Two reasons for long cyber-silence on this blog
I haven’t posted anything on this blog for months and months. Reason #1: I had been suffering from excruciating and ever worsening pain from back issues for months, and sitting at the computer made it worse. Reason #2: Nordic Walking appears stuck, still with virtually no cooperation or joint promotion among training organizations or pole-makers to grow the sport. It remains stuck with small isolated islands of activity and local growth scattered in the US and most of the promoters jealously guarding their small pieces of Nordic Walking turf.
Throughout my ever-increasing pain (until the last couple of weeks before my January 29 surgery), I still managed to Nordic Walk almost every day, do a TV program called “Classical Stretch” and take a weekly Pilates class. Because I remained relatively fit till the end, my surgeon agreed to try minimally invasive micro-decompression surgery rather than a fusion. Walking was the recommended rehab activity, and less than 24 hours after the outpatient procedure, I went on a 2/3-mile walk around nearby park. From the next day on, I have walked between 2 and 3½ miles every day, and I have been uncharacteristically conscientious about physical therapy. I have been pain-free since the day after surgery, and now, of course, I wonder why I did so much for so long to avoid surgery. I hope that in some way, by reviving this blog, I can encourage other people to Nordic Walk to get in shape, get in better shape, lose a few pounds and get outdoors in the fresh air.
Attrition in the Nordic Walking Community
A number of Nordic Walking pole manufacturers that entered the American market have withdrawn or stopped producing specialty products entirely, and some people who were active no longer are so. It came as a sad surprise when I learned that Suzanne Nottingham, a committed and energetic fitness pro and author of a technique book called Nordic Walking for Total Fitness, had thrown in the towel and folded her Nordic Walk Now program. Suzanne and I were on the same page about the necessity for all players to work together if fitness walking with poles is ever to grow in this country. Or maybe all it would take is for Michelle Obama to beging using poles for a walking workout.
I’m again trying my part. Please leave comments to my upcoming posts, recommend this blog as a resource and keep on walking.
Malin Svensson’s package audio workouts, book, poles, pedometer & more
Malin Svensson, a certified international Nordic Walking coach, has assembled several key products into a kit called “My Nordic Walking Coach” to keep Nordic Walkers on track and their technique tuned up. She wears several hats in the Nordic Walking community, the first of which was her LA-based Nordic Walking USA. Malin’s business is no relation to this blog, except similar names and a passion for fitness walking with poles.
She teaches the International Nordic Walking Association technique — born in Europe and imported to the US — that calls for powering through each strike with a straight arm, a definite push with the pole and a slight forward lean. Deviations from the technique can diminish the maximum benefit from the workout, and Svensson’s kit is designed to help combat problems the way a coach would.
The basic standard kit ($147, above) includes her book called Nordic Walking, five CDs containing eight workouts, a pedometer, a four-week calendar and a magnet so you have no excuse not to put it on the fridge. Click here to order. The deluxe kit ($295, or $327 with three payments of $109) also includes pair fixed-length LEKI Platinum poles. Click here to order.
UK-based David Downer launches the Nordic Walking community into cyberspace
Communications and idea/information exchanges among Nordic Walkers (both instructors and regular people who like to get out with NW poles) have been difficult to launch and frustrating to maintain. My admiration has gone to David Downer, who pioneered it all, combining his passion for Nordic Walking with his online efforts. First, he wrote and published Nordic Walking Step by Step, a downloadable NW instruction manual illustrated with many photographs.
Then he founded and has rigorously and maintained and moderated a Nordic Walking forum on YahooGroups.com. He has done this for four years (or to be totally accurate, it will be four years on January 12). The forum has racked up nearly 3,400 posted message since then — and who knows how many others were not approved because David (and/or co-moderators brought on board since ’06) deemed them inappropriate or otherwise unworthy.
More recently, David established a weekly on-line news report, not surprisingly called “Nordic Walking News Weekly,” with updates on what’s happened in the widespread but ultimately small world of Nordic Walking. To subscribe, click here and enter your first name and E-address. Malcom Jarvis, a co-moderator on the eCommunity forum, is the editor.
