Category Archives: Media

World Nordic Walking Videos

A small sampling of Nordic Walking videos on YouTube

I don’t understand a word of Polish or Dutch, but I understand the body language of Nordic Walking. Several Nordic Walking videos on YouTube have just hit my radar screen. What they lack in production values, they make up for in length and enthusiasm, even though every one was done in weather that many Americans would consider unconducive to outdoor activities. One Polish video, Kurs Nordic Walking – Otwock, was shot in the snow with an instructor, inexplicably (to me anyway) speaking English. A series of three long videos in Polish called (I think) Ursynowski Nordic Walking seem to have been shot in Warsaw on a blustery day.

Nordic Walking Ameland is a Nordic Walking-themed travelogue of sorts showing (literally) busloads of people taking a ferry to a one of the windsweapt West Frisian Islands off the north coast of the Netherlands. They walked across sand dunes, through the woods and past a turning windmill and ending up on a cafe or restaurant to refuel from their pole-propelled activity. Thumbnails of other European Nordic Walking videos appear on the right side of my screen when I watch these. When I have time, I’ll take a look at some more of them.

Closer to home, especially for me here in Boulder, is Nordic Walking in 5 Minutes with Nate Goldberg of the Beaver Creek Hiking Center, which has to be the Nordic Walking capital of Colorado (right). This ski and summer resort committed early to Nordic Walking and has kept it on its summer activities program (June 6 to September 12 this year).

Nordic Walking Instructional Package

Innovative new instruction package contains DVDs, MP3 app and eBook

I found the following recent message on the Nordic Walking eCommunity to be very poignant:

“I am still very new to this sport and while I love it, I am having trouble finding information other than the 20 minute video that came with my poles. I don’t know anybody in the Tidewater VA who coaches this sport. At 58 with bad arthritis under both kneecaps I can,t safely do what is posted on the online magazine. I really enjoy the online magazine, but am wondering if there are any other resources out there for the novice?”

How unfortunate for the growth of Nordic Walking in general and for individuals who want instruction that information is so hard to come by — in this US at any rate. Many people in the Nordic Walking world know that what is needed is a searchable directory of instructors, regardless of the technique they teach, but that simply doesn’t exist yet — and perhaps never will. Several eCommunity members came up with suggestions, but here’s something that I only learned about recently and that doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar screen.

Nordic Walking Made Easy is a new package that includes a 16-DVD instructional series (above) with photographs, an interactive MP3 application with 30 minutes and a 105-page eBook called Walking for Fitness, that might be a general walking book rather than specifically including poles. I haven’t seen any of the components, but the contents list is impressive. Nothing beats benefit of personal instruction that includes error detection and correction, but if there’s no instructor nearby (or for someone who wants some reinforcement or review), this package appears to have a lot of promise.

P.S. 3/22/2010: When I saw the image that I used above, I inferred that the instructional videos were DVD form, which is the reason I was surprised that there was no shipping charge. Turns out that they are online videos, so if you order — and anyone who wants to learn Nordic Walking and has no instructor anywhere nearby — should consider doing so, don’t expect a shipmnent of DVDs.

It was put together by Paul Collins (right), a chartered (a Britishism for certified or licensed) physiotherapist, health professional and Nordic Walking instructor. He teaches the International Nordic Walking Association method, and I don’t know whether his instructional materials include any other technique variations. But no matter. He has created something that I believe is groundbreaking in the Nordic Walking world. Anyone anywhere can order it — including in Virginia’s Tidewater region.

There is a current US$49.95 introductory offer. At some unannounced time, the price will rise to US$99. There does not appear to be a shipping charge. The package can be ordered online, and buyers can enter other countries too and pay in the applicable currency.

Note: Please be sure to click on comments to this post.

Franz Beckenbauer: Nordic Walker

Soccer great no longer runs. Now Nordic Walks instead. If only an American sports star did the same

Imagine someone like, say, Magic Johnson telling an interviewer, ““I play golf and I swim every day; I have a lap pool at home. I also go mountain hiking, you know, with the sticks. Nordic walking, it’s called.”

The interviewer asks, “And running?”

Magic shakes his head and smiles. “No, no. No more running. I did enough running on the court for 22 years.”

