In a post titled, “How to Measure Nordic Walking Sticks,” an eHow.com contributing writer identified as BStefano, put a whole lot of inaccuracies into one short paragraph. The italics in the following are mine to emphasize the most egregious misinformation: “Nordic walking sticks, also called trekking poles, were originally created for skiers who wanted to continue training in the warm months. Now adopted by walkers, the poles can turn an ordinary hike into a full-fledged, total-body workout. By some estimates, Nordic poles can boost calorie burn by as much as 40 percent over regular walking. When measured to the correct height and used properly, Nordic trekking poles also help walkers maintain good posture while walking, keep their balance on uneven or slick surfaces, take pressure off the hips and knees, and tighten and tone the upper body.”
First, we know that Nordic Walking sticks (aka, poles) are different from trekking poles in several significant ways. Bstefano evidently doesn’t. Second,we know that not skiers in general but Scandinavian cross-country racers began using poles for summer training, and this evolved into Nordic Walking. Third, BStefano seems to be confusing what we customarily think of as “hiking” with “walking” as we undertand it. Finally, “Nordic trekking poles” repeats the false premise with which this post was begun.
After that intro come three “Tips and Warnings.” One is “If you typically walk on a variety of hard and soft surfaces, flat surfaces and inclines, consider buying adjustable walking poles. These will allow you to shorten the length for uphill hikes or lengthen for downhill walking.” We all know that both adjustable and one-piece Nordic Walking poles all come with removable rubber paws or booties that slip over the metal tips to accommodate hard and soft surfaces. Nordic Walkers might want to adjust the pole length for long consistent uphills and downhills on steep terrain, as hikers using trekking poles often do.
Finally, the writer suggests, “Running with Nordic walking poles is not recommended, as it can result in muscle strains, tendon injuries and trip hazards.” This will come as a surprise to runners who do use poles, beginning with those original cross-country racers who ran hills with poles all the time and continuing to this day. In fact, running with Nordic Walking poles has a name: hill bounding.