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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.”
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.
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.
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 :
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.
Written by : Tom McDaniel Share this info.
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