Tag Archives: walking poles

Explore the Poles

2 Apr

No, not the ones covered in ice, with penguins and polar bears.  I’m talking about Nordic Walking Poles.

Nordic walking poles are rubber tipped metal rods that resemble cross-country ski poles.  Using poles while walking is a relatively new practice, but it is a great workout for all levels because the poles offer stability and the routine is considered low-impact.  While they weigh just a little more than a pound total, they’ll help you burn a surprising 25 to 30 percent (some claim as high as 45%) more calories with out adding impact. 

Walking with Nordic poles gives you an upper body workout while taking stress off the ankles and knees.  Each time you push off the pole you target two areas every woman wants help with—the triceps (the backs of the arms) and the abdominals.  You’ll also tone the upper back and chest.  Nordic walking also strengthens your heart and helps you lose weight.     

Nordic poles are a great and safer alternative than walking with hand weights.  The poles come equipped with comfortable hand grips and wrist straps that allow you to keep your hands relaxed, reducing the the gripping action that can elevate blood pressure.  And the poles can actually help you walk faster, rather than slowing your pace as hand weights do. 

For local readers, I noticed that our Wal-Mart now has Walking Poles.  Look for them in the Fitness Department, not Hiking and Camping.  You can also find them at most sporting goods stores or look for them on-line. 

Though the poles offer an excellent workout, there are a few drawbacks I should mention.  First, Nordic walking does have a small learning curve.  You can’t just unpack the poles and start walking.  Using the right form is important to reaping the many benefits.  The biggest challenge is coordinating your arms and legs.  Fortunately, most sets come with instructional pamphlets or DVDs.  There are also a number of websites that provide instructions on how to perfect your form.  Secondly, some women have mentioned feeling self-conscious about using the poles.  They don’t want to be labeled as the Weirdo with the Poles.  In my opinion the calorie burning, muscle toning benefits are well worth a little name calling, but if the benefits are not enough to make you brave the poles alone, recruit a friend (or a personal trainer) to Nordic-walk with you.