Category Archives: Dept of Misinformation

Department of Misinformation XXII

Wrong country attribution for Leki.

FrustrationNordic Ski Colorado, an on-line newsletter is encouraging Nordic skiers to become Nordic Walkers in the off-season when there’s no snow on the ground. An article called “Nordic Walking…Summer Fitness and Conditioning” is good far as it goes.

Exception: The sentence, “Leki, a Finnish pole manufacturer, claims that over seven million Scandinavians, Germans and Austrians have taken up the sport.” caught my eye. Leki poles don’t come from Finland rather than Germany, where it was founded in 1948.

Department of Misinformation XXI

Not ski poles. Definitely not ski poles.

FrustrationFrom a UK post, “New Fitness Walking Activity on Offer at Luton’s Stockwood Park“: “NORDIC Walking sessions have been introduced in Stockwood Park for people who want to improve their fitness. Nordic Walking involves walking with ski poles to ensure the upper body muscles are used as well as the leg.”

How often do Nordic Walking advocates explain that walking poles are similar to, but not the same as, ski poles? Seemingly, not often enough. Some of the confusion might come from the fact that “ski walking” is one of the several names that what I refer to as “Nordic Walking” has gone by.


Department of Misinformation XXI: Target Walking Pole Ad

Q. What is wrong with this picture? A. A whole lot

I did a double-take when I saw the Target sales flyer in today’s newspaper with a full page ad on page 5 on fitness equipment. Under the banner headline, “Save on New Balance” are several fitness products. The big lead picture  shows a lean and smiling young woman walking with poles. One little copy block reads, “Sale $16 iPod armband or walking poles.” Another reads, “New Balance adjustable walk poles. Add another dimension to your workout.” A third reads, “Burn up to 45% more calories.”

Granted, Target or its ad agency didn’t specify “Nordic Walking” but referred to “walking poles,” but still, they look a lot like Nordic ski poles to me. The model is wearing black gloves, so I can’t tell where the black straps are affixed to the pole grips, but she is grasping both poles high on the grips. If  they were any brand of Nordic Walking poles, the straps would be lower down on the grip. Also, if she were doing anythng other than smiling and posing in a studio, she would have her front pole planted father back, the pole angle would be different and the fingers of her back hand would be loosened. And then there’s that back elbow sticking out behind her.The implication is also that New Balance is selling walking poles, but an examination of their website reveals no poles at all. Besides, what kind of poles of any sort can you buy for 16 bucks, even on sale?

With “friends” like Target, no wonder the general public, if they think about fitness walking with poles at all, doesn’t have a clue about what the proper poles are like or what the activity is all about.

Department of Misinformation, XX

No, not double-X rated, but the 20th weird online “explanation” of Nordic Walking  I”ve found. A website called Sooper Articles contains an eyebrow-raising gem called “what is Nordic Walking” by one Mett Robinson. I hope that the “explanation” is the result of mistranslation, not daunting misinformation on the part of the author.

It [Nordic Walking] is considered an aerobic activity that brings great benefits to the  physical state of the practitioners, with a low sense of tiredness. This sport  can be practiced outdoors, alone or in company, which will confer a fun feature.  There are also various ways to practice: in the water, skates or the most common  place is the nature trails.

The techniques are basically accompany the push up and slide, with a hand  motion.

The most basic are:

* Keep your shoulders relaxed.

* Do not push too hard and keep the rods in a diagonal position.

* The stick should be pushed behind the pelvis.

* After the push rod should be taken to fast forward and when end of the  stick is pushed to open the palm of your hand.

* The foot does come forward while the opposite hand and must fully support  the heel to the toes.




Department of Misinformation XIX: Harvard Doesn’t Know Everything

Harvard Health Letter misidentifies poles used for Nordic Walking

The new Harvard Health Letter, released under the prestigious Harvard Medical School name, in a piece called “Talking of Walking in Three Easy Pieces,” includes the statement:

“Using hiking poles on flat land has been dubbed Nordic walking because the motion resembles cross-country skiing and, by some accounts, the practice has a Finnish provenance.”

Oh no! Not again. Not another confusion between hiking poles and Nordic Walking poles!

Department of Misinformation XVIII

Another blog has declares Nordic Walking to be “new” and offers questionable equipment advice

From “Home Living News,” a UK blog by a ‘team of homemakers, gardeners, landscapers, coffee enthusiasts, chefs, and do-it-yourself home improvement specialists comes this tidbit of misinformation” from Lindsey, who just discovered it::

A Giant Step Towards Health: Nordic Walking Techniques

“Nordic walking is a new revolutionary technique that enhances the way people work out. It uses two walking poles that propel the person along, ensuring an upper and lower body workout. The walker takes big lunging steps forward, getting the quad muscles working. It’s becoming popular among personal trainers, gyms and physiotherapists worldwide.”

