Other Sports - Nordic Walking
Other Sports - Nordic Walking

Other Sports - Nordic Walking

Dick Moss, Editor, Physical Education Update

If you have old cross-country ski poles lying around your equipment room, you can introduce your students to one of the newest fitness activities to hit North America--Nordic Walking. Nordic walking is regular dryland walking, but while using ski poles. It sounds simple, and it is. But it provides a number of advantages.

Nordic Walking Advantages

•Using poles increases an exerciser's heart rate above that of regular walking. It also increases the number of calories burned by 20-50%.

• The intensity of a workout can be increased by pushing harder with the poles.

• Nordic walking is low impact.

• It increases the load on the shoulders, arms and core for more balanced development of both upper and lower body.

• The poles improve balance over rough terrain.

• Poles are safer than hand or ankle weights because they're lightweight and do not increase impact stress.

• In fact, Nordic walking can be a good rehabilitation exercise, because the users' body weight is supported with the poles, which reduces pressure on the leg joints.

While you can introduce your students to this sport using old ski poles, enthusiasts can purchase high-tech, rubber-tipped Nordic walking poles. For example, $69.99 U.S. will purchase a pair of VIP Nordic walking poles.

Determining the Ideal Pole Length
Generally speaking, nordic poles are relatively short -- only long enough so the user's arms are at right angles when held in front of the body.

To get a more exact measurement, you can multiply the user's height by .68, then round up to the nearest five centimeters. Commercial poles come in five centimeter increments.

Not Really New
While this activity might be relatively new to North America, it has long been used as a form of dryland training by cross-country skiers. And it's a popular fitness activity in Europe, where over 3.5 million people are regular Nordic walkers.

References: 1. Chris Zdeb, "It's dorky, but good for you." Sudbury Star/Canwest News Service, March 10, 2006.

2. Nordic Walking Website, http://www.nordicwalking.com

3. SkiWalking Website, http://www.skiwalking.com


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