Cross Training Burns Calories While Building Muscle

Cross Training Burns Calories While Building Muscle

To answer the question of What is cross training for can be answered as simple as:  doing something other than what you have been doing all along.

In other words, if you are a swimmer, runner, weight lifter, or even a pole walker or trekker, it means that you have a different type of workout other than what you normally do.


During your workouts you are exerting the same muscles or muscle groups over and over.  This is considered to be working “a single plane” muscle group.  Constantly using the same muscle groups will eventually lead to injury.

By incorporating cross training you will be using different muscles.  Doing so will strengthen the weaker muscle groups.   As these weaker muscle groups get stronger, you will note improvements in your swimming, running, weight lifting and so on.

Joints and ligaments will be stronger allowing you to be more efficient.

Why not “mix it up”  with a variety of activities?

Getting Started

Stretching to loosen and lengthen muscles is always the best way to start.  You are preparing your body for what is to come.  Warm ups along with your workout routine can be as little as 30 minutes 3 times per week.

However, when you get into the groove of your workout, most people do not want to stop at 30 minutes.  A full sixty minutes is more like it.

Wanting to get started?  There are several way to do so.  One is the TRX Suspension Training Home Kit from Amazon.

The other would be Nordic Walking Poles.    If you are not familiar with Nordic walking poles, click here and find out more.

Using the Nordic Pole For Running

Using Nordic walking poles to run with is definitely not for beginners.  It is accomplished by those who are efficient at both running and walking with the Nordic poles.

At this level of activity it would be considered to be a high impact type exercise.  Using the Nordic poles to run with, you will find that you are being “propelled” forward, allowing you to have a much greater stride length.

When done correctly, the pole tips can act as a type of fulcrum to pivot from.  This in turn, will give you more strength along with that forward propulsion.

This type of high impact strength training can be useful for other activities such as those that have jumping and or, bounding type actions involved.

Tip Action Promotes More Muscle

There are two main ways that strength is attained.   Your upper body will gather more resistance from the pole tips.  The second way is to allow  the tip to remain on the running surface as long as possible.  In this way it creates greater strength by purposely stimulating muscle.

In other words, the longer (time wise) your tips are in contact with the ground, the longer your muscles receive stimulus.  More stimulus translates to more muscle building actions.

Uphill Training

Moving uphill will automatically call for more effort.  You will feel (and are probably correct) that you are moving slower.  However, with more practice, you can see and feel remarkable results very quickly.

Speed, pace along with the correct tempo, you are adding more load to your body, resulting in greater muscle stimulus.

Downhill walking or running is not going to give you as much of the needed muscle stimulus simply because gravity plays a roll in your movements.  It is easier to walk or run downhill than it is to move uphill.

Uphill Trails

Choosing an uphill terrain can be tricky.  How so?  Narrow pathways can be hazardous.  You need freedom of width to place your Nordic poles on either side of your body.  A narrow walking path does not provide the needed width.  Choose wisely.

Why Nordic Walking Poles?

The Nordic company has really set the standard for all other walking poles (sticks) to catch up to. For you to make an informed decision, you need more information as to which pole is right for you and what are the immediate benefits.

Written by :  Tom McDaniel Share this site

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Strength training workout

What Is A Strength training Program?

Strength training should not be injurious to ourselves.  On the other hand, it can, and should be,  very enjoyable…when done right.  So what is a strength training program that can accomplish this?

Listen carefully…it is called…walking!   Yes, it’ that simple.  Now, don’t say something like, ” walking! how in the world can walking be an entire body workout?”  Bear with me here and you’ll see.

What Is A Workout?

It means different things to different people, mostly though it just depends on what you are trying to achieve.  For runners, a good workout is daily running.  Swimmers, it’s swimming.  For weight lifters, it means a good heavy workout at the gym.

On the other hand, if you are new or just wanting to get started, then what I am about to introduce you to is just perfect for you.

Now, don’t get me wrong here.  I’ve done my fair share of weight lifting and in competition with the other guys at the gym in days gone by.  I know what it takes.  It’s becomes a way of life.

However, the entire body workout I’m talking about here is with the use of the Nordic Walking Poles.  When done correctly, not only do you gain strength, cardiovascular, but you also learn how to stand erect (not stoop and others will notice when you do stand up straight) along with an overall sense of well being.

Let’s Get Started

When it comes to complete overall fitness it requires that you pay close attention to what your body is doing.  Putting into practice the things that you have learned.  When learned correctly, your body has what is called “muscle memory” and will give you that flowing walk that is so noticed when using Nordic walking poles.

When walking, don’t forget to keep your feet in good shape with a good pair of walking boots or shoes.  Depending on the terrain you’ll be walking on will determine the type of shoe/boot you will want to have on hand.

The best exercise fitness program type training will gradually move you to you desired outcome.  Though it’s great to be in shape for specific types of sports, it’s even better to just have an overall fitness.

In a regular routine with Nordic poles, you can achieve this goal.  Once this is accomplished, you can be assured that you are ready to take on more varied activities than previously.

The Stride

When beginning your workout, the stride, pace, that is, the distance between each step is very important.  You’ll note that as you get into better and better condition, your pace will naturally lengthen.  So will your speed and long arm.

Uphill and downhill training will develop more muscle and strength.  Additional benefits are power, agility, coordination, balance and having more flexibility in everyday activities and sports.  The Nordic walking poles will help you accomplish each of the above.

Aerobic Fitness Is A Goal

With cardiorespiratory exercise programs, along with strength training, is most of the goal that we are seeking.  It begins with a base plan of building our aerobic ‘wind’ slowly.  Begin slowly, and add speed along with leg stretch out.

With each regular exercise step, we build heart and lung capacity.  Cardiovascular is our ultimate goal.  Strength will come as a side benefit.

Intensity comes next.  The more intense our Nordic walks are, the greater the gains.

What Are Some Of The Immediate Benefits?

Written by: Tom McDaniel Share this button

Images by: urbanpoling

What walking poles can do for you...

What walking poles can do for you…

We hear that statement often :  What walking poles can do for you…is simply amazing.  This rather simple tool can give you zest for life, an overall feeling of health, peace of mind along with being physically fit.  But how?

The Beginning Steps

If you’ve ever golfed or watched the game of golf, you’ll note that much of what is accomplished is through swing-technique.   That is, each stroke by every golfer is similar to each other…but slightly different too, because we are different.

The same can be said about using Nordic Walking Poles.  It is in the technique where we will get the most benefit.

The Break Down

The walking speed in which we begin our pole walking can determine how quickly we develop correct walking techniques.  Usually it’s best to walk slowly at first, being consciously  aware of how we are walking.

We’ll note  several things almost immediately.  Our walking stride will become longer, our back is straighter, chin is parallel to the walking surface, our arms are now being extending outwards as if shaking hands, our cardiovascular will improve almost overnight!

A slower, rhythmical type walking, almost graceful in appearance, can be accomplished within a short learning curve…if we learn the correct way right from the beginning.

Where Do We Begin? … At The Beginning of Course

Using Nordic walking poles is not like taking a stroll along the beach.  We are purposely walking a certain way to accomplish better health, lose weight, develop muscle, or have better breathing techniques.