Nordic Walking is not new, as I wrote as a comment to that post. Nordic Walking does not require “big lunging steps.” If the prime muscle benefit were working the quads, leg lifts would arguably be more effective. And as for “become popular…worldwide,” we can only hope that its worldwide popularity increasing. When I see how much Nordic Walking (and generally walking) activity takes place in the UK, I can see how Lindsey would infer that it is more global.

Then there is the “Home Living News”  paragraph of equipment information:

“All these techniques make use of walking poles. The poles should be suited to the person – one that is too big or small might potentially cause an injury, so before you start, get a customised walking pole. Shoes are also an important accessory to avoid injury. Hiking boots are comfortable and offer loads of support.”

True, the poles “should be suited to the person,”  but efficiency and comfort are more of an issue than the injury-causing potential. There is no mention of the fact that correct pole size is possible by adjusting variable-length poles to the correct size or by using correctly sized fixed-length poles. And hiking boots? Not under most circumstances. Nordic Walking shoes? Yes, if available. Otherwise, walking shoes or trail-running — or other running shoes in that order of preference. But hiking boots? Preferably not.

The post is worth clicking on if only for an endearing image of two ladies walking on a pretty riverside path. At least one is wearing a skirt and one has a large purse slung across her shoulders. I

Department of Misinformation, XVII

“Collapsible ski poles”?!?!?! Say, what?

A UK site called Independent Minds, which might be an online versiuon of a print publication, ran a piece called “Five Spots for Winter Rambles,” describing fabulous-sounding route suggestions from Cornwall to the Isle of Skye. I’d love grab my poles to explore any or all of them.

One of the route listings contained this information (italics mine):

“How to do it: This is relatively easy walking, and well signed with Forestry Commission waymarkers to guide you; but if you do fancy joining a group, there’s a regular Nordic walking society (it’s walking but with collapsible ski poles to help exercise the upper body too) who take trips to Peaslake and neighbouring Hurt Wood.

“Further info: has plenty of info on the Nordic walking tours of the area, and the Hurtwood Inn Hotel can be found at”

How confusing to the non-Nordic Walker to read that collapsible ski poles help exercise the upper body. Would that insprie anyone to contact to learn more? I don’t think so.

Department of Misinformation, XVI

Is the Stoweflake’s program Nordic Walking on snow or snowshoeing with poles?

Or  could it be either, depending on trail conditions? I think I know what Patricia Harris and David Lyon meant in their piece called “Who says you have to ski to have fun?

“Feet feeling Nordic? This brisk activity using specialized poles works your body like a blend of yoga, cross-country skiing, and aerobics. By adding snowshoes to the mix, the winter version engages upper body muscles and simultaneously tones the abs. Chad Couto leads classes throughout the week on the groomed cross-country trails at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, but he gets really juiced about the 90-minute Saturday Nordic Walking Adventure excursion that goes beyond the resort to the Stowe Recreation Path and wooded trails. ‘If we are lucky,’’ he says, ‘we even get to spot deer and other critters.’ 1746 Mountain Road, Stowe, Vt., 800-253-2232, Nordic walking classes $15, includes snowshoes, poles, and instructor; see website for schedule. Nordic Walking Adventure at 10 a.m. Saturdays, $20.”

The cost of Stoweflake’s Nordic Walking classes includes use of snowshoes and poles, so is it a Saturday Nordic Walking adventure or a snowshoeing adventure? If you read it straight rather than reading between the lines, the graph above seemed a tad confusing to me.

Department of Misinformation, XV

Nordic Walking is a slow activity? Not exactly, though Dallas site claims it is

Until just a couple of posts ago, it had been quite some time since I came across a qualifier for the Department of Misinformation. but here’s doozy of a post from a Dallas real estate developer or management firm for residents of The Green in the Village.

Never mind that the post begins with condescenion (italics mine), “If you want an easy, effective workout and you don’t embarrass easily, then Nordic walking is the perfect exercise for you.” Never mind that the blogger also describes Nordic Walking poles as being “cute” and introduces the phrase, “sidewalk skiing,” yet another phrase for Nordic Walking (as if there weren’t enough already).

Then, the blogger (username: amarie2) wrote this major bit of misinformation, “With the aid of cute (I use this term loosely) Nordic walking poles (basically ski poles), you slowly walk through your neighborhood or local trail. In a nutshell, you will look like you are skiing on the sidewalk. Although you are walking slower, with Nordic walking you can increase your calorie burn about 20 percent over walking.”  Walking slowly? What?

Department of Misinformation, XIV

In a post titled, “How to Measure Nordic Walking Sticks,” an 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.