the plunge, a little instruction might be a good idea; search for a trainer online or at a local rec centre. Be prepared to pay $10 to $60 for a class or private session. As for the poles, they sell for $70 to $200 at sporting-goods stores. Then hit the slopes-er, streets.
- Shoulders Do a posture check to ensure proper form, take efficient strides and ultimately reduce injury. “Hold you shoulders back and down, tummy tight, and chin off your chest,” a Vancouver-based master instructor for the International Nordic Walking Association advises.
- Elbows If poles are at the right height for you, you’ll be able to bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle from your body while holding the hand grips. But when you walk, plant the poles at a 45-degree angle behind you, then swing your arms without bending your elbows, pushing yourself forward.
- Poles Adjust your poles so they’re 60 to 70 per cent of your height.
- Shoes While you can buy shoes designed specifically for Nordic walking, any supportive walking or running shoe will do.