Most recently, he announced a 12-member virtual advisory board of “top Nordic Walking leaders and educators from around the world: for his latest project, an online magazine is in the works, perhaps launching this month.David is the publisher. Malcolm is the editor. And hopefully, we’ll all be the readers. Meanwhile, in case you want to know who the top 12 in the English-speaking world are, here’s their list (and if it weren’t nearly 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday evening, I’d insert links to all of their affiliations):
- Marko Kantaneva (Industry Pioneer & Founder: PoleAbout)
- Tom Rutlin (Industry Pioneer & Founder: Exerstrider)
- Suzanne Nottingham (Founder: Nordic Walk Now)
- Mike Gates (Managing Director: Community Fitness Australia Pty Ltd & WalkAbout Inclusive Network (W.I.N)
- Mike Rollason (Director: Nordic Walking UK & Nordic Walking International)
- Catherine Hughes (Co-Founder: British Nordic Walking / INWA Coach for England)
- Karen Ingram (Co-Founder: British Nordic Walking / INWA Coach for Wales)
- Malin Svensson (President: Nordic Walking North America & Representing INWA in North America)
- Gary Johnson (Vice President: Nordic Walking North America & Representing INWA in North America)
- Patrick Burtscher (Managing Director: Nordic Academy, Australia)
- Maree Farnsworth (National Training Manager: Nordic Academy, Australia)
- Martin Christie (Training Manager: Nordic Walking UK)
So thanks to David, Malcolm and others for keeping the Nordic Walking communication ball rolling and refreshed.
As regular visitors to this blog might infer from my recent infrequent posts, I have been traveling a lot lately. Since October 8, I have been in Mexico, Louisiana and California with little time between trips. Even though I traveled with a laptop, I was busy all day and much of the evening every day I was away. I’m still catching up.
That is a long explanation of why, until today, I missed the review of my Nordic Walking: The Complete Guide to Health, Fitness and Fun that Wendy Baumgardner, About.com’s “walking guide” posted on October 12. She has been following and supporting Nordic Walking for years and herself took LEKI’s Nordic Walking instructor program.
I was especially pleased to read, “This book succeeds best in being a resource for nordic walking rather than a tutorial in exactly how to use nordic walking poles.” That was my intention. She and I are in agreement that Nordic Walking technique is best introduced by an instructor rather than from a book. IMO, especially for a physical activity rather than, say, a craft that one does while sitting in one place, print can supplement but not be a substitue for personal instruction, which includes on-the-spot demonstration, error detection and encouragement in a way that no book ever can.
Boulder Bookstore to host my upcoming book signing
I try to post notice of upcoming Nordic Walking events around the corner and around that world, including workshops, classes, races and fitness festivals. Now, I’m alerting you to an event that is near and dear to me: my upcoming presentation and book signing of Nordic Walking: The Complete Guide to Health, Fitness and Fun at the Boulder Bookstore on Monday, September 14, at 7:30 p.m.
I’ll talk about getting started, equipment (poles and footwear), benefits and more. And I’ll sign the book as well. The Boulder Bookstore is at 1107 Pearl Street on the beautiful Pearl Street Mall. If you are anywhere within resonable distance, I hope to see you there.
Boulder classes, a pole-friendly footrace and my upcoming presentation
Free Nordic Walking Classes
Boulder’s Fleet Feet Sports
reprises its free Nordic Walking classes/group walks on the first and third Saturday of each month beginning at 9 a.m. They are taught by Lilly Johnson (left, presiding over a prize drawing after a special Nordic Walking class last June). She is a former world-class runner who was forced out of her first sport by injury and who has enthusiastically embraced Nordic Walking. Pole rentals, $5. 2624 Broadway (between North and Alpine), Boulder; 303- 939-8000.
Low-Cost Rec Center Class Series
Boulder Parks & Recreation again has included Nordic Walking on its Fall 2009 class schedule
. A series of eight classes will be held at the East Boulder Rec Center on Tuesdays, 10:00-11:00 a.m., from September 15 through November 3. The instructor is Kristen Rupert. The cost is $54 for residents and $68 for non-residents, including use of poles. Register online
using class code 112987. Day-care is available during the time of this class.