If that exact conversation took place, a whole lot of American basketball fans would consider Nordic Walking in an entirely different light. The dialog happened, but you do have to substitute the name “Franz Beckenbauer” for “Magic Johnson,” the word “field” for “court” and the number “20” for “22.” Read “Five Minutes With Franz Beckenbauer” about an interview that Bambina Wise had two years for the South African edition of GQ with one of international football’s all-time greats. Wise just posted the story on her blog, along with a photo of herself and Beckenbauer, whom she called “the original Becks, before there even was a David Beckham,”

Beckenbauer played in Europe for Munich’s FC Bayern and then for the New York Cosmos when football, which we know as soccer, enjoyed its first meteoric rise in the US, largely thanks to him and Pele. And now, Beckenbauer Nordic Walks. If only I had a photo of that — or better, of Magic Johnson with walking poles.

 

Stirrings in the Nordic Walking Pot

Outreach in North America and a new magazine in England

It seems as if the loose Nordic Walking community is seeking new connections and new communication. If Nordic Walking is ever to take off on this continent, more such initiatives are needed.

Nordic Walking Expo Planned for Minnesota in June

Great Lakes Nordic Walkers, a new group started by Twin Cities instructors that I wrote about recently, has already announced its first event: the Great Lakes Nordic Walkers Expo on June 12, 2010, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at Hyland Park in suburban Bloomington in conjunction with “National Get Outdoors Day” at Hyland Park in suburban Bloomington. No details yet, but if if follows the format of last year’s initial Nordic Walking Expo organized by Nordic Walking North America, an umbrella organization, it will be free to the public and include seminars or panels, an opportunity to try different brands and types of poles and best of all, the chance to take those first steps with some of the top trainers and instructors in the land.

The Santa Monica Expo was such an encouraging groundbreaker that I wrote three posts about it. Click here for scenes from the event. Click here for my take on the collegiality that brought key players in the North American Nordic Walking game to work together toward common goals. Click here for further reflections and a list of participants including contact information. I am looking forward to learning about plans for the Minnesota event.

NWers Seeking NWers

Meanwhile, Marek Zalewski of Nordic Walking US put out the word on his own website and also on Britain’s Nordic Walking eCommunity that he wants to facilitate an informal group in the Washington area and vicinity. He was looking ahead toward spring, because these last few weeks, his part of the country has been slammed by back-to-back blizzards. He wrote: “I was wondering if anyone in Northern Virginia, Maryland and in the Washington, DC area in general would be interested in starting some group walks. I would be willing to lead them, even provide a few initial pairs of loaner poles, some basic training for beginners, etc, at no charge. You would have to provide your own transportation, of course. We could meet in different places in the area, let’s say, once a week, twice, or even once per month. Let me know what you think, before we get too specific.” Links are on his website, or contact him at marek.zalewski@verizon.net. I hope he gets enough takers to make this worthwhile, and I hope he lets us know when things begin to gel.

NWNA Initiatives

Additional ideas for possible Nordic Walking Expos include one in Ottawa on May 29 concurrent with the Ottawa Marathon, a weekend that includes 10K, 5K and family 2K distances, as well as a Health and Fitness Expo. Another possibility is something in October in conjunction with World Walking Day, an international event supported by TAFISA (don’t ask me what the initials stand for). TAFISA’s goal is “to bring joy, health, social interaction, integration and development to communities and citizens around the globe through the promotion of physical activity.” Nordic Walking certainly fits there, and a look at the WWD page on the TAFISA site shows the breadth of its ambitious goals. And stay tuned for

Free Trial Subscription to New Nordic Walking Magazine

David Downer, who wears more Nordic Walking hats than I can list (I’m sure I’d forget something), established a Nordic Walking eCommunity in January 2006 and with editor Malcolm Jarvis has been putting out a weekly newsletter/blog. The next step is the new Nordic Walking Magazine, set to launch soon. Until February 21, you can sign up for a free trial subscription at least for the the first two issues. Billed as the “the world’s first English Language Nordic Walking Magazine periodical,” it will presumably cover gear, events, technique and other news. To register for the trial subscription, click here and from the home page,   the click on the “Register” tab (left beneath the header banner at the top of the page). You must register there even if you have previously registered at our pre-launch information site. After the free trial period, paid subscriptions will be kicking in at US$4.95 per month, $10.95 for three months or $29.70 a year  ($2.48 per month). A new Nordic Walking forum will also be launched.

Stay tuned for progress on all.