Follow along as we progress through techniques that are necessary to master.

What To Focus On

Your focus should be on your upper body position.  Nordic poles “force” us to walk more upright, which in turn will develop muscles that keep good posture in our everyday walk.

Getting used to poles, one could spend much time on where the ends of each pole is landing and get distracted from walking correctly.

Concentrate on the long swing of your arms, once you find the correct “spot” for you, the pole tips will automatically find the correct positioning.

Pole rubber tips will give you that little extra push forward as you develop your stride.  Keep your shoulders level, eyes forward, hands relaxed while cupping the walking pole grips.

Release The Grip

Often times new ones to Nordic walking poles, will keep a tight grip on the handle of each pole, as if it were going to slip away from them.  However, with the proper hand strapping, you can release the grip each time you take a step.

That is just one of the proper techniques needed…releasing the grip when it is in the hip location as you walk.

Swing Naturally As You Walk

To start with, a flat surface is ideal.  Be aware of the way you are standing.  Stand as if you are being measured for your height.  Straight and tall but not at attention.

Now for the “beach walk” stroll, you’ll need to be at ease and walk slowly.  Concentrating on you posture, arm stretch out, grip release and so on.

Learn to completely let go of your poles.

Allow them to drag along with you.  Concentrate on that opposite movement of arms and legs working rhythmically with each other.  This will begin to feel  automated when we get it right.

Remember to keep you chin up, looking forward, and keep your balance.  This is the beginning development of proper posture.  Lower back muscle gains and back health will come quickly.

Proper grips

Proper grips are needed for release control

Motor Memory

Up to this point, as we walk or run, our arm movements have been short forward and backward movements to compensate for our balance.

With Nordic walking poles, we will need to learn to extend our arms out in front of us, (shaking hands across a wide table) with very little swing to the back.  In fact, long time Nordic pole walkers do not have hardly any rearward  swing past their hip area.

The forward hand extension should be no higher than about the middle of you stomach of navel area.  Your stride is also something that would lengthen as you progress.

Rotation of hips, slight shoulder rotation, lengthening of stride and arm stretch will give you that synchronized smooth walking skill we are trying to accomplish.

Proper grip, stride length, and rotation of hips are needed.

Written by:  Tom McDaniel Share this site

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Lose Stomach Fat

The Best Way To Lose Stomach Fat

Your own personal health must be in first place in your thinking when you consider the best way to lose stomach fat.  Each person is different, however, there are things that all of us can do to lose those unwanted pounds, especially around the middle.

Short of starving themselves, many choose to go on extreme diets, fads, or buy into commercials dealing with special foods that can be quite costly over a relatively short period of time.

There is an alternative to the above, that once the initial cost is met, it will last you a lifetime.

So…Where Do We Start?

After checking with our doctor to make sure we are OK to start a  “diet” and exercise program, we are good to go!

Now, the word “diet” is meant to be read as “sensible eating habits”, not something that we’ll starve ourselves and become unhealthy.  Sensible means cutting out fats, sugars, alcohol, snack foods, candies, desserts and so on.  More veggies, fruits and fish are a great way to start.

Now if that does not appeal to you, then before you ever begin, a new mind-set is needed.  Ask yourself : Why do I want to be fit or lose the stomach fat?  What is my purpose?

Always keep that in mind.

After The Mind-Set

Once we’ve mastered our own worst enemy (our thinking), we need to consider a type of exercise that will burn up calories and fats.  One of the very best overall exercise is that of walking.

Yes, plain old walking!

But there is a right way and a wrong way to walk.  Don’t think so?  Check out my other pages and you’ll see what I am talking about.  All in all though, it’s great fun…this walking stuff.

Since I am an advocate of walking, the Nordic pole is one of the simplest “tools” you can muster and get the hang of almost immediately with quick results.

First Steps…Posture, Stride And Mastering The Pole

You may be thinking that since you’ve been walking all your life, how in the world can I master a “new” way to walk?  Pole walking is a bit different.  You will find that your strides will be longer and the use of your arms extending outward, will, at first, feel different.

Practice is the best way to learn this new super-low-impact type of skill.  With high-impact type of exercises, many times injuries are very common.  Nordic walking poles are a great alternative to being injured.

Proper form is necessary.  Correct form needs to be learned before adding strength or  endurance to your exercise.  Remember…this is to be enjoyed, not torture.  That mindset is always kept in the forefront.

Dry Land Training

Originally, cross country snow skiing took great endurance.  However, in the off season, professional skiers also needed to stay fit.  Therefore the Nordic walking pole came into being.

Dry land or cross country poling had so many similarities with snow skiing that it caught on world wide as an enjoyable exercise to do with family, friends or just by ourselves.

As we develop this new found skill, we’ll note that others are commenting that there is “something different about us” that they just can not seem to put their finger on.

Usually it shows up first in our posture, our outlook (because we feel better) and a sense of well being.

The Challenge To Overcome

Have you noticed how most people have pretty much forgotten how to swing their arms as they walk?  The Nordic walking pole is designed to work our entire upper body.    It loosens up the upper back, builds muscle in the torso area, allows our pelvis to rotate properly and much more.

Muscle building, correct posture, stomach fat loss, balance, energy, cardiovascular improvements, heart strength, athletic abilities returning, and a general overall feeling of being fit, comes rather quickly when using the Nordic walking poles.

Proper Pole For You

Proper pole height/length  for your stride is needed.  In this way, injury will prevented.  This is certainly true of new ones and their pole walking.

Important too,  is the type of terrain that you will be walking on.  Sidewalks, gravel, dirt, hills, trails, well-beaten-paths, grass, sand (as at the seashore), and other types of terrain need be considered.

So does the weather and the type of shoe that you will want to wear.

Click the highlighted links and they will take you to the needed information so you can make an informed choice as to how to lose stomach fat and be fit.

Leave your success stories below. Share this site

Written by :  Tom McDaniel

Images by: toddbfreese

What is a healthy heart rate

What is a healthy heart rate

Our heart does much more than just pump blood throughout our bodies. It monitors blood pressure, allows oxygen to mix with our blood (in the lungs) so all parts of our bodies are primed to ‘get up and get moving!’

But, what is a healthy heart rate and how do we not only monitor it, but achieve and maintain a healthy heart rate?

All good questions.

Very briefly, in order for that to take place, there MUST be some form of exercise on a regular basis. However, exercise does not have to be in a gym or running long distances.

Walking is one of the very best, entire body exercises. But, it needs to be done correctly. It’s not a stroll down the street, through the mall, or walking the dog in the park.

Getting Started

Indeed, there is a right way and a  ‘not so right way’  to walk and get needed benefits.  Since we are wanting to get our ‘juices’ flowing again, we need to know what and how, to do it.

The Nordic walking poles are one of the absolute best type of walking exercises that can be done.  Walking poles will work our entire upper body while the walking movements work our lower body.

Our Goal Is A Resting Heart Rate

Ideal  adult heart rates  should be somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm) when we are at rest.  The lower the bpm indicates that we are more fit than those that have have a higher bpm rate.

