Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Walking for fitness more effective with Nordic Walking poles

Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada

Miramichi Leader
Walking for fitness more effective with poles
Published Monday January 12th, 2009
Scott Campbell of Incline Sports

GUEST COLUMN — We all know how important it is to stay mobile and active. If you look outside, you will notice that walking is a popular way to get some exercise. It is, however, difficult to reap large fitness rewards by walking. Today I want to talk about other walking activities that can easily boost your results and help you reach your goal.
What is nordic walking? It is walking with poles. Poles designed for nordic walking are best and the length is also key. The nordic walking technique will give you similar benefits to cross country skiing. There can be an increase in oxygen consumption and caloric expenditure of up to 40 per cent.
Regular walking only uses the legs, while the arms are used for balance. Vigorous arm action will help increase walking speed and drive your legs. Using Nordic Walking poles, you add resistance to the arm action. This engages the core, chest, back and arm muscles.
Many people suffer from back, hip, knee and ankle pain due to too much weight on the joints, loading misaligned joints, lack of spinal stability, and injury, etc. Hard paved surfaces contribute to impact-related injuries. The nordic walking poles simulate two extra legs, giving the body a beneficial weight distribution. This results in less stress on the joints.
Nordic walking increases muscular endurance in the upper body, which seems to have a positive effect on muscles involved in daily work tasks.
Nordic Walking requires torso rotation with each step. This increases the flexibility of the muscles in the thoracic area. A number of posterior and anterior upper body muscles originate on the thoracic spine and ribcage. These muscles increase in mobility as a result of the torso rotation.
Hikers and trekkers who walk on rough terrain and carry large loads have long used poles for added stability. Any individual who has a problem with balance can receive great benefits from the stability provided by the nordic walking poles. The poles can be beneficial to pregnant women as they experience a changing center of gravity. It is like walking with two extra legs.
People have given up running when they have learned that they can achieve the same heart rate from nordic walking as they can with running. This is due to the increase in muscle usage. The upper body is working in nordic walking. This causes a greater demand for oxygenated blood. As the walker becomes more conditioned, he can use more challenging terrain to reach a higher intensity workout.
Many nordic walkers say they have more fun nordic walking than regular walking because it gives them more variety and definitely more exercise!

1 comment:

The American Nordic Walking System said...

Bill's post about Nordic Walking is packed with proven facts and includes some of the many benefits of walking with Nordic Walking Poles.

True Nordic Walking really does burn up to 40% more calories than regular walking. Because ALL ages and ALL fitness levels can benefit from using Nordic Walking Poles we developed the American Nordic Walking System - because not everybody needs to be locked into a mandatory full arm extension and intense push-off. The American Nordic Walking System developed three basic levels. All levels radically reduce the stress to the shins, knees, hips and back.

Level 1 burns 20% more calories than regular walking and makes walking doable again for individuals with balance issues, shins splints, knee, hip and back issues. Level 1 Nordic Walking is similar to regular hiking. And because a full arm extension is not required or is putting extreme pressure into straps, individuals with arthritis, scoleosis, carpal tunnel, rotor cuff and other issues can successfully walk at Level 1. Even individuals with MS, Parkinson’s and Neuropathy find the 4-Wheel-Drive action of Level 1 Nordic Walking much more comfortable and effective than walking with a cane or walker.

Level 2 burns up to 30% more calories than regular walking and includes a full arm extension. This full arm extension automatically increases stride length and tempo – all at the same time re-enforcing improved walking posture (shoulders back and hips forward). When switching from Level 1 (casual Nordic Walking) to Level 2 it is like shifting gears in a car.

Level 3 is true Nordic Walking and burns up to 40% more calories than regular walking. Most Americans find Level 3 a little intense, but it really does most simulate cross country skiing. Level 3 includes the full arm extension, a firm pole plant and pressure into the cradle of the Nordic Walking straps (through the heel of the hand). As with Levels 1 and 2, Level 3 re-enforces good posture when done correctly.

Effectively performing these three basic levels of Nordic Walking requires the perfect length Nordic Walking poles and poles that are equipped with real Nordic Walking straps. My favorite straps are patented by the Salomon Ski Company. There are many cheap imitation straps out on the market and many cheap twist-locking adjustable length/telescoping/collapsible poles. One-piece poles have proven to be safer, lighter and much more durable than cheap twist-locking poles.

For more info about the American Nordic Walking System contact: WWW.SKIWALKING.COM - all 14 lengths in-stock and ready to ship. Free Nordic Walking DVD included.

Have FUN Nordic Walking!

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