Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The Nordic Sports Blog was launched to help promote all Nordic sports: Nordic skiing (cross country skiing), Nordic walking, Nordic running, Nordic snowshoeing and Nordic blading (in-line skating or roller blading with poles). These healthy activities originated in Scandinavia. And all of these Nordic activities include the use of sport specific poles – improving balance, stability and overall fitness.

Check out our new Nordic Sports Blog at: http://nordicsportsusa.blogspot.com
I love cross country skiing (Nordic skiing). Cross country ski racers are proclaimed to be the most aerobically fit athletes on the planet. Cross country skiing was the first of the Nordic Sports. Then came Nordic Walking. Nordic Walking Poles not only help to burn more calories than regular walking, the poles help to reduce stress to the weight bearing joints and improve balance/stability.

When I was forced to stop running marathons I discovered that Nordic Walking Poles helped to radically reduce the stress to my knee. My wife and I were never compatible as running partners, but Nordic Walking together has been fantastic. Now we are actually Nordic running (running with our Nordic Walking Poles) up the hills of our favorite trail here in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

As a ski coach I know that ski walking and hill bounding with poles are key components to summer training for ski racers deprived of snow. Walking with poles can help to turbo charge everyone’s walking campaign. Walking with poles can burn up to 40% more calories than regular walking. And that is why the American Nordic Walking System and WWW.SKIWALKING.COM developed the three basic levels of Nordic Walking – allowing ALL ages and ALL fitness levels to find the ideal level of exertion. More Nordic Walking info on how to get started walking effectively with poles can be found at: http://www.skiwalking.com/getStarted.asp

Given the many health benefits of Nordic Skiing and Nordic Walking it is important to look into Nordic Blading and Nordic Snowshoeing. Both of these activities take existing fitness activities and make them better by adding poles to increase upper body involvement/workout and improve balance, stability and back support. Blading (in-line skating or roller blading) and snowshoeing with poles really does help to eliminate back pain – helping to automatically improve posture without having to think about it. Adding poles to these fitness activities has proven to be a win-win situation.

Nordic Sports provide us with some unique fitness options that are huge and successful in Europe and doable here in the USA regardless of time of year:

Nordic Skiing: ideal anywhere there is snow. NO lift ticket required. Huge calorie burn, plus gentle on the weight bearing joints.

Nordic Walking: can be done successfully anytime of year and in any climate. Removable rubber tips make Nordic Walking doable on pavement, in the mall and on indoor/outdoor tracks. Remove the rubber Nordic Walking tips and you are good to go on trials, the beach, snow and ice.
Nordic Blading: in-line skating with poles requires dry pavement and hard surfaces. Nordic Blading is a great way to get a better workout while skating. Balance and stability are greatly improved.

Nordic Snowshoeing: can be done anywhere there is snow and may be perceived as easier than cross country skiing in certain terrain and in certain snow conditions. If it is a little icy for cross country skiing it may be the perfect time for Nordic Snowshoeing - adding poles to snowshoeing not only improves balance and stability, the stress to the lower back is often eliminated completely!

Poles are obviously a key to all of the fantastic Nordic Sports. It is important to note that Nordic Skiing and Nordic Blading are done exclusively with durable one-piece poles. And when it comes to Nordic Walking and Nordic Snowshoeing it has been proven repeatedly that one-piece poles are safer, lighter and much more durable than cheap twist-locking adjustable/telescoping/collapsible poles. I am contacted everyday from individuals that have experienced problems with their poles equipped with twist-lock systems. Skiers don’t use cheap twist-lock poles and neither should Nordic Walkers or Nordic Snowshoers. The cheap twist-lock poles included in many snowshoe kits often fail right out of the box and if not right out of the box they are not durable enough to hold up with repeated use.

Nordic Sports are huge in Europe and are improving the health and fitness of millions. Hopefully as more Americans become aware of the many benefits of Nordic Sports we will see an increase in Nordic Skiing, Nordic Walking, Nordic Running, Nordic Blading and Nordic Snowshoeing.

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