Category Archives: Fitness

Wednesday is National Walking Day

First Wednesday in April is the day to walk — or walk more

NatlWalkingDay-logoThe American Heart Association promotes the first Wednesday in April as National Walking Day. The goal is to get as many people as possible to commit to walking for at least 30 minutes a day. Many of us already put in more time on  foot and with poles, but that that is the minimum that reduces health risks, according to the AHA.

Some communities, senior centers, rec districts and even companies organize National Walking Day activities for Wednesday, April 3 this year. The AHA offers a National Walking Day Toolkit for individuals and organizations. The US Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking solicits comments in the Federal Register on what the Call to Action should be to promote walking for health, wellness and fitness.

Malin Svensson’s Free Fitness Teleseminar

Nordic Body founder, fitness and Nordic Walking coach offers free tips

Malin Svensson, owner of Nordic Body in the LA. area and a multiply certified international fitness coach with a special concentration on Nordic Walking, is offering s a free teleseminar called “8 Simple Steps to Lose Weight, Look Great and Feel Sexy!” on Tuesday, April 10 at 5:30 p.m. PDT. Using online communications, she asks people:

  • Did your New Year’s resolution to lose weight only last 2 weeks?
  • Have you tried everything there is to look great but without results?
  • Are you too stressed and too busy to get started with a fitness routine?
  • Have you given up on feeling sexy or maybe  even forgotten how it feels?
  • Do you feel alone and helpless in trying to get the body you want and deserve?

Continuing, she adds, “If you have answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then you need to be on this complimentary teleseminar. I don’t know what topics she plans to cover, but whether or not Nordic Walking will directly be part of it, her orientation definitely is toward fitness walking with specially designed poles. To participate, you must register online before 4 p.m. PDT on the 10th.

Nordic Walking Part of New Brunswick Wellness Series

Hat’s off to the New Brunswick village of New Maryland for including Nordic Walking in its Wellness Series, according to The Daily Gleaner, which reported that “The village started the four-part series in late October to encourage participants to try physical activities to stay healthy. This final session, called Try Something New, will introduce Nordic walking techniques to citizens, said recreation co-ordinator Natalie Reid.”

The paper’s report continued, “If you can’t participate in the Tuesday evening session, the City of Fredericton will offer the Nordic walking session Nov. 10 from 10-11:30 a.m. at Willie O’Ree Place on Cliffe Street. Oromocto will host a Nordic walking session Nov. 10 from 1:30-3 p.m. at Hazen Park Centre in the town.”

New Maryland, a parish in York County, New Brunswick, with roughly 4,300 residents manages to put on a wellness program at the local elementary school,to  introduce Nordic Walking and to offer two back-up sessions. New Maryland does this in  some sort of partnership with a couple of nearby hamlets and the city of Fredericton to the north. And did I mention that the series is free? Or that New Maryland boasts several miles of marked walking/recreation trails accessible directly from the village center?

No mention of which technique is being introduced or which poles are being used in the Nordic Walking portion of this program. Just as it should be.

Nordic Walking Part of the President’s Challenge

National fitness initiative now includes fitness walking with poles

Five years ago, Suzanne Nottingham, a well-known fitness professional and early adopter of Nordic Walking in this country, connected with the President’s Council on Physical  Fitness, Sports & Nutrition to encourage them to incorporate fitness walk with poles into their recommendations. The Council-run President’s Challenge is is director to encourage all Americans to make being active part of their everyday lives, regardless of an individual’s activity and fitness level. The President’s Challenge can help motivate preople to start earning Presidential awards for aily physical activity and fitness efforts. There are age-appropriate categories (kids, teens, adults and seniors). For a time, fitness walking with poles has a spot in the President’s Council lexicon, and then for a time  it didn’t.

But it’s back, according to Nottingham, who runs California-based Nordic Walk Now.  She reports that Nordic Walking is now on the recommended list of fitness and sports activities. The Council has put out an educator’s manual with advice and activities for schools, recreational programs, wellness programs and senior centers.  And good news for the Nordic Walking world is that Suzanne Nottingham has been invited to become more involved and is writing (or will be writing) some of the Council’s material.

