The weathers warming up for those of us in winter climates. Maybe you’re getting out to go for walks and hikes more. One thing you might consider getting is some Nordic walking sticks and turn your stroll into a full body workout. I got a pair last summer and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I use my arms and core. If you’ve ever cross country skied you know what a great aerobic workout it is. Nordic walking is similar to cross country skiing in that it’s a full body workout. Think of it as an exaggerated normal walking pattern. When you plant the poles you’re using your arm and core muscles to push you forward. Did you know that ~90% of your muscles are used when Nordic walking and you burn 46% more calories? It’s a highly effective exercise for core strengthening and take the strain off of your back. It’s easier on your hips and knees too. You get eleven to thirty three percent off-loading on your knee joints. In fact there’s numerous research with people that had knee replacements that successfully used the poles pre and post surgery to speed up their recovery time.
There are many types of Nordic poles for walking and hiking, but the ones I bought are call Urban Poling and have a patented hand grip called a CoreGrip. It’s patented by an occupational therapist, so I had to support my fellow OTs product invention! The thing that’s unique about the grips is that there’s a ledge at the bottom of the grip for the little finger side of your right and left hands to rest on. As you walk and plant the poles you put downward pressure on the ledge of the Coregrip handle – which activates your arms and core muscles more.
So as you’re planning your walks and hikes consider trying a pair of Nordic walking poles. You’ll have less impact on your hips and knees, increase your core strength, walking tolerance, gait speed and balance. Plus you’ll have the many health benefits of walking outside taking in nature. It’s a win win!