So how do we get there?

An Illustration With A Good Ending

The human body is similar to a machine…but it is a very unique machine.  A machine will continue to work well until more is demanded of it than it is build for.

Our bodies, to a certain extent, can overcome that demand.

 For instance:

Having a one horsepower (hp) motor doing 1 hp worth of work is great.  But, when you try and make it do 2 hp worth of work, very quickly it will more than likely, fail.

On the other hand, our bodies, doing 1 hp worth of work is also great.  But, when we demand that it do 2 hp worth of work, we get worn out and realize where some “new” muscles are located because of their being sore.

However, as we continue to work at that 2 hp worth of work, our bodies will become stronger, leaner, more fit, and…our heart rate, when at rest, will naturally become lower.

That 2 hp work now becomes much easier to accomplish!

Why?  Because we have been doing 2 hp worth of work all day, and now, at rest, because our heart is stronger, it “hardly has to work” in order to pump our blood throughout our bodies.

This also applies to our regular exercise of walking.


Healthy Heart Rate 

What Do I Need To Get Started

First, you need a good walking route to not only keep safe, but enjoyable while you walk.

If you are a newly interested person and wanting to get fit, then you may want to check with your doctor first.  You may also want to purchase a few items to begin with.

The number one item is a pair of Nordic walking poles.  Shoes would also be a priority for both men and women.  Gloves for hand protection and gripping your pole should be considered but not mandatory (be aware of possible blisters though).

A need-to-know what is going on inside of us is beneficial.  Therefore, it’s especially beneficial to have a good quality  heart rate monitor for men.

Ladies, you too would benefit from knowing your own personal heart rate.

A simple to use pedometer will let you know how far you have traveled.  This is beneficial if you choose to  walk different routes.

Be Careful When You Start

If you have all necessary funds to get started with, then skip this area.  On the other hand, if funds are limited, or you just want to limit your spending, then shop wisely.

The Nordic walking poles need to be investigated.

Questions such as : Which are best for you, what is  your walking terrain, how about weather conditions, how often do you plan to walk, what is the proper length of poles, how do you adjust them just for you and so on, have all been addressed here.

Shoes that propel you forward are best suited.  Nordic walking shoes have been specially designed just for that.

Heart monitors, pedometers, gloves and so on, are not all needed to begin with, but should be viewed as a safety monitor for peace of mind as you walk.

Enjoy Your Walks

Become well acquainted with Nordic type tools and exercise equipment beforehand.  You’ll be pleased with how many other friends will want to join with you…once  you get started. 🙂

Written by :   Tom McDaniel Share this site

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Choose A Walking Route Planner

What Is  A Walking Route Planner           image by:sparkpeople

The question :  What is a walking route planner, can be defined differently by many authorities.  However, most folks that are wanting a route planner are just regular people that want to walk in safety, in beautiful surroundings, with friends, with their dog(s) or for a vigorous workout.  Some even accept the challenge of walking across the entire country!

Much depends on what you, as an individual, want as an end result.

On the other hand, planning an “attack” on our health is also another type or form of a plan, wanting to be in the very best condition physically that we can be.

Where Do We Start?

Overcoming bad habits can be a real challenge.  Have you read about or even heard about the 30-30-30 attack method of overcoming bad habits and replacing them with good habits?

In this instance, we want the good habit of a regular walking routine.

The 30-30-30 challenge works like this…For a period of 30 days, we will take the time EACH DAY to read or listen to an audio recording of something positive.  It will be for a period of 30 minutes EACH DAY.   If we miss a day, then we start the 30 days over again.  So it is beneficial for us when we start that we do not miss a single day.

Since we want to be fit physically, then we read or listen to something that is health related.  Perhaps how to create good meals, proper warm up techniques, benefits of proper exercise for our age, physical condition or rehabilitation.

(Reading or listening to things of this nature will train us for having the proper mental attitude for exercise.)

We have to be the judge of what we can and can not do.

But why 30 days?  It’s known that to make or break a bad habit and create a good habit, it takes 30 to 45 days of doing that same thing over and over again.  Our brain and body begins to form “muscle memories” for that activity.

In this case, we want to begin a walking routine route planner.  We begin with a place in our local area that meets all of the safety and physical requirements that we want.  Once that is satisfied, then we begin.

Will it be indoors or outdoors?  Know what you are after.

Often times this highly successful type of “attitude attack” is applied to many areas in life.  In this case, we want to  apply it to our getting into a good physically fit routine, thereby, creating a good habit.   Having the desire to be fit is one thing, actually following through with it is where many fail.

Beautiful Scenery Is Desired

If we choose a walking route that encompasses scenery that is not only enjoyable to see and be in, but also safe to travel, then why not take advantage of it?  Do not ever underestimate the motivating factor of a beautiful route.

It’s true about things that we enjoy, we usually repeat them, over and over.  That can be true also of our route that we have chosen.

Year round scenery changes

Year round scenery changes

Too, as the year changes, so do our surroundings.  We take note of these gradual changes and want to keep coming back.   Just being out of doors in itself, compliments us and has positive effects on our health and mental well being.

Parks, open spaces, woodland trails, along rivers or lakes, canals or even near or on the beach are areas for consideration.  In the city, well lit streets for winter walking, tree lined or flower patches for spring or summer walking.  Perhaps we’ll  choose to take advantage of so-called bike paths.  They are usually safe and well traveled.

Need light rain gear?  How about a broad brimmed hat for the sun?

Regardless of where you choose to walk, be sure and take along with you, plenty of water and perhaps a type of energy snack for just-in-case.

Nordic pole walkers can go everywhere

Nordic pole walkers can go everywhere

Be Safe

As we walk, often times we are so “into it” that we forget about things that could possibly happen to us.  For instance.  Be sure that we avoid high crime areas.  Watch out for congested areas whether it be people, animals, or traffic.  Remember too, that there are others that take advantage of walking areas.

They may not be walking though.  Perhaps bicycle riders, skate boarders, roller-blades and many similar activities can be around us.  Just use common sense when making our choice of walking areas and times of day.

Some even choose to carry, not only water and a snack, but also a whistle to sound alarm if need be.  Others choose to carry an easy to reach can of hot pepper/mace type of personal protection.

If you anticipate animals, such as dogs, or even wildlife animals of any sort, bear spray is one of the absolute best types of defense.  It has a spray of some 20 to 30 feet and can also deter people that may do harm to us.

What Are We Desiring?

Overall fitness is something that all of us desire.  Some begin with the gym.  Others want to stay at home for a home-style workout.  And even more want to be with others that have similar goals and form a support group.  Whichever you choose, just do it on a regular basis using the 30-30-30 method to get started with.

If you’ve been keeping up with my blogs, you will note how beneficial walking is.  This can be especially true when using the Nordic walking poles (sticks as some call them) to get an overall body workout.

These workouts can be tremendously beneficial.  They can also be of great variety.  Intensity can be a factor also.   A slow casual walk, or perhaps a sightseeing type walk, to an intermediate type of walk or for those that really want to benefit quickly, a fast paced, heart pounding walk that works some 90% of our entire body muscles.