Switzerland’s Helsana Walking Trails

Swiss health insurer promotes fitness, wellness and exercise with trails across the nation

This is not the first time I have praised Switzerland’s Helsana Walking Trails, directly accessed from Swiss resorts from Aegerital to Zuoz. In most places, there are options of length (to 25 kilometers) and challenge from a few flat kilometers in the valley to long, challenging mountain routes. Enjoy the sampling of these beauiful, well-marked footpaths:

Below, Bettmeralp in the magnificent Jungfrau/Aletsch Glacier area in the canton of Valais, a UNESCO World Heritage site of unspeakable splendor. The car-free village is reachable by cable car.

Saas-Fee in southern Switzerland is surrounded by many of the country’s 4,000-meter peaks, with 350 kilometers of walking routes like this mountain-bugging beauty.

Lenzerheide in the canton of Graubünden/Grisons, which hosts a well-attended Walking and Wellness program June 23-27 including accommodations, some meals, Nordic Walking instruction, group walks, use of LEKI demo polls, massage and more; CHF 595-695 per person. If you read German, click here for the full program.

Thanks to Helsana in particular and the Swiss spirit of commitment in general, guests can find poles, find an instructor and find amiable companions all over the country.

Newspaper Reporter Waylays Nordic Walker; Gets Local Scoop

Earlier today, I received an E-mail from Nordic Walker Warren Nelson from Vancouver, Washington. I’m delighted to share his message (with his permission):

“I have your blog feeding into my Goggle Reader and track it regularly. So, I thought when I got this write up in our local Vancouver, WA “Columbian” circulation 40,000, you’d be interested. (By the way, Vancouver, WA is just across the Columbia River from Portland, OR.)

“I was out walking last Wednesday and the reporter drove by, turned around, stopped beside me and handed me her card! I was at the end of a fairly intense 8 miler with a lot of hills and thought she was just a delivery person trying to bulk up subscriptions so I took her card and walked the last 3/4 mile to my home.

“When I finally read her card and saw she was I reporter, I called her back!

“She was in the middle of writing this feature and was frustrated that she hadn’t found anybody actually walking! She interviewed me for 20 minutes and arranged an appointment for photos and the article was featured on the (3/4 of the page!) in the Life section of the paper this morning.

“I love Nordic Walking! Since starting seriously about 8 months ago, I walked the Portland Marathon, have lost 40 lbs and have schedule three marathons and three half-marathons for this year so far.

“Here’s the link to the article: http://www.columbian.com/news/2010/feb/08/walkings-new-stride-nordic-style-using-poles/

The story is a must-read for all Nordic Walking enthusiasts. If every Nordic Walking were “discovered” by one local reporter (print or TV), the word would get our all the faster about Nordic Walking’s benefits — especially by featuring someone like Warren Nelson, his 40-pound weight loss and race accomplishments. 

Fitness Sites Dis Nordic Walking

XCO stakes a position by putting down Nordic Walking. Why?

Maybe it is a sign that Nordic Walking’s profile is being raised that a prominent seller of fitness gear has found it necessary to knock Nordic Walking. Fitter International Inc. sent out an E-blast promoting a 25 percent off sale on the XCO Walking and Running Training System (right) and snarkily noted, “Unlike nordic walking poles, there is no restriction as to the muscles you choose to engage while Xco walking.” The XCO system uses special weights that are not solid but contain “an oscillating mass” that dynamically adds resistance. I wish I could take a screen shot of Fitter’s promotional mailing with its uncalled-for dig at another fitness activity, but there’s a copy lock on the E-mail — and XCO does not appear on their online product catalog.

Perhaps Fitter took its cue from XCO’s own online promotional copy that states, “XCO® WALKING & RUNNING has been received with extraordinary enthusiasm by fans of walking and running. Walkers, runners and particularly NORDIC WALKERs have discovered a new sport for themselves.”

Just as I do not believe that there is an inherently “better” pole design (remember, I’m talking design, not quality of materials or manufacture) or technique, I do not believe that because the XCO system works that Nordic Walking is inherently inferior. There are some situations, like the mountain running, steep stairs and mountain running in XCO’s online video, where poles can be used as balance aids but where Nordic Walking technique is not used. And there are other situations, like people with balance issues, rehabbing from injury or just getting into a fitness program, where XCO would not be suitable. I don’t get this form of product positioning. Don’t Nordic Walking and XCO share the same goal — providing a way for people to become stronger and healthier?

