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Nordic poles: What's the big deal?

 
 
Reyn
 
Reply Sun 8 May, 2011 06:23 pm
I've now seen a number of people using these while walking along (not hiking) in the city, on sidewalks.

I could maybe see them used while hiking, but can't see a real benefit during normal walking.

I'm imagining that there a small component of some upper body movement with the arms, but wouldn't you just get the same benefit by moving your arms without the poles?

Anybody have any ideas, or have you used them themselves?
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Type: Question • Score: 8 • Views: 1,196 • Replies: 16
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2011 06:31 pm
@Reyn,
I tried a borrowed pair on a short stretch of steep mountain trail. The steeper the trail, or the heavier the load the better they became. I've also done casual interviews with a few people using them on flat trails. They love them there too. Personally, I wouldn't use them much on concrete sidewalks. They have steel or carbide tips and would be quite noisy.

I read a review on one of the fitness sites that acknowledged they did a better job of burning calories than walking without them, though this is kind of counter intuitive, sort of on the order of lifting yourself by the bootstraps.

This has come up before, Reyn. Everyone on a2k that has tried them was positive.
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2011 06:35 pm
@roger,
Oh, okay, must have missed that thread.

So, you figure you burn more calories?

Hmm, I can't just swing my arms around and get the same effect?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2011 06:39 pm
@Reyn,
No, regarding the calorie consumption I'm passing along hearsay, though I recall it looked like a reputable source. It's just possible that the extra ease of walking has you moving along at a faster rate.

Oh, here's a negative. They tie up both hands. I can imagine times when that would be an issue, but I can justify anything if I try hard enough.

I think the last nordic pole thread was started by chai2. Don't know if she finally gave them a try, or not.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2011 07:06 pm
@Reyn,
I always assumed that the walkers used them in case of an encounter with a rogue aggressive dog or mountain lion, etc....
0 Replies
 
NordicKay
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2011 07:24 pm
It's a much more effective way to exercise, I tried and was hooked. Now I have my own Nordic Walking group, I use poles in events and Nordic Walk everyday. It engages the upper body and therefore uses 90 percent muscle, by pushing back on the poles you increase your stride and it's a great cardio workout. Burn up to 40 percent more calories and it's less stress on the joints than running or walking. Apart from the poles purchase and decent pair of shoes you don't need anything expensive, it's free and it's an outdoor activity.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2011 07:38 pm
@Reyn,
This should help you figure out if it is for you.



0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2011 07:57 pm
@roger,
roger wrote:

They have steel or carbide tips and would be quite noisy.



You buy rubber tips for the end roger, if you're going to be using them on asphalt or concrete. The tips are very inexpensive, a couple of bucks.

Yeah, I bought some, and it's one of those things that you have to try them to see the good they do.

It's maybe hard to describe, but many people don't walk correctly. Many people tend to lean forward (I'm sure women wearing high heels they aren't doing themselves any favors. they are putting most of their weight on the front of their foot, and literally toppling forward)
A persons big toe is a hinge. It's supposed to be flexible, and propel you in the direction of your next step.
The movement comes from the hip, letting your weight fall into your hip bones with each step. At the same time, your opposite shoulder should be falling back, which provides torque to you torso, again to move you forward. While walking, I think one should feel ever so slighty "seated" meaning you are aware that your center of gravity is right there in your pelvis, rather than the feeling that your chest is pulling you forward.

When walking with the poles, the opposite pole is hitting the ground the same time your heel meeting the ground, as your should moves back, it pushes back on the pole, and you are literally using some strength in your arms to propel yourself forward faster and stronger.

You know how runway models do that exaggerated walk? The way they move one shoulder back when they are moving the opposite leg forward? That's what gives them that look of confidence and command. They look like they're going somewhere, not just schlubing along.

Also, carrying the pole are a great defense. If I was approached by a dog, I could lift the pole up, extending my arms, looking much bigger. When holding the poles, there is a strap around your wrist so they can't be knocked away. If a person attacked me, I'd have a few extra feet to push them back with the strength of an underarm thrusting motion, or to hit them, etc.

I think this girl has a good walk. Entire foot flexes, shoulders down, not bunched up around her neck, relaxed and moving back and forth, letting weight land in her hips, that are built to take that weight. She looks confident.

Walking is a relaxed, entire body movement, not just windmilling arms in a bigger swing. If your shoulders, rotators aren't loose, it'll be a lot more effort, in a bad way.



0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2011 08:12 pm
Okay, thanks to all that's answered here. It's appreciated.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2011 08:15 pm
@Reyn,
I think we can put chai down as "fairly positive".
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 May, 2011 05:24 am
@roger,
roger wrote:

I think we can put chai down as "fairly positive".


Actually, that's about right. The poles serve their purpose, but I'm not going to say they're the best thing since sliced bread.

I'm not going to automatically reach for them when I just want to take a leisurely walk.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 May, 2011 03:13 pm
@roger,
It so people that use them can feel cool. Like I am such an athletic walker that I use Nordic poles - I am too cool and am cooler than you.

Or at least that is what I imagine.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 May, 2011 03:14 pm
@Linkat,
Then why do I feel like I look like a nerd when I use them?
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 May, 2011 03:16 pm
@chai2,
Because you know that you really aren't cool - thus why you use them - to try and look cool.

Doesn't work.

I prefer to do nerdy things and try to look nerdy that way I am actually cooler than the way I am trying to look.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 May, 2011 03:21 pm
@Linkat,
um....what?


Laughing

actually, I think it's that you don't see people using them in the streets or park here, so it hasn't developed a coolness factor.

I'm too tired to be a trailblazer.
0 Replies
 
hamburgboy
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 May, 2011 03:21 pm
@chai2,
a neighbour was very crippled by arthritis and had been using a walker for several years .
he now is using the nordic poles poles quite successfully and has no need for a walker anymore .

in switzerland people are often using nordic ( swiss ? Laughing ) poles in everyday walkabouts .
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 May, 2011 03:22 pm
Love 'em for hiking. Saves your knees on hikes with big elevation changes.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
 

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