Walk This Way

VT Fitness TrainingThere are so many exercise products available to the public to purchase and all come with miraculous results when you use them, that sometimes it is difficult to figure out what products to purchase for your home. Today I would like to present one of the three at home exercise tools that I think are the most effective to own for your home gym. I will present the other two in the following months.

I am going to start with Nordic Walking. Say what? You heard it right, “Nordic Walking. Okay, so what is it? Thought you never ask. Nordic Walking is walking with specially ergonomically designed poles that enable a person to use their upper body with coordination of the lower body. Using these poles effectively can increase muscular strength in the lats, triceps and core.
The reason this an effective tool are many
• Increases caloric expenditure by 46%
• Increases upper body strength and endurance
• Reduces stress n the joints (“….walking with poles can reduce accumulated force by about 6 tons over the course of a mile”) noted orthopedist J Richard Steadman of Vail Colorado
• Relieves neck and shoulder pain
• Improves neck and chest mobility
• Increases safety of walking, adds stability
• Allows the same exercise intensity as running without the high impact
• Reduces the rate of perceived exertion for a given exercise intensity
• Can be fun and social for all ages and abilities

How To Do It

The walker’s right arm is forward and slightly bent with the pole held at an angle. The left fist is past the line of the pelvis, and the left arm extends back during pole thrust. The right leg is extended at the ankle as it pushes off the ground. The left leg is forward with the heel making contact with the ground to begin a new stride.
The right arm’s pole thrust and the left leg thrust take place more or less simultaneously. The fists of the hands pass by one another slightly in front of the body, and the right-hand pole thrust begins as soon as it passes the line of the pelvis. At the same time the left arm swings under and forward with the fist and pole grip foremost. The right leg is slightly bent at the knee as it moves level with the left leg. The weight is supported by the left leg and the pole of the right hand.
The pole thrust is completed as the right arm extends itself fully. To effect complete arm extension, the palm of the hand opens out slightly and the final thrust is made via the pole strap. At the same time, the left fist and pole grip lift slightly upwards and forward as the arm bends at the elbow. The left leg is extended at the ankle as it thrusts off the ground while the right leg is forward with the heel strike beginning a new stride.

The right hand’s pole thrust ends with the palm of the hand opening out and the arm almost fully extended. The left arm’s pole thrust is beginning. The left leg begins its effort and the weight transfers to the right leg. The body leans markedly forward.
What kind of poles should you use? Well, you can use regular downhill ski poles, but they are not equipped with the rubber paws(tips) that the Nordic Walking specific poles have. Walking pole companies like Leiki, Excel, and others make poles that have ergonomically shaped grips and straps that make it easy to secure the poles to the hand and get the maximum use of the pole plant and push back as you propel yourself forward in the striding stage of the walk.

Should I buy telescopic poles; adjustable height poles? These work fine unless you are going to add running or plyometrics to your Nordic Walking program. Yes, there is more advanced forms of Nordic Walking that encompass stretches and body weight exercises. If you add the more aggressive forms or exercise, then you are going to need a pole that is durable and can support your body weight. My personal advise is Excels carbon fiber poles. They are strong and very light and will last a lifetime of Nordic Walking. There are other companies that also sell Walking poles.

Cost? Usually, the price of good Nordic Walking poles is in the range of $80.00 to $100.00. This is a lot cheaper than a gym membership, and you can’t beat the convenience of being able to exercise whenever the available time presents itself.

So in closing if you are interested in getting started or learning more about Nordic Walking you can email me, and I will be glad to set up and hour of personal instruction, or you can go to my website and see where and when I teach Nordic Walking classes.

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