WalkStyles, formed in southern California in 2003 to help people incorporate more walking into their day and help walkers achieve live what they call “a walking lifestyle,” offers an array of comfortable, stylish walking products through their on-line shop. They sell Nordixx adjustable poles (the same model sold at Foot Solutions, one of the site’s several sponsors), but their main products are what I’m calling walkingwear — a corollary to skiwear, swimwear and activewear.
Tops include a variety of T’s and tanks in various styles and colors. I especially like the maternity-size long-sleeved T with “Wee Who Walk” lettered across the chest. There’s a matching short-sleeved baby bodysuit. These items are $25 each and would make a perfect baby shower gift, either together or separately. Polartec fleece jackets and vests in several colors and styles are $68-$98. Bottoms include long and short pants, Capris and even a skort in the $52-$68 range. In addition to a variety of colors and sizes, some with a choice of basic, relaxed or athletic fit. Click to the clearance page for half-price deals.
As the banner on website’s pages extols, “Live Well. Walk Far.”
Poleabout.com is the website of PoleAbout International Network (P.I.N.), which seems to be an agglomoration of northern Europeans (Finns and the Estonians who built the website, which is the best I can figure out) and mostly Aussie enthusiasts and trainers who are committed to spreading the Nordic Walking gospel internationally. A worthy goal, I’d say.
To achieve that goal, P.I.N. has developed a technique progression under the banner of its Education Institute to train and certify two levels (leader, instructor). P.I.N. also sells adjustable and fixed-length poles with the PoleAbout label, as well as accessories.
Even if you’re half a world away, take a look at their website, which has all sorts of bells and whistles including cool graphics and click-on videos with audio. The PoleAbout team included endurance Nordic Walker Michael “Walking Wizard” Gates, fitness enthusiast and trainer Jay Gates, Marko Kantaneva who pioneered the development of pole walking for Exel, Joe Wade who was named Australia’s personal trainer of the year in 2004, Meredyth Pembroke who is an ultra-fit grandmother in her 50s who became first women to pole walk for 24 consecutive hours and Peter Oliver, a beefy heart-attack survivor who has also Nordic Walked for 24 consecutive hours.
I’m about to head out to observe an American Nordic Walking Association certification clinic put on by master trainer Gottfried Kürmer. I’m very interested in how the trainers who train us themselves are trained, if you get my drift. Stay tuned. I’ll report back.
Meanwhile, if you are in the Denver-Boulder and are interested in an introductory workshop with Gottfried, you have a very few more opportunities before he wings back to Europe. Three classes scheduled for Monday, May 14, will be at:
Anthem Ranch at Broomfield Community Center (CO-7 and Lowell Boulevard; SW corner of Lowell)
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
City Park Bandstand, west side of Ferril Lake (near 17th amd Steele Street), Denver
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Central Park Bandshell, (Broadway and Canyon), Boulder
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Registration is on the ANWA website. The cost for each 90-minute class is $40, including use of poles. Upon completion of each class, participants will receive $10 back. Two pairs of Nordic Walking poles valued at $100 will be raffled off in each class. Class size is limited to 20 for each session.
The ‘Fitness’ section of today’s Denver Post covered the theme of losing weight and keeping it off. The front page feature, called “Secrets of the Formerly Fat,” discussed the findings of James O. Hill, director of the University of Colorado Health Science Center’s Center for Human Nutrition and the creator of a national registry of people who have lost at least 30 pounds and maintained the weight loss for a year of more. In a survey of the successful, Hill discovered the five common practices of those successful in keeping those lost pounds off:
- They eat breakfast.
- They make friends with the scale.
- They keep moving.
- They stick to their eating plan.
- The stay away from the tube (i.e., television).
It’s that third item that intrigues me. Hill told the reporter, “Walking is huge.” He noted that a survey revealed that people are are successful in weight maintenance are mostly middle-aged Caucasian women who average 60 minutes a day of physical activity, including 28 percent whose activity is “mostly walking” and 49 percent who combine walking with cycling, aerobics or something else.
Keep in mind that Hill and the participants in his registry are talking about plain old pole-less walking. Add the fitness dividend of Nordic Walking, and we can infer the probability of even greater success.
Canadian Nordic Walkers now have an association to call their own. Gerry Faderbauer, a transplanted Austrian, established he Canadian Nordic Walking Association just this year. Membership appears to be free, and the website includes a calendar of Nordic Walking events in the country. David Downer has posted an interview with Faderbauer on Nordic Walking News, his blog.