Entire Body Fitness Is Desired

Using the Nordic walking poles can be a challenge.  Getting our walking coordination to be in sync with using poles is not difficult.  We are really working with gravity and resistance in complementing our body muscles.  Nordic walking poles will help to redistribute our body weight and effort.  This is especially true with our lower body.

On the other hand, our core or upper body also gets into this workout.  It helps each of us to walk tall with a much improved posture.

A healthy heart and increased cardiorespiratory activities are highly desired.  This can be met by almost anyone at any fitness level.  As we apply the 30-30-30 routine in our lives, we will actually miss it when we are not able to get to our routine.

It’s quite addictive

If we choose to walk, then it should be on a daily basis.  If not, then a minimum amount of regular walking would be 3 or 4 times per week.  It should be 30 minutes each time.  But if we are unable to do that all at once, then quick bouts of 3 or 4 minutes throughout the day that add up to a total of 30 minutes per day would also be acceptable.

Year round enjoyment when using Nordic walking poles

Expect Year round enjoyment when using Nordic walking poles

Weight Loss Benefits Of A Route Planner

Have you decided where you will be walking?  Rough terrain?  City streets?  Through the neighborhood?  In a gym on a flat surface?

The terrain we choose to walk on can directly affect our loss of weight.  The more we exert ourselves, the more calories we will burn, even when at rest.

Using Nordic poles will burn more calories than traditional walking.  But keep in mind that until you reach the fat-burning-heart-rate,  we may not be seeing many changes in ourselves.

As soon as we reach that level, that is, the fat-burning-heart-rate, we will begin to see the fat seemingly “melting off” our body!

Walking with poles on our own walking route planner will take some finesse and skill. Don’t get discouraged when you begin.

Can you think of another place to walk?

Use your imagination 

Posture, Joints, Bone Density Add Up To Less Stress

As we walk with poles, we note that there is a slight rotation movement going on in our back.  This is beneficial.  Using upper and lower back muscles will automatically improve our posture.

With better posture, we begin to feel, act, and notice “better coordination” in all activities of life.  Plus, by having more cardiovascular activities, we have increased our endurance level.  Those activities that used to wear us out no longer do so.

Walking poles will help redistribute the effort that it takes to walk.  This is especially beneficial for those that are recovering from surgery, injury,  a birth defect or just getting started with a physical exercise routine.

By allowing the Nordic walking poles to take some of the strain, it allows our knees, back, and other joints to not be so stressed as we walk.

This is especially noted when we walk either up or down hills.

Bone density will increase.  Bone density is desired.

The more we use our body, bone will increase to make up for the effort we are putting it through.  Baseball pitchers and tennis players have been known to have somewhere as much as 4 times the bone density in the arm used most when compared to the arm used less frequently.

Since we want overall bone density, the use of walking poles meet that requirement, forcing  us to use all our bones and body muscles.

Don’t Get Stressed

Have you ever heard of “runner’s high?”

Anticipating the "walker's  high"

Anticipating the “walker’s high”

It is the point that all runners are trying to attain.  It is when your body releases endorphins which in turn, gives each runner a sense of being “high” along with an overall sense of well being.  It is a desirous thing.

Many who take up the Nordic walking routine, soon experience this.  They also experience less stress, not only to their joints, but in their mental outlook as well.

In addition to this is the ability for better pain management, along with endurance and greater muscle gain.

Since a much improved body efficiency in using oxygen as we get into a walking routine has been noted, we find that we become more aware of our surroundings.  Not only that, but we increasingly become aware of our finely tuned “engine” (a.k.a. our body) and it’s workings.

We take note of our heartbeat, our breathing, walking pace, how our feet touch the ground, we even “feel” the earth under our feet, the rhythm of our poles, our coordinated walking stride, and how our body is responding to this newly acquired skill along with how  our muscles are being strengthened with every stride.

With all of the above working together in harmony, we soon realize that our being stressed-out by everyday issues and/or problems seem to be not so overwhelming after all.  In fact, we even find that remedies for issues or problems, readily come to us as we walk.

Walking Route Planner

So you can see that a walking route planner can mean  all sorts of things to all sorts of different folks.   Did you see where you fit in?

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

Why not consider using your newly developed walking skills with a set of Nordic walking poles?  After all, the purchase of these poles is pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime purchase.  They can be taken with you wherever you go.

But which pole should you purchase?  How can I know which is right for me?

Written by :  Tom McDaniel Share this site!

images by: examiner,koamtv,shutterstock,123rf,,keenfit,sparkpeople


Walking Poles

What Is The Benefits of Walking?


Starting now, you can quickly realize the benefits of walking.  Walking?  Why not jog, swim, go to the gym, or bicycle riding?  They all have their place, but surprisingly, walking will cover all those activities rolled into one!

Learning How To Walk

First of all, when we walk many will begin to view it as “serious business.”  On the other hand, we’ll try not to go with that attitude.  The benefits of walking will come to us whether we are serious about it or we are just enjoying the pleasant surroundings.

Coordination And Stability

Just like learning to walk as a young child, the proper use of Nordic Walking Poles also requires a measure of coordination along with a very short learning curve.  Stability and strength with growing endurance qualities, which will enhance our cardiovascular effort will in turn, allow us to be more agile and even increasing visual acuity.

To name a few of the tremendous benefits that come from regular use of walking poles would be :  strengthening  body muscles, tendons, ligaments, injury prevention, quick nerve system reaction to situations which include the agility and ability to learn other athletic skills and/or sports.

Put simply, by regular use of Nordic walking poles is really an investment to our future health, welfare, and overall sense of well being.

Women seem to dominate this activity…but guys, you get the benefits too!

The Little “Engine” That Said I Can!

The creation of the human body is unique in itself.  The brief illustration that follows will help us to get the sense of how Nordic Walking Poles will benefit us.

A small 1 horsepower gasoline engine can do 1 hp worth of work all day long.   Try to get it to do 1 1/2 hp or perhaps even 2 hp worth of work and what happens?  In short order, it will break down.

On the other hand, if demand 1 horsepower worth of work from our bodies, we get 1 hp worth of work.  If we begin to demand 1 1/2 or even 2 hp worth of work from our bodies, then, over time, our bodies will build the needed muscle, coordination, stamina, and quick reaction time that is needed in order to not only meet, but welcome the change in pace and give us the 1 1/2  to 2 hp energy that is needed.

Using Nordic walking poles puts that little “engine” through it’s paces, that is, our bodies.  Using available resources, such as oxygen and a proper diet, our bodies will begin to burn fat and build muscle.  In fact, the better condition we are in, our little “engine” will be burning fat even when we are at rest.

Cross Country And Skiing…Do We Need It?

Regardless of what level we choose to begin our regular walking routine, our bodies will respond accordingly.  Since aerobic training and conditioning is really at the heart of our newly acquired skills, it sets the stage for anaerobic activities later on.

Anaerobic type of training could be considered the “quarter mile race” of our conditioning.  Since anaerobic training is quite intense, it is usually done in short bursts of energy.  For instance, activities such as we see in aerobic classes in many gyms throughout the country or a long distance runner suddenly has a burst of speed and energy as he/she sees the finish line.

Since this training is for the advanced, we need not worry about it at this time.  Regardless what our fitness level may be, we can use our Nordic walking poles to meet any challenges that may come our way.  Our goal is to progressively build needed endurance, muscle, fat burning capabilities even while at rest, along with increased cardiovascular capacity.

The Top 8 Benefits Of Nordic Walking Poles

1.  Agility and performance in almost every sport will be increased.

2.  Being used to moving, our natural abilities requiring speed will increase.

3.  Like a fine-tuned engine running at peak performance, our total recovery time will be dramatically lessened, making recovery time brief.

4.  Coordinated walking skills will increase along with our natural dynamic balance  especially when maneuvering  over uneven surfaces we walk on.

5.   Nerves and response time will become much more acute.

6.  Since fitness is our goal regardless of our present physical fitness, it will naturally be a  “side benefit” of our regular Nordic pole walking routine.

7.  Getting our “wind” or cardiovascular  endurance will quickly be increased.

8.  Strengthened heart activities will allow our heart muscle to work less,  allowing our heart to perform the same activities as before our walking routine…but with much less effort.

Graceful Women…Muscular Men

Graceful women
Graceful Fit Women


Graceful women
Graceful Fit Women













Ladies, if you interviewed a number of other women that have been Nordic walkers for a while, you will find that each of them have noticed that within themselves, their own style of walking has become more graceful.

Using Nordic walking poles has given them greater grace and ease of walking even without the use of poles in their everyday activities.  Since coordination, building both upper and lower body muscle, along with fat burning capacities, these women’s bodies will naturally walk straighter.

As we walk, our arms and legs will quite naturally, fall into it’s natural rhythm of the opposite of our leg stride.  Better coordination, graceful movements will also include much fewer body injuries, quicker response time, excellent precision of movements, and ease of learning new skills in almost any sport.

Men, on the other hand, will gain all of the above benefits as women do, including much greater muscle mass.  Seeing that men already have more muscle mass than women, muscle will develop rather quickly.

Having a more athletic shape or build, will give every man a greater presence in practically any given situation or setting.  Even improving his mental awareness because his body is using oxygen more efficiently.

With greater capacity of endurance because of his now, highly trained and conditioned cardiovascular capabilities, those distance type activities beckons to him (or her), to want to join in.

Muscular fit men
Muscular Fit Men

A Excellent Way Of Life

Nordic pole walking is indeed, a way of life.  Knowing that as much as we put into our personal training and routine, WE are the one that gets 100% of the benefits.

Nordic walking requires our entire body to be involved.  Good balance, agility, quick response times, less fatigue, less injuries, along with grace and muscle development for both men and women, are what we are desiring.

Have you started your training yet?

Wondering which of the many Nordic poles to chose from?  

How to overcome the “get started” problem?

All of the above questions have been addressed.  Why not take a few minutes and see how?

Leave me a comment if you like the above and share with friends!

Written by :  Tom McDaniel

Images by: shutterstock,,sparkpeople,


Walking Stick

What  Is  A Walking Stick ? … Often the above image comes to mind.

A walking stick or better known as a walking pole, can be used for health, protection, balance, safety, resting, or just plain “looking good” to everyone that sees you!  So many interesting and unique benefits come from this simple “invention” of the use of a stick, or pole.

To answer the question of “What is a walking stick”, can be just a wee bit tricky.  As noted above, it’s uses are quite diverse.  However, most people choose a good walking stick,  a.k.a. walking pole, for health reasons.

Benefits Of Using A Walking Pole

A brief summary of some benefits of this simple device are:

Anyone can use it.  Regardless of your age or fitness, you can benefit for it’s usage.

Knotted muscles show up in the upper back, neck and even in many shoulder areas often caused from stress at home or at work.

When using the walking pole the correct way (and yes, there is a right and wrong way to use a properly constructed walking pole)  it reduces the stress on the upper body.

The proper use of walking sticks/poles will actually improve your upper body mobility.  More muscle will be used and therefore give a person a more erect posture.  Slumping or round shoulders will be a thing of the past.

Mentally, many people do not like the word “exercise” or “workout” because it comes across as difficult.  On the other hand, when using walking poles, it is perceived by most, as a more moderate exercise, even though you are using 90% of your entire body muscles!

Balance is a challenge for many that are getting up in years.  Walking while using poles, can help to maintain balance.  Especially is this true when walking on uneven surfaces such as an off road hiking trail.

Aches and pains in our lower extremities can be greatly reduced.  Hips, knees, and ankles all take a tremendous amount of stress if we’ve not had a regular routine of walking.  Walking poles can relieve much of it by giving us the much appreciated support.

Weight Loss

Want to trim down?  Just by using walking sticks/poles, which uses more upper body movements, can burn some 40 to 48% more calories than just walking without them.

Building up your wind, or cardiovascular, is another side benefit of walking with poles.

And, once more, remember that while using walking sticks/poles, we are using about 90% of all our body muscles.  When we compare it to the 40% or less muscles that are used when not using walking poles,  we begin to feel more fit almost “overnight.”

Benefits of using poles are quickly seen

Benefits of using poles are quickly seen and felt in ourselves.

What About Surgery?

As a person ages, many times our joints begins to break down.  Often times requiring a hip, knee or ankle replacement.  The use of walking poles can once more, give us that needed extra support so we can get things moving again.

In fact, because of the many benefits of walking poles and it’s popularity, many large hospitals encourage the use of walking poles.  Medical associations likewise, agree with many major hospitals in this regard also.

Seniors especially gain benefits from walking pole use.

Don't Let your age stop you from pole walking

Don’t Let your age stop you from pole walking

For Those With Diabetes, OverWeight, High Blood Pressure

If we find ourselves suffering from any of the above, that is, high blood pressure, excess weight gain or diabetes, then take note of a few more benefits of using walking poles.

Many times our own personal physician will recommend different types of “exercises” for us.  If you find yourself in that category, then the use of walking poles is “just what the doctor ordered”  especially because of it’s low impact, and it’s many cardiovascular health benefits.

Why not try it and see for yourself?

You’ll almost immediately begin to note that with the use of walking poles, you have just transformed your entire body into a ‘walking machine’ by giving it a whole body workout.

A Word Of Caution

Keep in mind also, that if you’ve not used poles to walk with, do so only under the direction of your physician.  If he or she agrees, then work into it gradually.  Many times new ones will over due it the first time or two…begin to feel sore…and then just quit.

Feeling sore is a natural thing.  Those muscles that have not been used are going to try and tell you to… “stop!  It hurts!”  So the only way to get them to stop hurting, is to gradually work into a regular pole walking routine.  Soon they will begins to respond with “wow, I feel great!  let’s keep doing this” or something similar.

You’ll know when that times arrives.  🙂

You'll love the company

You’ll love the company!

A Sense Of Overall Wellness And Well Being

Being a low-impact type of exercise, it promotes not only fitness and health but also an overall feeling of well being.  Wouldn’t you agree that the time has come to really “get the juices flowing” again?

