Benefits of a walking exercise are clearly seen.

Benefits of a walking exercise are clearly seen here.

A common misconception that many have is that a good walking exercise program really does not do much.  In other words, they feel that you must “hurt” that is, “no pain, no gain” in order to get any real benefit from exercising.  Not true!

So what is walking exercise and how can we get the most out of it?  Consider some of my earlier posts about walking and the many, many benefits that come…seemingly overnight.

The Nordic Walking Pole

Promoting the Nordic walking pole is one thing, but in order to see it’s quick results, we need to know how to use these tools.  In my previous blog, we covered some of the basics to start with.  We concluded with the thought that once we learn a bad “habit” in our routine, it can be a challenge to rid ourselves of it.

Let’s consider what these bad “habits” are while we are learning to use Nordic walking poles and how to avoid them.

Errors In Our Walking Technique

Walking all of our life, we may have in mind that we “already know how to walk” and don’t need to be shown how.  If that is your thinking, then stop reading now.  On the other hand, if you recognize that all of us can learn from someone else, then keep on reading.

Using Nordic poles can be an adventure, especially when we do so with friends who walk with us.  However, caution needs to be exercised whenever we start a new type of exercise program.  With Nordic walking poles, it takes about six to eight weeks to really learn-the-ropes.

Common mistakes that are made at first are overextending our steps, that is, taking too large of a step.  Doing too much at first can cause strains to joints, lower back and groin.  Often times once someone has hurt themselves, more than likely, they’ll not continue any type exercise program.

Though we do want a firm grip on the handle of our walking pole, we need to learn the technique of how and when…to totally release the handles.   Too much grip (I call it the Gorilla Grip) can strain our wrists, lower back, shoulders and elbows.

When walking, stand erect.  Keep your chin up.  Many have the habit of leaning forward, their head leading the way.  This is counterproductive to trying to build back muscles as we walk so good posture comes naturally when we are not in our exercise walking routine.

Naturally we want to bend our elbows as we walk.  In the beginning, during the slower learning walk, that is acceptable.  On the other hand, as we progress, we want to walk faster.   Bending our elbows too much can cause us to lose any potential benefits.  At this point (faster walks) we need to increase the length of our poles.

The adjustable type Nordic walking pole is one of the best.

Be sure that you have a natural arm swing as you walk, arms swinging in opposition to each leg.

Keep your upper body straight, chin up, (don’t look down but look to the horizon).  Often times the bad habit of slumped shoulders show up.  Keep shoulders up while allowing your upper torso to slightly rotate from side to side in a twisting motion.

Note also that if your poles are too long for you, then more than likely you’ll be over flexing or over extending your wrists during your walks.  Keep in mind that as you plant each pole tip, the swing of your arm should be from the shoulder, not the elbow.

If you note that after your walks you little finger is a bit overworked, you have what is called “painter’s grip” as if your pole were a paintbrush or perhaps a pencil.  Try to relax your hands while still gripping the pole.

Make sure your thumb is wrapped around your pole.  We are pole walking, not hitchhiking.

Proper grips

Proper grips

The release of the pole handle should occur when your hand reaches the hip area.  Often times new ones open their hands in the front of themselves with fingers extending outward.   Always be aware that your hands should hold firmly to the pole except at the release point…at your hip.

Walk slowly as you begin this program.  Many will overdo it by too large or open steps with too much walking speed.  Concentrate on your technique at first, then when you feel the fluid motion of each movement, without having to think about it, you have achieved your goal.

This will still take about six to eight weeks though.

Each step should be heel first.  Then roll your foot to your toe for a stepping point.

Injuries can occur when you rush.  The Tips of our poles should be firmly planted.  From that point, we can take our next step.

Now that we’ve mastered the Nordic walking exercise, how can we build strength, cardiovascular, and build power within ourselves?

Our goal is to be fit and enjoy ourselves while out of doors.

Written by:  Tom McDaniel Be sure to click SHARE button

Photos by: relievejointinflamation,masterfile

Walking as an exercise

Learn How To Walk For Exercise

Walking to be fit is one of the most enjoyable type of “exercises” that there is!  However, in order to get the most benefit from our walks, we really need to learn proper techniques to how to walk for exercise, not just for pleasure, though a pleasant walk at times, can be exhilarating too.

Long walks can do wonders for everyone.  On the other hand, perhaps you can not walk for long distances or just don’t have the time to do so.  What then?

Shorter so-called “power walks” have been around for many years.  Surprisingly simple to do with many benefits.  Often times these power walks are done with light weights in either hand, swinging them as you walk.

The added weights will give you a better workout in addition to upper body muscle and strength.  However, there is an even better way to gain upper strength, shape, lose body fat especially in the mid section, get those shapely legs back,  develop  back muscles for good posture and much more.

Welcome To The Nordic Walking Poles

There is a great variety of poles to choose from.  So how do we choose?

Nordic Leki have pretty much dominated the market, and for good reason.  Usually they are a once in  a lifetime purchase, easy to work with, can be taken with you almost anywhere, and really give you that head-to-toe workout.

All done on a very low impact basis!

To quickly see the benefits of a walking exercise, we need to plan our walking routine.

What Things Do I Need To Know?

Nordic walking is a rather simple technique to learn.  However, just like anything new, it will take a little while to get used to the new motor motions of your body.  Once learned, it will stay with you and become automatic.

There is the  long arm technique.  This technique is teaching you how to stretch out your arms as you walk, much like extending your hand to shake with someone.  In our normal walking, the arms swing, but only slightly.  Nordic walking will allow us to use all of our upper body muscles.

