Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nordic Walking Introduced During “Women’s Wellness Weekend” at Michigan’s Kettunen Center

The setting was all "Up North" Michigan – beautiful trails, sunny skies and lakeside. The participants were eager to learn about Nordic Walking. My Nordic Walking class reviewed the history of Nordic Walking, the equipment (poles), included lots of testimonies from happy fans of Nordic Walking and provided plenty of time to test drive real Nordic Walking Poles equipped with removable rubber tips for use on hard surfaces + metal tips for trails, the beach, snow and ice + real Nordic Walking Straps (kind of like fingerless gloves. The comfortable patented straps allow for an efficient and effective backward push-off – eliminating the need to grip the poles and allowing the fingers to remain relaxed. The power is transmitted from the heel of your hand into the cradle of the strap.

1st there was "Ski Walking" and "Hill Bounding" with poles – effective summer training routines for expert skiers deprived of snow during the summer months. Then came trekking poles – the poles helped backpackers eliminate knee and back pain from the poor posture and heavy packs. Then came Nordic Walking – special poles that can be used pretty much any where any time – in the city, in the country and up in the mountains. Real Nordic Walking Poles, like ski poles, are a durable one-piece design. These one-piece poles when used in the correct length radically reduce the stress to the shins, knees, hips and back. One-piece poles are safer, lighter and much more durable than twist-locking adjustable length/telescoping/collapsible poles. One-piece poles also do not rattle and vibrate like twist-lock poles do.

One of the participants ran back to her room to bring her twist-locking poles to show the group. When she attempted to adjust the length of the poles the shafts just kept spinning and refused to catch and tighten – typical of many twist-lock type poles. Many individuals have contacted me regarding the benefits of one-piece poles after their twist-lock poles failed – they loved the concept of walking with poles, but hated the twist-locks.

While demonstrating the 3 basic levels of the American Nordic Walking System all of the participants noticed that their backs where straighter and that their arms where much more engaged than when walking without poles. Individuals with hip and arthritis issues were pleasantly surprised at how the poles eliminated the pains that came with regular walking.
The group had been kayaking earlier in the day so their arms took extra notice of the increase muscle use – especially when practicing Level 2 and Level 3. The poles proved a huge hit while climbing hills and eliminated knee pain on the downhills.

Thanks again to the Kettunen Center for providing such a great setting and wonderful programs.
The Kettunen Center website:

For more info about Nordic Walking Poles: WWW.SKIWALKING.COM

To learn more about The American Nordic Walking System: