Sunday, September 7, 2008

Nordic Walking, High School Cross Country and Wild Blackberries

High School Runners Warming Up With Nordic Walking Poles

Scott Tinley, two-time Ironman World Champion, has recommended that runners warm up with a good walk prior to running. My high school track and cross-country teams follow that advice and often we use Nordic Ski Walking Poles during this important warm-up period. The poles help to radically reduce the stress to the shins, knees, hips and back. Runners with shin and/or knee issues often find that when using the correct length poles and proper technique their shin and/or knee pain is eliminated. We also hike up a super steep hill behind campus. Walking up hills helps to naturally and safely stretch the calf and achilles.

The wooded trails behind the school are ideal for running, walking and Nordic Ski Walking. Some sections of the trail are packed with wild raspberries and blackberries. I love coaching cross country - late summer and early fall is a great time of year. I am usually spotted at practices and races with my Nordic Ski Walking Poles. And occasionally I’m spotted picking wild blackberries – okay, maybe daily during blackberry season.

My athletes that are building up to longer runs, but lack distance base, find that a shorter run and a long hike with Nordic Walking Poles provides a winning combination. Athletes with shin splints or runners knee can substitute Nordic Walking for running and still get a great workout. Nordic Walking burns up to 40% more calories than regular walking and the poles work the upper body unlike regular walking and running. Nordic Walking is similar to cross-country skiing, but no snow and no skis are required.

We only use one-piece Nordic Walking Poles because they are safer, lighter and much more durable than cheap twist-locking adjustable/telescoping/collapsible poles. Perfect length poles are achieved when the elbow is at 90 degrees when the individual is strapped in and standing tall.

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.
Nordic Walking Poles are great for athletes, plus they are ideal for ALL ages and ALL fitness levels – including individuals with balance issues.

For more information about Nordic Walking Technique and Nordic Walking Poles contact The American Nordic Walking System and WWW.SKIWALKING.COM

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