Nordic Walking Poles
Kick your fitness walks into high gear
Walking on a treadmill is a great form of exercise - but Nordic walking is even better. With the simple addition of handheld poles you get the same low-impact cardio benefits, but since you’re also involving your upper body you get a lot more of them. And the poles are so easy to use you won’t even feel like you’re working harder.
What is Nordic walking?
Nordic walking came about after some smart ski coaches observed the positive effects walking with ski poles in the offseason had of their athletes’ fitness levels. It was also observed that hikers with bad knees could alleviate pain by using ski poles because the poles removed some weight from the hip, knee and ankle joints.
Why Nordic walking poles are good
- Bigger calorie burn - Studies have shown ski pole walkers burn up to 40 percent more calories. Do you really need any more convincing?
- More muscles used - Arms, legs, even abs will be working when you use Nordic waling poles.
- Cheap - You don’t have to buy a thousand dollar machine that will take up your entire living room to get a great workout. Nordic ski poles start at $40.
- Increased stability - The poles can help people stand taller and more correctly, as well as assisting in climbing and descending hills.
What to look for in Nordic walking poles
- Ergonomic hand grips - Shapeless plastic handles just won’t cut it when you’re a serious walker. Look for ergonomic handles made from cork or rubber.
- All-weather tips - If you plan to be walking in all weather conditions, or on pavement, grass and dirt, you’ll need pole tips that are made for different surfaces and situations. Rubber tips work best for hard surfaces and metal tips for trails, sand and ice.
- Straps - Just like skiers need straps to keep their ski poles from flying away, Nordic walkers can benefit from special hand straps (the real ones are almost like fingerless gloves) that allow the poles to be gripped more loosely.
- Height - Pick poles that are about 70 percent of your height, which is shorter than what’s recommended for cross country skiing.
- One or two piece - One piece poles are more durable and lighter, but it can be easier to transport and store two-piece styles.
The bottom line
If you don’t mind looking a little odd, and let’s face it, people marching down the sidewalk with ski poles and no skis draw some attention, Nordic walking poles are simply one of the best and easiest low impact cardio exercises you can do. So do it already.