Thursday, May 8, 2008


My Nordic Walking Poles are doing double duty these days - it is spring and time to hunt for the prized morel mushroom. When I’m not hosting Nordic Walking classes I am hiking with my family and using my favorite Nordic Walking poles in the woods in search of the elusive morel mushroom.

My kids have always loved mushroom season – it is like a marathon Easter egg hunt involving 2-5 mile hikes and NO whining because they are so excited (especially if I keep my poles strapped on and let the kids pick my finds). But kids, being closer to the ground, don’t usually need any help finding their own secret stash.

Our best morel mushroom finds involve long hikes through hilly terrain and my Nordic Walking Poles save the day – just as they did when I had to give up marathon running. The poles really do radically reduce the stress to the shins, knees, hips and back - on pavement, in the mall, on the beach, on your favorite trail or out bushwhacking. Even on the steepest terrain the 4-wheel-drive action of using poles makes bushwhacking much more enjoyable.

We tested our poles in the Grand Canyon last December and passed dozens of people that wanted to buy our poles on the spot. Again, the poles really saved the day. Using the right length poles reduces knee strain on downhills and reduces the stress to the lower back on the uphills. Sounds like magic, but it is just good physics. Poles are biomechanically a good thing!

Nordic Walking also burns up to 40% more calories than regular walking, works more muscle groups and improves balance and stability. As a ski coach it only makes sense to me to use one-piece poles for custom fit to my height for hiking and Nordic Walking. I find it hard to embrace twist-lock adjustable/telescoping/collapsible poles – given the reported issues with some twist-locks collapsing unexpectedly, vibrating excessively and/or making annoying clicking noises with every pole plant. Quality one-piece poles custom fit to each individual’s height are safer, lighter and more durable than twist-locking poles. Using perfect length poles and correct technique help to maximize the many benefits of Nordic Walking.

Perfect length poles help us to automatically walk with a super straight back - better walking posture is biomechanically a good thing. This improved walking posture when combined with the unique 4-Wheel-Drive type action of walking with poles radically reduces the stress to the shins, knees, hips and back. Nordic Walking is low impact and yet provides a highly effective workout - burning more calories and working more muscle groups than regular walking.

Backpackers didn’t discover the walking stick, but they knew a walking stick radically reduced the stress to the knees and back. Trekking poles became popular because two poles are better than one. And now, thanks to the ski coaches in Finland, there is Ski Walking or Nordic Walking – special poles with comfortable fingerless glove type straps and equipped with removable rubber tips for pavement and hard surfaces, plus metal tips for off-road, the beach, snow and ice.

Have FUN Ski Walking!

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