Mini-Exercises to Stretch & Re-energize

Twittercize” tickled my fitness fancy. Yours too?

In the nearly three years that I have been maintaining this blog, I’ve stuck faithfully to topics that are directly or obliquely but obviously related to Nordic Walking. Through the magic of the Internet, I found Twittercize, whose motto is: Get Fit One Tweet at a Time. Denver (formerly Boulder) freelance writer Ron S. Doyle writes the site, which I immediately started following on Twitter. Nordic Walking is all about a time commitment to build endurance, enhance fitness and maintain cardiovascular health. Twittercize is about minutes stolen now and then from hours at a desk other tasks to stretch, strengthen and re-energize.

Doyle describes Twittercize as a “free workout program that delivers one minute exercise suggestions to you via your favorite Twitter device.” My PC (plus my laptop or netbook when I am traveling) is my only Twitter device, so that makes it my favorite. I’ll check Twitter more often now to provide occasional distraction other than petting the cat or pulling a few weeds.

Doyle’s Tweets are clever. He manages to squeeze an eye-catching title and succinct instructions into 140 characters: “Moons Over Your Hammies: Stretch those hamstrings–butt up, head down–30 seconds on each side!” “Spitz Squats: A gold medal squat! As you lower, arch back and reach arms forward like a diver. 20 times!” or “Dilberts: Sit upright, cross arms at chest, contract stomach muscles. Bow forward like you’re banging your head on your desk! 30 times slow!”

If you’re like me, when you go for a Nordic Walk, you don’t bother that series of warmups and stretches that are part of every organized class. I just grab my poles and start walking. With Twittercize part of my day, I’ll stretch and flex after I read a Tweet.

Army Recruits in Finland to Shape Up with Nordic Walking Poles

Finnish military buying 3,500 pairs of poles to get recruits into shape without injury

Who says Nordic Walking poles are just for wimps or old farts? According to a report in a website called Good News from Finland,”The army will supply each one of next year’s recruits a pair of walking poles. The first stage of the initiative will require the army to buy 3500 pairs of poles. The aim however is not to take part in military exercises with a weapon in one hand and poles in the other. Instead, nordic walking will be included in the recruits’ physical education.

“The Head of the Sports Department of the Ground Defence Army, Major Juha Sihvonen says that the Defence Forces attempt to modernize its physical education to meet the needs of the modern world. According to Sihvonen many of the recruits are not able to handle the physical intensity of the training. Bone fractions and other damage caused by the physical strain of the training are a nuisance throughout the recruits’ military training. The purpose of the physical education is to improve the recruits’ aerobic fitness and to restore them from the strains of combat and march training. Nordic walking is comparable to other aerobic exercise, such as long distance cycling and cross country skiing.”

Ignore the small translation flaws and consider the message.

Fitness Cruise for Women

Four fitness instructors at sea for five days to jumpstart women’s shape-up

While there doesn’t seem to be a specific Nordic Walking component to Femme FITall’s next Ladies’ Fitness Cruise coming up this winter, there could and probably should be, but that’s no reason for any women seeking to get fitter or get fitter to ignore this congenial program. One group is supposed to be cruising the western Caribbean right now, and next fitness cruise aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s newly renovated “Fascination” is scheduled to depart Jacksonville, Florida, and head to the Bahamas from February 26 to March 2, 2009, with stops both in Freeport and Nassau.

The cruise is an effort to offer women an affordable opportunity to get together, get away and get fit. Four fitness instructor will be leading various programs during Femme FITall’s five-day, four-night winter cruise. Instructors are Toni Gilroy, Julie Groves, Renee Nelson and Carol Teteak. Yoga, Pilates, strength training and kickboxing are part of the programconducted by insructors from Edwards Health and Fitness Centers located in Illinois. Kate Lichter, president of Femme FITall, has organized the cruise.

Packages start at $879 per person for an inside cabin and $929 for an ocean-view cabin, including airfare from Chicago’s O’Hare International airport to Jacksonville International Airport, airport transfers, all meals on the ship (drinks additional), instructors’ classes, all taxes and fees, and a gift bag with a water bottle and logo t-shirt. Prices without airfare or including airfare from other cities are available upon request. Visit Femme FITall’s website
or call 630-420-7607.