Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nordic Walking The VASA Trail - With Poles Spring/Summer/Fall

The VASA Trail is a beautiful trail network that is open year-round. The trails are ideal spring, summer and fall for hikers, runners and mountain bikers. And come winter, the professionally groomed cross-country ski trails provide thousands of skiers with a world class experience – just minutes from downtown Traverse City, Michigan.

I have skied all of the VASA trials. I ran them all before my knee forced me to give up running. The trails are also perfect for Nordic Walking in the spring, summer and fall. Now I’m Nordic Walking the VASA trials with my poles and loving it. I have had the opportunity to host Nordic Walking Clinics at the main trail head off of Bunker Hill Road and up at Timber Ridge Campground/Nordic Center (the start/finish area for the North American VASA Cross Country Ski Races).

Over 6 million Europeans are walking with poles! The ski countries of Scandinavia helped to launch Nordic Walking about 10 years ago. Ski coaches saw backpackers complaining about back and/or knee pain, but when they started using trekking poles the knee and/or back pain was radically reduced and often eliminated. Real Nordic Walking Poles are equipped with special fingerless glove type straps. The best straps are patented by the Salomon Ski Company. Real Nordic Walking Poles are also equipped with removable rubber tips for use on pavement and other hard surfaces. The poles’ metal tips are for use on trails, snow and ice.

One-piece poles are safer, lighter and much more durable than cheap twist-locking adjustable (also known as telescoping or collapsible poles). Nordic Walking Poles are helping individuals with balance issues too. Seniors and individuals with balance issues should avoid twist-locking poles that could collapse unexpectedly. A woman participating in one of my Nordic Walking Classes at Timber Ridge told our group of about 40 people that she "Super Glued" her $140 Titanium poles the night before because the twist-locks refused to twist-lock and hold. Participants in my Nordic Walking Clinics consistently share their stories about the twist-locking poles they accidentally purchased and the problems they have had with the twist-locks - the vibration, the noise from the twist-locks, the twist-locks locking up (requiring a pipe-wrench to change the settings), the twist-locks not holding, the poles annoyingly getting shorter and/or collapsing unexpectedly. I’ve never seen skiers using twist-locking adjustable length poles while skiing at the VASA Trail or out on the Birkie Trail. One-piece Nordic Walking poles are much more dependable and user friendly than twist-locking poles. Nordic Walking Poles are sized much shorter than cross-country ski poles.

Walking with poles burns up to 40% more calories than regular walking! The perfect length poles and proper technique help to radically reduce the stress to the shins, knees, hips and back.

Nordic Walking isn’t just for athletes - we are all supposed to walk for at least a 1/2 hour each day and Nordic Walking poles may just be the perfect answer. I love hosting Nordic Walking clinics for MS, Parkinson’s, Diabetes and Weight Management support groups. The poles have also proven extremely helpful for individuals with shin, knee, hip and back issues. I also love Nordic Walking with my family. Walking with poles is the best!

More info can be found at the American Nordic Walking System and WWW.SKIWALKING.COM

No comments: