Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

6 Ways to Level Up Your Daily Walk

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Emily Pennington has an interesting article (gift link, no paywall) in the NY Times. You can read the entire article at the (gift) link, but here’s what she says about Nordic walking, the first item in her list:

Originally developed in Finland as a way to train cross-country skiers during the off-season, Nordic walkers use specially designed poles with rubber tips to grab the pavement and help engage the arms and core muscles, turning a simple walk into a full-body workout.

Trekkers who can stomach the goofiness of city walking with sticks will see, on average, a 22 percent increase in calorie expenditure and will consume 23 percent more oxygen. The more oxygen your body can consume, the more effectively it can generate energy during workouts.

Companies like Leki and Black Diamond sell various expensive, high-tech poles for would-be hikers, but proper technique is more important than the label. “Whether you use a pole with a handle and strap, or two sticks, the focus of ‘Nordic’ should really be on the fact that you’re using anything to engage your upper body,” said Kirk Shave, who trains Nordic walkers at Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa in British Columbia.

He said that you should hold the poles with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and your forearms parallel to the ground. [Wrong, wrong, wrong. – LG] Next, you should use your triceps to press the pole tips into the trail behind you and push off, propelling your body forward.

“The No. 1 problem for hikers, runners, walkers is ultimately knees and ankles,” Mr. Shave explained. Taking some of the strain off the lower body by using poles while walking on flat terrain and down hills can help avoid compression issues in these joints, he added.

Serious error in that report

The information regarding having one’s elbows bent at a 90-degree angle with the forearms parallel to the ground is simply wrong, according to my experience and my instructor. That position places the poles in front of you, which works for trekking poles, where you exert pressure straight down. But when you’re using Nordic walking poles, your arms swing freely and push back, to help propel your body forward. In Nordic walking, one’s arms are straight or only slightly bent — see the two videos in this post.

Written by Leisureguy

4 July 2022 at 12:42 pm

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