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We carry the top two brands of Nordic Walking Poles
LEKI Nordic Walking & Trekking Poles (aka Walking Sticks)
Exerstrider Nordic Walking Poles
Healing Hearts Group Tries Out Nordic Walking.
The Healing Hearts started out the first meeting of this season learning about Nordic Walking. Bonnie Dau R.N., who is a certified instructor, presented the walking technique. Group members were instructed on the benefits and use of the poles. The best part was using the poles and actually going for a Nordic Walk.
Nordic Walking was first begun by Finnish cross-country skiers who wanted an effective way to train during the summer months. The technique uses two specially designed poles to work the upper body while walking. Similar to cross-country skiing, the poles are used as an extension of the arms opposing the legs. Utilizing the poles increases the heart rate with little or no increase in the perceived exertion. Nordic Walking can burn 20-40% more calories compared to traditional walking without poles. The best part of Nordic Walking is that almost anybody can do it, anyone from the avid cross-country skier to those that find minimal exercise a challenge.
Bonnie explained how Nordic Walking has added benefits when compared to traditional walking. The poles provide a total body workout. The upper body and core muscles are utilized when pushing with the poles. The poles have the advantage of providing added stability as a few of the Healing Hearts members testified. The joints and back also benefit from the support provided by the poles while walking. Properly performed Nordic Walking also promotes good posture. It helps to have some basic instruction and it’s important for the poles to be the correct size. Most people need a little time to get used to having the poles in their hands but it doesn’t take long and it’s as natural and easy as walking.
Walking with poles not only offers more benefits but it’s also more fun. The group all enjoyed getting outside and stretching their legs as they went for a walk. It’s a social activity and easy for folks to talk with one another as they walk. The group was a sight to see. Thirty-four people out walking with their poles and having fun trying a new activity that was surprisingly simple and enjoyable!
Additional Nordic Walking Information
Exerstrider Nordic Walking Pole Tips
Information for Nordic Walking with LEKI walking poles.
NOTE: You may need to download the latest QuickTime player from QuickTime movies
Nordic walking warm-up (9.3MB / 04:27)
Nordic walking technique (7.4MB / 03:28)
Pole-length adjustment (3.4MB / 01:35)
Wrist-strap adjustment (4.7MB / 02:13
How can you make walking a better overall workout without feeling like you are exerting any more energy? How can you overcome the slouching, neck and shoulder pain manyget from working at desks and computers? In Finland, over 300,000 people have taken up Nordic Walking to give them a good workout and loosen their neck and shoulders.
Nordic Walking began as a summer training exercise for serious "cross country" skiers. Fitness walkers in Europe adopted Nordic Walking as a time-efficient, low-stress, totalbody workout. Nordic Walking’s popularity is growing with walking clubs and certified instructors leading classes across the United States.
Through Nordic Walking you will burn up to 40% more calories, pump up your cardio by increasing oxygen consumption up to 25%, and reduce stress to your knees and lower joints. You’ll reduce heel strike by 26% and get a total body workout that strengthens your upper body and creates resistance to build better bone density.
Nordic Walking uses two specially designed poles to work the upper body while walking. Like cross country skiing, the poles are used by the arms to match each step the person takes.
Better but Easier Cardio Workout: Nordic Walking increases your heart rate without increasing your perceived rate of exertion. You get a better workout without feeling like you are working any harder. While you can get a similar heart rate effect by walking faster, there are many people who do not want to walk faster or cannot walk fast.
Upper Body Workout: Nordic Walking works the arms, shoulders and upper chest and back muscles through a full range of motion, stretching and lengthening those muscles which are often tight. The motion works to overcome the hunching forward that many people adopt while working at desks, computers, reading or watching TV. Many people exhibit stress by tightening their neck and shoulder muscles. Nordic Walking loosens up those knots.
Stability and Posture: On any surface, the poles provide more stability for walkers who have balance, knee, or leg problems. Proper use of the poles and arm motion encourages good posture. People who had given up walking for pleasure find that they can walk comfortably with the poles. For natural trails, the poles provide stability for walkers much like a hiking stick.
Fitness walking the old-fashioned way (without poles) promotes a short stride initiated by a short arm swings. Nordic Walking activates more muscle because of a longer stride. The pole swing is an enhancement of normal opposing arm swing when walking. Range of motion is enhanced and so is posture. The pole tips remain behind to push off. Most of the motion comes from a “long lever” swing from the shoulder. You should feel resistance when the rubber tips make contact with the surface (road or dirt) to propel the body forward with strength and speed!
Nordic Walking has become a major exercise activity since 1997. Today, approximately 500,000 people in Finland enjoy Nordic Walking regularly, and it is spreading in popularity throughout Scandinavia. Enthusiasts look ahead to bringing it to the 30 million fitness walkers in the US, and even more so to those who do not now exercise regularly
Inactivity is a health threat in all industrial nations, even more so as economies move to the information and technology economies. Workers hunched over desks and computers all day develop many problems from stress and inactivity. In Finland, Nordic Walking classes were established throughout the country with recruitment especially of those who were inactive. The classes teach the correct Nordic Walking technique, stretching, and provide a social activity as well. Initial resistance to walking with poles is easily overcome when you are walking with a group.