It has been proven that pole walking is deemed a catalyst to the promotion of rehabilitation along with much improved physical activities.  Not only that, but it’s great fun!

Comparisons To Other Forms Of Exercise

Many thousands, if not, 10’s of thousands of people worldwide, enjoy jogging, running, bicycle riding or swimming for exercise.  All of which work well.

But what exactly are the benefits as compared to pole walking?   Am I building muscle?  Am I burning calories?  All excellent questions that need to be answered.

Let’s start first with calories being burned.

Using a stationary bicycle, we burn about 200 calories per hour.  A quick paced walk is around 240 calories per hour. Jogging is a wee bit more at 280 calories per hour.  Swimming, which has also been deemed and overall body exercise, burns around 330 calories per hour.  A fast paced aerobics class can burn up to 440 calories per hour, which in itself, can be exhausting.

Pole walking which gives us a 90% total body workout, burns between a whopping 600 to 900 calories per hour!

So, not only are we burning more calories and using 90% whole-body muscles, but we also get to see beautiful new scenery, fresh air and enjoy conversations with friends that walk with us.

Thinking back on what we just covered, if we are even remotely considering a low-impact type of exercise, then why wait any longer?  Why not look into pole walking?  You may be pleasantly surprised with how many are actually doing this in your area.

Feeling adventurous?

Feeling adventurous?  With poles you can get  there.

Which ‘Stick’ Or ‘Pole’  Should I Use?

To answer the above will take more than just a name of a walking pole company.  However, the Nordic Walking Pole has pretty much dominated the scene.

They are the company that actually made it popular around the globe.  So to give them the only credit would be very easy to do but quite unfair to all the other great companies with walking poles.

But what should we know and how do we choose the correct one for us?

Find all the answers here that you’ll need to know in order to make an informed choice.

Written by :  Tom McDaniel Share this site

Images by:dreamtime,colourbox,outfanatic,prweb

What walking poles can do for you

What walking poles can do for you

Walking comes naturally to us, so why use walking poles?  Can’t I just use a stick?   Let’s dig a bit deeper into what walking poles can do for us, which are the best to use and why, in the first place, should we even consider using them.

Reasons To Use Nordic Walking Poles

Have you ever experienced a lower back pain?  Statistics show that about 85% or more, adults at one time or another, suffer lower back pain.  Walking sticks can help alleviate much, if not all of the pain.  That can include hip and knee pain as well.

Keeping fit and maintaining your wind is of primary importance to many who are conscious of health.  Pole walking is similar to cross country skiing.  In fact, that is where it began.  Many professional cross country skiers would train with poles and rollers skates in the off season.

The so-called “urban poling” began way back in the 1930’s in Finland.  Since then, it has seen a booming growth for health conscious people of all ages and backgrounds.

Urban poling can be done with friends

Urban poling can be done with friends

What About Running?

As popular as running or jogging is, many just can not do it.  Aches and pains, the constant jarring of one’s bones against each other, let alone the lack of support for women unless wearing  a specially constructed sports bra, all can have a negative effect on a person.

Joint pain will eventually begin to take it’s toll, making our running routine not as enjoyable as it once was.

Follow the leader

Let’s play Follow the leader

Walking, on the other hand, is a great alternative to running.  Using the Nordic walking poles can bring back the fun in exercise or just an excuse to get outside.  Its a great challenge to get yourself into a walking sync while using the poles.

Take a quick look at the correct way to walk with poles.  Afterwards, be sure and come back.

Click for short How-To Video

Walking Tall

Once we learn how to properly walk with poles, and get used to the “cat calls” about “forgetting your skis” or “hey, it’s not winter yet” and things similar, in short order, we’ll note that not only are we getting into better shape, but we are actually walking more erect.

Stooping and slouching is pretty much unheard of after a regular pole walking routine.   Upper body strength, better posture, and those shapely, muscular legs begin to show.  Women, don’t worry about “muscles” popping out.

Muscles that you will be using while Nordic pole walking

Keep in mind that the muscles in your legs are the ones that you’ll want to show off.  After all, it’s those leg muscles that give your legs their shape.   Not only will you be using some 600 different muscles throughout your body, but you’ll also be burning some 400 or more, calories each hour you walk.

How To Prepare Before Walking

Your feet are one of your most important assets that need to be considered before starting out.  So a quick look at the terrain you will be walking in will determine what type of comfortable walking style shoe you will be needing.

Whether it’s around the neighborhood or through the forest, even or uneven surfaces with tripping hazards need to be considered.  How is the weather?  Expecting rain?  Wind? Lots of sun?   Whatever it may be, you can wear or carry it with you (a light backpack comes in handy here).

A good leg workout

Gives your legs a great shape!

If you are a wee bit leary about starting out with walking poles, you may want to consider taking a few lessons as to the proper way to get the most benefit from your poles.

It only takes one or two lessons to really get the hang of it.  Plus, you can enjoy the association of others that are likewise, exercising with poles.  It’s great fun.

Which Pole Is Right For You?

Often times when we think “walking stick,”  what comes to mind is a stiff branch or a small tree that we made into a walking stick.   That would be partially correct.  Some of the Nordic walking poles or sticks, are indeed,  rigid with a fixed length.

However, since we are all of different heights, walking stride, way of walking and so on, it would be better to have a walking pole that fits us as an individual.  Therefore, the adjustable type walking pole is a much better fit.

The most popular pole that  Nordic has to offer would be the Leki Supreme Shark.  It is fitted with cork handle, quick release strap and comes with the Powergrip paws (the rubber ends on each pole).  Sturdy, but light in weight, and fully adjustable in length to fit you and your stride.

On the other hand, you can start out with the Nordic Walking Instructor Trekking Pole.  Less expensive but just as effective and fully adjustable.

There is also the Nordic Walking Carbon VIP Poles that work amazingly well.  Fitted with removable rubber tips making them ideal for indoor or outdoor use.   One drawback for this excellent walking pole is they are not adjustable.  But, being very user friendly, they can be used as an “everyday walker.”

Nordic pole walking is stimulating !

Nordic pole walking is stimulating !

How To Choose

Though rigid walking poles are less likely to have vibration, the fully adjustable type walking poles are exceedingly strong and any vibration that may be felt is kept to a bare minimum.  These poles will last for years to come and are safe to use.

With several different type poles to choose from, let’s briefly consider each one.  First there is the non adjustable or fixed length, second would be the extendable, third is adjustable and telescopic, and finally there is the strapless and trekking poles.

Going Strapless?

One of the best things that Nordic has going for them is the easy release straps.  Going without the use of these straps is NOT recommended.  The strapless pole would be used by individuals that may have a balance issue and would need to quickly release the poles in case of a fall.

The fixed length pole is just as it says.  Fixed.  In choosing this pole, one would have to be confident enough in themselves that they know the exact length they would need.  But keep in mind that more than likely, these individuals would not be able to improve and/or develop their individual technique.

The extendable pole is almost the same as the fixed pole, with one exception.  It does have an adjustment that is close to the handle that can absorb any vibration.  This pole can be adjusted to fit each person exactly.

