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Walking Poles

My Workout Weapon of Choice

I just got back to my desk after slipping out for an hour of fun and adventurous butt-kicking (my own). Whenever I have had a little too much fun or strayed away from my healthy lifestyle, I don’t fret about it, I take care of it right away (really, I do!). So this morning, after a weekend of catching up with girlfriends, eating and drinking a tad too much, I took to the hills – Nordic Walking Poles in hand.

Nordic skiers are among the fittest athletes on the planet and walking poles are a cross training tool used by competitive Nordic skiers to stay in shape in the off-season. Here are some workout ideas for you using the poles (paired with running shoes or snowshoes).

Start Slow to Go Fast!
I start out slowly, with a warm up that consists of walking while using my poles as kind of a barbell for upright rows, overhead presses, and lateral raises (about 25 reps per). Then, I’ll strap my poles on and walk/jog for about 5-8 minutes. This gets my upper and lower body moving in harmony – using the poles as an extension of me – propelling me forward.

Today, I simply did hill intervals for intense cardio and internal cleansing via the lymphatic system. However, you can create just about any kind of workout you want. See below for ideas.

Workout Ideas
• Basic Training—Walk/Jog Cardio RPE 7-8 for 30+ minutes
• Incline Challenge—5-8 Intervals @ RPE 8.5-9.5
• Destination Exercises—Walk/jog to an inspiring spot and do 5-10 bodyweight & gravity exercises
• Flexibility–Post Workout—Stretches

Advanced Training—Bounding/Freestyle
• Double poles
• Diagonal strides
• Bounding, hopping, skipping, jumping

The Benefits of Nordic Walking and Using Poles
Terrific for All ages and abilities—walking with poles is simply an extension of walking or running:
• You’ll blast 20-40% more energy than walking without poles
• Recruit more muscle fiber—Tone back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, core (abs, spine)
• Better posture naturally—Back, neck, shoulders, spine
• Elimination of joint pain—Takes tension out of joints (esp. knees downhill—poles are like having 2 extra legs!)
• Activity that’s fun, social and gets you outdoors!

Safety Tips
• Always warm up—prevent sprains and strains
• Avoid tripping—look at least 10-15 feet ahead
• Don’t slip! Avoid stepping on wet roots, ice, and oil patches
• Check equipment

Koelbel Koelbel