The cupping and release of the pole is next.  As you move forward, your opposite arm will push you forward with the rubber “spring tip” at the end of each pole.  While your hand is at your hip, learn to release the end of each pole where you grip it.

In order to learn to release, we do need the correct type of hand straps so we do not completely lose the pole.

The long stride is also a part of the Nordic walk.  As you walk, you’ll note that you can take larger steps.  When you do, be sure that your heel touches first, then the rest of your foot will follow.

Depending on the type of terrain you are walking on, you may want to look into a comfortable walking shoe or boot.

As you develop this long stride, begin by walking through the motions slowly.  As you gain the needed skill and muscle memory, you can pick up the pace.  Keep in mind  that your pelvis will want to rotate more as you walk.  This is good.

The pelvic twist comes naturally as you extend each leg forward.  You’ll note that your shoulders also come into use.  All of this upper body movement is quickly,  giving your entire upper body a good workout,  burning fat as you walk.

Tips to the ground deliberately planted, will naturally make you grip your pole handle a bit tighter.  This is  a technique  that is mastered only after the above other techniques have fallen into place.

It may seem simple, but to learn the Nordic  walking technique the proper way,  takes on average, about 6 to 8 weeks.  During that learning time, remember to have fun!   Enjoy your walks!

Folks from all "walks" of life enjoy Nordic exercise

Folks from all “walks” of life enjoy Nordic exercises

What Things To Look For 

The above is just a quick overview of using  Nordic  walking poles to get the most beneficial exercise out of your walking routine.  However, there needs to be an awareness of some of the most common mistakes or errors that beginners make in their learning curve.

Once these mistakes are learned, they can be a challenge to rid ourselves of them.

What are they?  Let’s consider those next.

Written by:  Tom McDaniel SHARE this site

Images by:nordicwalkingnet,womenfitnessnet

Is walking a good exercise?

Is walking a good exercise?  Everyone does it.

Normal walking is an everyday activity.  But is walking a good exercise that can benefit us?  Perhaps your job requires you to walk most of the work day.  Is that also beneficial? or do you need more?

Purposeful walks are certainly beneficial.  Walking on-the-job is also beneficial.  However, since in this article we are concerned with getting the proper type of exercise, we will not be looking into the work-day type of walking…though it too, can and is, beneficial.

Gym In A Bag…To Go!

Full body training is becoming more and more accepted throughout modern society.  We are becoming more and more aware of eating healthy, our heart condition, our bodies overall shape, and the way our clothes fit us.

How can we balance all our everyday hectic life so we can achieve our goals?  We do so by having our exercise equipment with us wherever we go.  Our “gym in a bag” is the very popular Nordic Walking Poles.

Now, don’t sell yourself short here and think:  “I don’t need poles to walk with.”  You may be surprised at the quickly gained benefits that come from the use of Nordic Walking poles.

Your New equipment

Your new equipment

Full Body Workout

Consider the results you are seeking.  Walking poles can help you get there sooner.  Being out in the open fresh air, seeing the changing scenery, enjoying others that come along with you, are just a few of the enjoyments that come with using poles.

Back strength, bone density, head to toe muscle development, along with cardio training will be automatic with pole walking.

Getting out of the sweat filled, stale air of most gyms is desirable for many.  The Nordic Walking poles can be taken with you in a bag, or carrying case.  It’s really your ‘gym on the go.’

How Does It Work?

Nordic Walking poles will combine your upper body movements and balance, rhythmically to generate physical strength along with the burning of calories.

Almost immediately, you’ll begin to notice the difference in yourself.

Shapely leg muscles

Shapely leg muscles  masterfile image

A healthier heart is one benefit.   Also, weight loss and a much improved posture along with those developing back muscles.  Leg muscles will also begin to take shape, especially the calf muscles.

Keep in mind though, that there is a right and wrong way to walk with Nordic Walking poles.

Equipment We Need

There is an old saying that says :  “We get what we pay for.”  That same is true when we choose a walking pole.  Proper walking poles can vary in cost.  Anywhere from about $60.00 to $200.00 or more.  Depending on what you are looking for.

Regardless of which you choose, they will all give you that needed overall workout.  However, some are more efficient than others.  So how do you know which to purchase?

What about our feet?  We need to keep them in shape also.  Proper footwear is highly important.

The terrain we will be walking through makes a difference also.  So does the weather conditions and time of year.  These are things to consider when walking out of doors.

LightWeight And Ready-To-Go

Often times we think of walking poles as heavy, or awkward to use.  Not so with Nordic Walking poles.  For instance, Alpine type poles or cross country poles are designed for specific types of terrain.

Consider your terrain

Consider your terrain

Most cross country skiing poles are much too long for everyday walking, and the Alpine type pole is specially weighted at the bottom to help keep a person balanced as the pole is used for moving brush, and small bushes out of the way.

Nordic Walking poles are lightweight, yet extremely sturdy.  Adding these to your “arsenal” of exercise equipment will be a great investment.  Most are designed to fit your height, and walking experience.

Where To Walk

Ideally, a 3 or 4 foot wide path is perfect.  Paved, gravel, grassy, sand, or even a bit rougher terrain is perfect for getting started.  Since we are using the Nordic Poles to help propel us as we walk, we’ll note that most walkers will keep their poles to the sides and slightly behind their bodies.

Have you considered walking in water?  It’s a very low impact way to walk.

Once you begin your training, you’ll enjoy it’s almost immediate benefits.

Walking in Water

Walking in Water

Happy Walking!

Have you used Nordic Walking Poles?  Let us know your experiences below.

Written by :   Tom McDaniel Share this site

Images by: masterfile,123rf,boomyah,hisgloryinourstory