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Nordic walking anyone?

Please excuse me if this has already posted- I didn't see it after I'd written it so thought 🤔maybe I've not pressed the right buttons😁

I read this article this morning and thought I might look into trying it.

3 Reasons to Try Walking Poles — and How to Do it Right

BY JODI HELMER JANUARY 6, 2018 1 COMMENT

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3 Reasons to Try Walking Poles — and How to Do it Right

You expect to see cross-country skiers using poles while gliding along wooded trails and hikers often use poles to navigate tough terrain but it’s less common to incorporate poles into a walking workout. Malin Svensson, fitness expert and president of Nordic Body, Inc., cites the “dork factor” as the reason walking with poles — called Nordic walking — hasn’t caught on in the United States.

“A lot of people shy away from it because they think, ‘I’m not walking with poles; I’ll look ridiculous,” she says. “Once you try Nordic walking, all the feelings of silliness go out the window.”

As its name suggests, Nordic walking was popularized in Nordic countries where skiing is a popular pastime. Research shows that incorporating poles into your walking workout offers several advantages over a conventional walking program.

Here are three reasons to try Nordic walking:

1. EASE CHRONIC PAIN

A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation studied 91 adults with chronic pain and found that a 12-week Nordic walking program helped ease pain in their low backs, hips and knees.

Svensson says the poles help distribute body weight, easing the stress on the lower body.

Walking with poles also engages the upper body, including the arms, shoulders, chest and stomach. Strengthening those muscles helps improve posture, lessening the strain on the hips, knees and low back, according to the study.

2. IMPROVE BALANCE

Downhill skiers and hikers use poles to improve their balance on uneven terrain. Even on a flat surface like a sidewalk, walking poles can provide essential stability to those who struggle with balance issues due to medical conditions or injuries.

One study found that Nordic walking led to significant improvements in balance and functional mobility among older adults.

“Those with mobility challenges find that the poles can provide additional support, allowing them to walk longer, faster and safer,” notes Wendy Harmening, NASM-certified personal trainer and founder of Chicago-based North Shore Nordic Walking.

Harmening also notes that walking poles provide additional stability when walking on snow, ice or other irregular terrain by reducing the risk of falls.

3. BURN MORE CALORIES

Engaging your arms during walking workouts amps up your energy expenditure, burning more calories.

Research shows that Nordic walking burns up to 20% more calories than regular walking and a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that using poles to navigate hills helped burn up to 67 percent more calories.

The intense calorie burn is the reason Harmening recommends Nordic walking to walkers who want to take their walking workouts to the next level.

READ MORE > 5 SIGNS YOUR WALKING WORKOUT IS TOO EASY

GETTING STARTED WITH NORDIC WALKING

Before grabbing a pair of poles and hitting the sidewalk, follow these essential tips for getting the most from a Nordic walking workout:

Pick the right poles: Just as a racing bike isn’t right for a mountain bike course, trekking poles are not meant for Nordic walking. Look for lightweight walking poles and choose either adjustable poles or a fixed-length design appropriate for your height.

Learn the proper technique: Svensson compares correct Nordic walking technique to cross-country skiing without the snow, noting, “You use the poles to propel your body forward.” The correct form requires walking at a comfortable pace, arms almost straight and swinging from the shoulders; plant the tip of the pole toward the ground at an angle and push down and back while taking a step forward.

Take a class: Learning from a pro improves your skill. “An instructor can coach you and critique your technique can help you make corrections and make sure you’re getting the safest and most effective use out of walking with poles,” Harmening says

6 Replies
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Really interesting- thank you for posting!

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Sounds good

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I started Nordic walking two years into living with RA. It really helped me walking further than I could before, even though I expended more energy. I'd highly recommend joining a group with an instructor so you get the most out of it. Technique is important but it doesn't take long to learn. I still use the poles when walking cross country, particularly when it's muddy going uphill. Give it a go, you have nothing to lose. I've seen second hand poles for little money. All the best and let us know how you get on.

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Our local NRAS group in Gwent had someone to come and talk to us about Nordic walking when you have arthritis. She herself had lupus so really knew what she was talking about. She demonstrated the technique and the various types of poles. She showed how the weight is more evenly distributed. She also invited us to her taster sessions in the park and to join her regular mild exercise routes in the park. A couple of our group went and really found it useful.

Unfortunately, I live at the other end of the area - I rang the local Nordic walk instructor but he does Nordic walking up the mountains around and didn't think that would be suitable for me (nor did I!) so I don't have any personal experience. I know that three people in the local 'Walking for Health group' use Nordic walking poles, though, after going on a course.

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I don't do the nordic thing but all i hear even from my doctor is you have to stay active even if it hurts you can't just sit there. I was also told I can never work full time anymore and working part of the day takes it out of me. My job is very physical and it helps with the pain if I am hurting some when I first go in. I also noticed that when I go to off with my grand daughter on the weekend I hurt less then when I stay at home. But she likes to go to amusement parks which is a lot of walking, I just take it slower if I am not feeling to well that day.

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Sounds like you are living a good balance- well done 😊

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