Snowshoeing in Banff National Park

My feature story on snowshoeing options appears in the new snowshoemag.com

Earlier this winter, I visited Banff and Lake Louise to research snowshoeing possibilities in Banff National Park. They are leggion. Snowshoers cross the pancake-flat surface of Lake Louise or circumnavigate it on the fringe of the forest. They follow unplowed summer roads and hiking paths. They snowshoe on their own or with informative guides. The highlights of the these offerings appear as a photo-filled feature called “Exploring the Vastness of Banff National Park” in the new issue of snowshoemag.com.

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. 

Southwest Florida Newspaper Discovers Nordic Walking

Lindy Speizer Smith promotes/teaches in Fort Meyers area

Everyone who is anyone in American Nordic Walking knows the Lindy Speizer, who as LEKI‘s marketing manager in Buffalo and helped the sport on the map in this country. After family matters took her to Fort Myers, Florida, she got married (changing her name to Lindy Smith but not her letter in the alphabet) and began leading Nordic Walking workshops in her new community through Lee County Parks & Rec. The Fort Myers News-Press wrote about Nordic Walking and spotlighted Lindy in a piece called “Nordic Walking Adds Workout to Casual Stroll.” It’s a nice piece, including testimonials from some new Nordic Walkers whom Lindy has introduced to the sport.

Wordless Nordic Walking Video

Nordic Himusz: Five minutes of video fun

The word “himnusz” sounds Hungarian, but I’m not sure what it means — maybe “walking” ot maybe “barefoot and bare-butt”? In any case, “Nordic Himnusz” is a  wordless 4-minute, 42-second YouTube video by one J.M. Jarre showing a animinated nekkid guy walking and walking and walking some more with poles. He walks straight ahead with unwavering determination passing through various scenes and colors. In fact, the figure himself changes colors. There’s music but no dialogue. A little psychedelic inspiration, perhaps? J.M. Jarre might be Jean Michel Jarre, a French composer and performer. There’s also a credit for Doro Digital. The English Doro Digital that makes supplies for large-format printers? The Doro Digital cordless phone? Probably not, but I have no no idea what it might be . And Nordic Walker? Who knows what his inspiration might be. In any case, take a look.

Target’s Sunday Flyer Features Walking Poles

Affordable, adjustable poles highlighted on retailer’s fitness products page

The big type on page 4 of Target‘s current Sunday newspaper insert reads, “total fitness made affordable.” Nordic Walking occupies the entire top half ot the page and a bit more. The big four-color photo of two lithe lovelies walking with poles on what appears to be a glassed-in running/walking track — perhaps on a rooftop. The adjacent copy reads, “burn up to 45% more calories with walking poles.” That’s good, in that any exposure for any form of Nordic Walking to such a wide audience creates awareness.

However, it’s hardly the technically exacting image that Nordic Walking instructors and promoters prefer to convey. The adjustable poles  have round rubber caps on the bottom and thin woven straps, like those on trekking poles, on top. One of the models — the blonde in the foreground — isn’t even holding the poles correctly, and instructors of all schools will find it easy to critique the plant, push-off and stride positions.

The real uh-uh or oh-no for purists, or even moderately knowledgeable Nordic Walkers, is that a pair of these house-brand poles is on sale for $17 (regularly $19.99), which doesn’t exactly promise a long, useful life. If you dig online, you’ll see that these poles are made of aluminum (no surprise), and that they adjust between 80 and 135 centimeters. Other specs are weird: “Dimensions: Length: 5.5 “; Height: 27.0 “; Width: 1.5 “. A five-and-a-half-foot walking pole!?!?! And what about the 27-inch height? From the lead photo and the specifications, it’s clear the Target’s copywriters and art directors don’t know very much about the subject.

FWIW, an Elite brand step/distance/calorie pedeometer with an FM radio is also priced at $17. Clearly, we’re not looking at quality goods, but equally clearly, a form of fitness walking with poles has been seen today by many, many eyeballs.

Do you think the positive effect outweighs, the legative, or vice versa?

Listen to Me on Sat Radio on Monday Morning

“Morning Living” hosts and I will talk about snowshoeing

I’m being interviewed about snowshoeing on Monday morning, December 14, at 8 a.m. Eastern Time (or a few minutes thereafter) on Martha Stewart Radio (XM Channel 157 and Sirius Channel 112).  The show is called “Morning Living,” and the hosts are Kim  Fernandez and Betsy Keretnick. Sirius is currently having a 30-day free trial of the subscription satellite radio service. Details are on