On the other hand, the fully adjustable poles are for everyone.  All walkers enjoy the ease and freedom that this pole offers.  Being fully flexible, it’s completely suitable for all Nordic pole walkers.

Enjoy backpacking?  Then the telescopic poles are what you want.  These poles will fold down so as to fit into a backpack, suitcase or just handy to carry.  Not taking up much space, they are a great add-on for a vacation, or even walking through a city.

However, keep in mind that since they are made up of 3-piece construction, they do have a bit of a tendency to vibrate as you walk.  If you can deal with vibration, then this is the ideal pole for you.

With a lightweight backpack and Nordic Walking Poles

With a lightweight backpack and Nordic Walking Poles You can  go to amazing places.

A Final Note

A lightweight pole is best.  Nordic poles are light in weight, yet sturdy.  We feel that though carbon is best suited for walking, being more expensive, most people tend to shy away from it unless they are seasoned pole walkers.

A unique feature of the Nordic walking pole is the ability to remove or replace the rubber feet (or paws) on each of the poles.  They are properly angled so as to give their user much needed stability.

Something to look for in poles is, if the rubber feet are not easy to remove and replace, plus not having  the correct angle, then more than likely, it is not an official Nordic walking pole.  Just be aware.

The hand straps are a great feature.  Not only for helping to stop hand fatigue, but  safety  also.  They should be simple to attach and detach from the pole and your hand.

Though Nordic walking poles have been around for many years, there are several other  excellent walking poles on the market that can be well suited for you.

Some of the names of well established and reputable companies would include :

Leki      Gabel      Swix      Komperdell

Having built their reputation on creating and manufacturing ski poles, you know they have to be some of the top companies in the world.

Enjoy your new found exercise and healthy lifestyle with Nordic Walking Poles.   Feel free to leave a comment below.

An enjoyable pastime with friends.

Why not take up An enjoyable pastime with friends?

Written by :  Tom McDaniel Share this info.

Images by: nordicbesthealth,urbanpoling,nordicwalkingblogspot,fitnessmagazine,allyou,glaciernationalparkhikingguide,outdoorrapture

Walking can be a pleasant experience

Walking can be a pleasant experience

Walking is something that, as an adult or young person, we do without even thinking about. However, though walking is a necessary thing, in many cases, we can get along quite well without walking, at least, not walking long distances. So, we ask:  What Is A Long Walk? 

Let’s see if we can define the term ‘long walk’, OK?

Survival Without Walking, Can It Be Done?

In most of the so-called, industrialized world, the average person can survive everyday activities with only walking a few hundred yards throughout the day. Perhaps a bit more, or less, depending on the days activities.

Transportation is a means that we use that takes away the “skill” of walking. Taxi, bus, car, truck, bikes, motorcycles and so on. With those advantages, people choose to not walk, much to our own personal detriment.

Often times we are “forced” to walk because me missed the bus, the train, the car broke down or perhaps we’ve gotten a flat tire. In those cases, we MUST walk.

On the other hand, there are many pleasant places that we can walk and at the same time, give the kids a great place to run around and “burn up some energy.”

Not a "Long Walk" when you are entertained by the kids!

Not a “Long Walk” when you are entertained by the kids!

But, What About The Kids?

We’ve all heard the fantastic stories of our parents or grandparents. You know, it goes like this: “When I was a youngster, I had to walk 5 miles to school every day, in two feet of snow, summer and winter, uphill, both ways!”

Now, we know that is not possible, that is, to walk the same road, summer and winter in two foot of snow, or both ways and be going uphill in either direction. A bit of a stretch would’t you agree?

What is it that they are trying to say?  Kids today are just plain lazy!  If that is so, what about us as parents?  What are we doing to set a proper example?

Simply put, we need to set the example.  A very simple way to start is by walking or perhaps bicycling along a pleasant and interesting trail.


Well Adapted To Walk…

If you’ve ever watched a baby learn to walk, you know that he/she will continue to struggle in order to gain that ability.  Then when they do take that first step, we, as parents or one who is watching, will give them praise and laugh in delight.   So, why can’t we enjoy walking as adults?  Well, we can…

Benefits Of Walking

Evidence shows that walking “exercise” can help older ones to improve their cognitive (referring to their ability to remember and knowing what is going on around them) abilities. Especially is that recognized by the medical field with those that have Alzheimer’s.

By those daily walks, it has been shown that one’s health improves and longevity  in our usefulness continues for many more years.  Especially for individuals over the age of 70.

Have you ever “forgot” how much you’ve “forgotten?”  A regular walking exercise, can and does, improve our abilities regarding, remembering things.  Not only remembering each day, but even in the long run of things.  Memory naturally improves.

And what about some health benefits?  Both men and women will benefit from brisk walks done on a regular basis.  Daily is usually best.

What Is A Long Walk ?

If we are walking for exercise, do we need to go for miles?  Not really.  In fact, according to “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” they state :   “Accumulating 30 minutes of brisk walking in short, 3 minute bouts is equally effective in reducing  ………  systolic blood pressure as is one continuous 30 minute bout.”

In others words, if we do not have the time to walk for 30 minutes, one time per day, we can break it down into shorter, but more brisk walking episodes throughout the day.

Children who walk to school, play outdoor activities, after school sports and so on, are usually in better shape than those who do not engage in physical type activities.  The same is true for adults.

All In All, Walking Is A Healthy Activity

You know yourself better than others.  So, do you walk or not?  Before ever engaging in any type of physical activities if you’ve not done so for some time, always be sure and check with your physician before doing so.

Types Of Walking

Pole walking

Pole walking

A long walk does not seem so long when done with poles.

A long walk does not seem so long when done with poles.

When we think of walking, often times it’s that ‘leisurely stroll’ that comes to mind.  You know, it’s that walk that we take when we go to the mailbox to pick up the mail.  It also comes into play when we are doing any type of shopping, say, in the grocery store, the mall, or looking for a new or used car.

Even a leisure walk can be beneficial exercise, if done correctly.  As we walk, be sure that our legs are straightened out, not locked, but extended to a straight position.  Allow your heel to lightly touch the ground, then make a smooth transition to the balls of your foot.

However, be sure to  NOT  be slamming your heel into the ground as if trying to make a hole, but just ever so gently allowing your heel to touch, then allowing your natural forward momentum to shift your weight to the ball of your foot.

You can also tighten those glutes as you walk.  Each step can be an exercise in itself.

Walking uphill is also a great exercise.  Try walking up a series of steps or a stairwell several times.  You’ll see which muscles come into play immediately.  When out of doors, try and imitate that same stair stepping walk when walking uphill.  Start with allowing the ball of your foot to touch, then mid section, and sometimes, your heel to touch fully on the ground.

But how about walking downhill?  Is there a technique to that also?  Downhill walking is far easier than walking uphill.  Quite naturally, gravity will tend to “pull” us down to the lowest point.  So what is it that we need to know?

Since walking downhill is a type of stopping, that is, stopping ourselves from “falling” down the hill, there is a proper way to walk.  As you walk downhill, you’ll note that your entire foot will be used here.  Your whole foot will be your stop controller.  Try and keep your weight towards your heels and not the ball of your foot or your toes.