The technique is a simple enhancement of normal arm swing when walking. The poles remain behind and pointing diagonally backwards at all times.
Keeping the arms relaxed and keeping the poles behind the body are key elements proper technique.
• Get Adjusted: Pole height is directly related to preventing overuse injuries! Adjustable poles accommodate most heights. To measure, place your hands in the straps. The rubber tips should be adjacent to your heels. Stand in good posture and drop the hands forward in the straps to lengthen through the elbows. The wrists should be lower than the elbows.
• Coordinate Your Effort: Nordic walking takes some coordination. It’s called an “opposing arm and leg swing”. It’s the way we’re supposed to walk; only most people have forgotten to involve their upper bodies! Spend the first several minutes, if not several hours simply getting used to walking with poles using your coordination. Hands should be relaxed. The farther your lead hand comes out in front, the more you’ll feel how that tip engages to propel you forward.
• Stand Tall: Postural strength is a primary benefit of Nordic Walking. As you walk, try to keep the bottom of your chin level with the surface. This small skill helps to balance your head weight more appropriately over the rest of your skeleton, allowing you to reap optimal benefits from your Nordic walking experiences!
• Longer Is Better: Fitness benefits are maximized with a long arm technique which inspires a longer gait. If you find yourself bending excessively at the elbows, lighten your grips and lengthen your arms. Movement comes from the shoulders, not the elbows!
• Take Your Time: Changing your stride takes time so remember to have fun, and don’t think too hard!
Walkers have used a variety of techniques and equipment to add an upper body workout to the walk. For instance, race walkers use their arms effectively to give an upper body workout. With correct arm motion, Nordic Walking can relieve neck and shoulder tension while toning upper body muscles.
Nordic Walking Poles add an upper body workout for the deltoids, lats, pecs, triceps and abdominals. By adding the upper body workout, calorie burning is increased up to
40% yet with no increase in how hard the walker feels they are exercising. Nordic Walkers get a "total body" workout without feeling like they are working any harder than just walking.
Relieve Shoulder and Neck Stress:
Using the correct Nordic Walking technique with relaxed shoulders, keeping the poles behind the body and using a full range of motion, the walker also releases stress carried in the shoulders and neck. Taking the arms and shoulders through the full range of motion throughout a 30 minute walk is a great antidote to the slouching many people do over desks and computers.
Exercise experts do not recommend walking with arm weights, which is another popular way to add an upper body workout to a walk. Arm weights put an unnatural stress on joints, especially over the length of a recommended fitness walk of a half hour to two hours.
Walkers can experience similar upper body effects by using correct race walking arm motion. However, that can be difficult to achieve without coaching. Nordic Walking uses poles which loosen the shoulder and neck area, raise the heart rate and tone muscles without additional exertion.
Nordic Walking burns more calories and enhances a fat-burning walking workout by up to 40%. Most walkers will increase their workout by 10-20%
Recent tests were done at the Vuokatti Sports Center in Finland. Participants walked a steady pace on a treadmill with and without Nordic Walking poles. The poles raised participants heart rate by 10 bpm at the same speed. Participants also reported that walking felt easier with the poles than without, yet their heart rates were increased.
Many fitness walkers do not like the feeling of exerting themselves, yet the best health benefits come from a moderate intensity workout rather than an easy workout. Nordic Walking poles raise the heart rate into the moderate intensity zone without the walker feeling like they are working any harder.
Nordic Walking exertion is in the fat-burning zone. Researchers at Vuokatti showed how much fat vs. carbohydrate burning was done with and without poles. More fat-burning when using the poles was most evident with those who use the correct pole technique.
Adopting a fast walking technique or race walking is a great way to pump up your walking workout. But Nordic Walking poles are an alternative for those who have difficulty walking faster or do not like to walk faster. By using the Nordic Walking poles at your usual walking speed, you increase your workout without going faster. This is also a good alternative for those whose walking partners cannot go faster.
Military personnel in Finland have been using walking poles during their summer walking and running workouts for decades. They are also favored in training and racing by countless ultra-runners and adventure racers. Several varieties of walking poles are on the market for use in two-pole walking techniques. There are differences.
A lightweight, sturdy pole of the correct length with an ergonomic grip is ideal.
LEKI Nordic Walking Poles (aka walking sticks) are slightly modified versions of our world-famous trekking poles. All poles feature a narrow profile "cross country"-style grip with the Adjustable/Releasable Trigger Strap. Shafts are composed of expedition-grade aluminum. All poles feature Carbide Tips, removable Rubber Fitness Walking Tips and Baskets.
LEKI is pronounced, “Lake-ee”. LE is the first two letters of the owner’s last name, Klaus Lenhart, and KI is from the location of the company, Kirchheim/Teck, Germany. This information will help you win trivia contests; we suggest you donate your winnings to your favorite Outdoor Industry Association non-profit agency.
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