Category Archives: Pedometer

Nordic Walking “Coach Kit” Tunes Up Technique

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.

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?

Origo Pedometer Watches

Wear the Origo on your wrist for ease of use

The Origo Paso pedometer/watch is a full-function and very smart watch. It is worn on the wrist, like a conventional watch, which makes it easy to check for steps taken, distance traveled in kilometers or miles (reportedly accurate to within two feet per mile), target step count, timer, alarm and calories burned. If you alternate running and walking with your poles, the smarts come in because it can distinguish between the two gaits and keep measuring without reprogramming the settings.

The display is a readable soft blue EL backlight, and the battery life of the CR2032 is up to one year. And if you for some reason you decide snorkel or even dive with it, or more likely Nordic Walk in the rain, the Origo is water-resistant to 50 meters (about 160 feet). It retails for $40 and comes with a one-year warranty. The distributor is North American Gear, 645 Main Street, Lander, WY 82520; 307-332-0901.

Top Walking Trends of the Decade

Nordic Walking makes a “trends” list, but with reservations

Wendy Bumgardner, who writes about walking for About.com, cited Nordic Walking as one of the top walking trends of the decade, but with a disclaimer. “Nordic walking – walking with fitness walking poles – is big news and big business in Europe,” she wrote. “Trails, resorts, and vacation packages are being built for nordic walking. I walked on dedicated nordic walking trails in the Alps where you could check out a timing chip and record your time. In the USA, small steps forward were taken as the Portland Marathon added a Nordic Walking division to their 10K Mayor’s Walk, but few joined in.” Sigh.

Five other trends that she mentioned: pedometers (I use one), marathons and half-marathons (I haven’t done anything longer than 10K), GPS and mapping (including MapMyWalk.com), computer-linked pedometers and online wellness programs (New Year’s resolution, maybe) and research supports walking and other moderate exercise for health and fitness.

Yamax Upgrades Pedometers

Japanese pedometermaker upgrades its most popular step counter

To make sure that walkers are aware of upgrades to the CW-701, a highly regarded pedometer, the Japanese company now calls it the Yamax Digi Walker CW-701. It features a basic daily memory that counts the most recent day’s steps, plus seven-day memory, plus weekly memory that remembers steps, distance, time and calories burned over a two-week period. A two-line display for easier reading of all this data. The Digi Walker can count up to 999,999 steps, which is retty impressive. The Yamax Digi Walker CW-701 pedometer retails for about $39.

There appear to be two North American distributors: New Lifestyles, Inc., 5201 NE Maybrook Road, Lee’s Summit, MO 64064; 888-748-5377 and 816-373-9969, and Optimal Health Products, 4940 Broadway, Suite 201, San Antonio, TX 78209; 888 339-2067 and 210-824-2099.

Lots of No-Pole Walking for Me This Week

I’m volunteering at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week. I’m on the “media distribution team,” whose responsibility it is to hand deliver just-in-advance copies of speeches and talking points to some of the 15,000 accredited media. Yesterday, I logged 8.91 miles on my pedometer, plus countless flights of stairs that the pedimeter doesn’t register. My shift is seven hours a day, plus the bus commute to an from Denver. So until it’s over, I might post on this blog, and I might not. To head about my DNC experiences, see http://travel-babel.blogspot.com.

Maine Mall Walkers Discover Nordic Walking

Mercy Hospital demos Nordic Walking poles for mall-walking club

Maine winter weather can challenge the most committed outdoor enthusiast — and winter can last well into what is considered spring else. Therefore, the Maine Mall in South Portland has been a popular walking venue since it opened more than 35 years ago. Mercy Hospital now has partnered with mall management to it walking as a safe and convenient environment for older adults to get a year-round cardio workout and to socialize with other mall walkers.

On March 12, 2007, the hospital and the mall partnered to launch Pacesetters, a free club with perks that include free monthly breakfasts, information on health and health screenings. With security staff on duty both inside and out, the mall unlocks its doors between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m. on Sundays — and Pacesetters are ready to get moving. They can get in a lot of mileage before the stores begin open, which is 9:30 on weekdays and 11:00 on Sundays.

One lap around the mall is about a mile, and many Pacesetters, who range in age from their 50s to a spry 106-year-old who arrives with her 78-year-old daughter, do several laps. Pacesetters members were given free pedometers in celebration of the club’s first birthday earlier this month and also had a Nordic Walking demonstration put on by the hospital.

Conveniently, for Pacesetters who need or want orthotics to help them walk comfortably, Foot-O-Pedics is right at the mall. So are The Walking Company, Sports Authority, Foot Locker and other footwear retailers for those in need of new walking shoes. What a benefit to be able to try them on right there.

For information on Pacesetters, call the mall’s Customer Information Booth, 207-828-2063, Ext. 233

Pedometer Wonk Website

I’m writing about pedometers right now, so I’m plunging into the world of microchips, motion-sensing mechanisms, digital displays and the like. Actually, I’m not plunging. I’m really dipping my toe into the pedometer info pool. In doing so, I found a pedometer website maintained by JSC Engineering LLC, which describes itself as an electrical engineering consultant group specializing in product design and performance testing. I don’t know where JSC Engineering LLC is located, and I noticed that the website is copyrighted 2004. With that caveat, if you are interested in the innards of electronics in general and pedometers in particular, check out the site.

Pedometer Primer

I picked up a Walking Advantage by Sportline pedometer on sale at REI before Christmas, and I’ve finally gotten around to setting it for my stride and using it. And I love it. The model I bought is #353, which not only was well priced but also had features that appealed to me. It is lightweight and clips firmly onto a belt or waistband. It counts steps, distance (after be calibrated to the user’s stride length, which is why it took me a while to get around to using it) and calories burned. Also, its FM radio feature is a nice extra when I’m walking alone.

Perhaps this would be redundant for an iPod owner, but for me, it’s great. Now, I can’t claim not to know how much I’ve walked and use that as an excuse for not logging at least 10,000 steps a day. Pedometers are pretty inexpensive too. The most expensive mainstream, general-purpose instruments sell for less than $40, many are between $20 and $30, and some retail for under $20.

Sportline makes pedometers from a SpongeBob Squarepants model for children to more sophisticated models. The #360 can track walking/jogging/running and also measure steps, distance, calorie burn, speed and time spent on those activities. The #355 is similar to mine but instead of an FM radio, logs time expended, displays the time of day and also has a way to adjust the stride setting.