Be sure and keep your upper body over your hips and as straight as possible.   If you allow your upper torso to sway, it’s quite easy to lose your balance, plus extra energy is being used unnecessarily.  Just be aware of how you are walking.

This next type of walk is one that many children and  hunters will do automatically.  It can be called the hunched or stalking type of walk.

When walking uphill, usually we may be in a type of hunched or crouched position.  Knees are bent, perhaps we are stooped over at the waist and even looking down at the ground.  Why so?  Rocks, sticks, clumps of weeds or grass, tree roots are things we are on the lookout for.

Uneven ground forces us to have our knees slightly bent, making us use the ball of each foot to make sure we keep our footing.  This type of terrain is a good “exercise” for older ones as it helps them to be able to maintain balance.

Taking shorter steps is the proper way to walk uphill, similarly, hunched or stalking type of walking will do the same.  Take note that as you walk, the ball, then the mid-foot, and finally, your heel will land.  That is the proper way to walk uphill.

Stop Being A Bump On A Log !

The proverbial “bump on a log” never moves, or if it does, it’s because someone or something else, moved the log itself.  We need to make sure we are not that bump!

So what do we do?  We get up and start moving!  If we sit behind a desk or do very little walking during the day, then we are perfect for the walking exercises mentioned above.

Why not start today or perhaps tomorrow with our newly found walking routine?  Waking up 15 minutes earlier will give us that bit of extra time to walk around the yard, the block, or even around our apartment building.  Whatever works best for us, JUST DO IT!

Try to get your walking done when you first arise in the mornings.  Why?  Because by the end of the day, most people will say, “I’m just too tired to go for a walk.”

But I Might Get Poked !

When was the last time you walked outside barefoot?  Remember when you were a kid?  It was great to not have to wear shoes.  How about now?

Why not take those early morning walking periods to do so barefooted?  Nevermind the so-called broken glass, sharp rocks, biting ants and so on.  Walk through the grass, allow the grass to massage your toes, letting the morning dew “wash” your feet, or perhaps letting that cool morning sidewalk glide smoothly underfoot.

Use wisdom though, when walking barefoot.  Be on the lookout for those nasty little “pokey” things that do on occasion, show up where we are walking.

Do You Do It ?  Why Not Be Adventurous? 

Get the family involved from an early age.

Get the family involved from an early age.

Entertaining the entire "family" can be fun also!

Entertaining the entire “family” can be fun also!  Especially if your bike floats on water!

Reading about exercising is certainly good.  Educating ourselves as to what and how we can do so is beneficial.  However, we need to honestly take a look at ourselves and ask :  Am I taking the time out of my busy workday to walk?

After all, we are the one getting the benefits of do so.  It’s great fun and beneficial too!

Written by :  Tom McDaniel Share this site

Images by:   playbuzz,copyrightfreeimages,shutterstock,,visualphotos,


What is brisk walking? Here is what it looks like.

What is brisk walking? This is what it looks like.

Brisk walking can be enjoyable and beneficial at the same time.  What are the benefits of walking?  Read on and you shall see.      Continue with Part 2

If you are a beginner though, it must be something that you start with on a gradual basis.  Many times a person sees the need to “get in shape” and begins a routine of exercise.  However, because of the initial interest, most will over do it and then quickly loose interest.

If you are wanting to start an exercise program, start slowly.    Begin with just a few minutes each day until you get into a regular routine or habit.  It has been shown that it takes a minimum of 30 days to either make a new habit or break an old habit.  Exercise is no different.  Do it for 30 days, then you can begin to increase your routine time-wise and endurance building.

Good Intentions

Many who start out with good intentions over do it right at first.  The next day, or perhaps two days after the beginner starts, they feel aches and pains that they have never felt before.  Most usually quit at this point.  That is the main reason to gradually work into a routine.

More experienced hikers enjoy a real challenge from time to time.

Getting Started

A good way to start is by a brisk walk.  It can be done at almost any time of the day or evening. Find  the time period that suits you best and stick with it.  A popular walking exercise is done with light weights held in each hand while walking briskly.  It should be more than a stroll, yet not at a run or jog.  Just a quick-stepping walk while you move your arms to the front and back in a natural motion as you walk.

Many call this type of walk “power walking.”

Power walking

Power walking

Pole Walking

However, there is another type of walking that instead of using light weights, you have properly lengthened poles in each hand.  It resembles cross country skiing.  In fact, you can use ski poles to begin with.  If you are walking on a hard surface, just put rubber tips on the ends of the poles so as not to have them slip.

Another name for this type of exercise if called Nordic-walking.  In fact, it was the cross country ski racers that came up with this type of training.  It was to supplement their off season conditioning so as to stay in tip top shape when the winter snows began to fall.

This type of training started back in the 1980’s and then was adopted by the general public sometime in the 1990’s.  Nordic walking is much more than just a passing fad.  It is a way of life for many who want to keep as healthy as they can.  It started in Finland and over the years has been introduced into many others countries.

Suzanne Nottingham knows how to get the most from walking with poles.

Nordic type of Pole Walking

Nordic type of Pole Walking

Muscles being used during pole walking

Muscles being used during pole walking

The Benefits Of Walking Are Numerous

But why the use of poles?  The Nordic walk with poles, exercises your upper body, while walking exercises you lower body.  With the use of the ski poles while walking, you are working the muscles in you back, arms, neck, and abdomen.

It also has an added benefit of relaxing you as you walk.  It speeds up your body so you burn calories faster and thereby drop many extra unwanted pounds of weight.  If you are an office worker, try the Nordic walk.  Those muscles that become stagnant by sitting at a desk all day can really enjoy being used again.  It helps you to stay erect and breathing becomes easier.

When we use the poles instead of the light weights, we walk in a more erect position.  It helps us to stand straighter with a much slimmer waistline.

A slim waistline

A slim waistline is another benefit for pole walking

One more benefit of the poles is that as we walk, it can relieve joint pain and joint pressure by allowing some of our weight to be distributed to each of the poles.  The poles can also help keep our balance if we are walking on uneven ground, snow, ice, or other types of soils.

If we are serious about Nordic walking, we need to have a well fitting and ankle supportive type of shoe.  They should be used only while we exercise, not for everyday use.  If we really enjoy wearing this type of shoe, then buy two pair.  One for daily use, the other for our Nordic walking.  Why two?  Because we will mentally get ourselves ready when we put on our “walking shoes.”

Walking is beneficial for all.  Running or jogging is also beneficial but it can cause injury or joint pain especially if we are not as young as we used to be.  Why not start out with walking?   It is a great way to really enjoy life.

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Brisk walking –  Great fun and exercise!

Don’t Like To Walk?

Many choose a different type of exercise.  Bicycling is another type of exercise that has a low impact on most people.  Plus, you can enjoy the scenery as it passes.  Have you considered this as a stepping stone to walking?

Bicycling is a great alternative

Bicycling is an excellent alternative


Written by :  Tom McDaniel Share this site

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