“Panerathon” Welcomes Nordic Walkers
It’s not exactly in Boulder and it’s not exactly a marathon, but the Panerathon
5K and 10K coming up in Westminster on Sunday September 13, is a footrace and it does welcome Nordic Walkers. The registration fee is $25 until September 10 and $35 on race day for ages 18 to 59, and $20 for ages under 18 and over 60. On race day, all fees are $10 more. Included are chip timing, an event T-shirt, goody bag and post-race expo complete with refreshments compliments of the sponsor, Panera Bread
. The event supports the Food Bank of the Rockies
. If you can’t enter on the 13th (or if you want a second shot), the Colorado Springs Panerathon
is scheduled for October 10, benefiting Care and Share
. For more information on either event, call 303-799-1900, ext. 215.
Claire’s Book Presentation
Candy Harrington is the go-to authority for living and traveling with physical disabilities. She is editor of Emerging Horizons, author of a couple of books on accessible travel (including Barrier-Free Travel; A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers) and radio host, whose advice is gospel to people with mobility and balance issues, including individuals whom she describes as “slow walkers.”
I am delighted at her recommendation of my book, Nordic Walking: The Complete Guide to Health, Fitness and Fun, to her readers. She wrote: “I have to say that when Claire contacted me about her new title, I was pretty skeptical that it would apply to my market. But then she gave me a little food for thought. ‘Nordic Walking, which is fitness walking with specially designed poles, also has a component for people with neurological or balance issues,’ she wrote. ‘For many, two poles provide security and stability, allow the user to stand up straighter (not hunched over a walker or cane) and yet have the security of ‘four-wheel drive’. So indeed this sport may be a good option for some slow walkers or folks who lack balance.”
Harrington concluded her recommendation with, “Last but not least, make sure and read Claire’s excellent Nordic Walking Blog. Some of the routes and trails she details in her blog are also great for wheelchair-users, so check it out!”
Glowing recommendation for my Nordic Walking book
Bill Terwin (right) from Moncton, New Brunswick. blogs as Nordic Walking Maritime Canada, which is devoted to Nordic Walking in the Atlantic provinces. There’s a lot to write about, because Nordic Walking seems resonate with folks there. There are classes, groups and footraces that permit poles. Terwin found time to read my Nordic Walking book and write a review that is short but oh-so-supportive. He wrote:
“What I like most about Claire’s book is her honesty. She tells you from
the very start that she’s not an expert on Nordic Walking. She does what she
does best………learns as much as she can about the topic, finds the leading
experts on NW as to fitness, equipment etc. and brings them into the pages of
the book. Well done Claire.There is something here for everybody. I recommend
Thanks, Bill. Your recommendation means a lot. You are quite a guy yourself. You sign your Emails noting that Bill Trewin is from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. He is in his late 50s, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 49, and has completed one full marathon and 18 half marathons. He writes that he “feels the exercise especially Nordic Walking continues to provide him with very positive effects.”
“Fit!” features Nordic Walking: The Complete Guide to Health Fitness & Fun
Boulder Daily Camera reporter Aimee Heckel wrote twin features about Nordic Walking that appear on the front page of the well-read “Fit!” section. “Walk Like a Scandinavian,” subtitled “Boulder Author Offers Tips on this Increasingly Popular Sport,” features quotes from my book, Nordic Walking: The Complete Guide to Health, Fitness and Fun, and a cover image.
In a companion piece, Heckel selected the free Nordic Walking clinic offered by Fleet Feet Sports as her “Workout of the Week.” For some reason, that piece is not available online, or at least not yet. The class is taught by Lilly Johnson, once an elite runner with the Olympics in her sights, “but had to stop competing four years ago due to a heart condition that left her heart beating too slowly, compounded with a knee injury,” Heckel wrote. Johnson took up Nordic Walking and has now been teaching it for three years.
Heckel’s conclusion about Nordic Walking after the class was, “This might be my new favorite low-impact exercise. Sure, it looks funny. But it was such a simple way to get a great workout without the jarring impact of running.”
Writing a personal review of my new Nordic Walking book on the Nordic Walking News blog, Malcolm Jarvis of Nordic Walking Leeds noted, “I very much warm to the writing style which is informal and chatty but nonetheless very well researched and informed. Also, the book does not advocate any one technique over another and instead, offers an ‘expanded Nordic Walking menu’ (to quote Tom Rutlin). The author’s enthusiasm for Nordic Walking is evident.” He recommends the book, and I thank him for his enthusiasm.