Nordic 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.
A quarter of a century ago, a cerebral runner named Tom Rutlin began marketing the strapless Exerstrider fitness walking pole and with it, a more upright walking style that contrasted to the aggressive forward lean of the original European Nordic Walking technique. With further developments, Exerstriders found a special niche among seniors and people with balance issues or other physical challenges.
The TR3 — not s snappy vintage Triumph sports car but the latest model — the Exerstrider 25th Anniversary Edition TR3 is a travel/adventure 3-piece total body walking pole designed to deliver the same world class performance, value and quality as the popular OS2 model, but with the added convenience of telescoping down to just 25 inches for ultimate convenience when traveling or stowing in a pack or suitcase. It is suitable for use by walkers from 4 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 2 inches tall. Precise adjustment is accomplished via EZ-fit size markings on the lower shaft and a cam locking system. Adjustable poles are suitable for anyone who travels by air and doesn’t want to leave home without them, for growing children and for people who want poles to share with family members or friends of different heights. The TR3 features celebratory graphics of black, gold and silver.
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.
About.com’s walking columnist suggests what not to buy — but recommends poles
We have all heard about the government’s “no fly list.” Wendy Baumgartner, who writes About.com’s walking column, has compile what might be called a “no buy list” of items that she writes she cannot recommend. In fact, it is called “Walking Products I Don’t Recommend,” either because claims for it have not been supported by properly designed studies, because they may increase the risk of injury or strain if used by fitness walkers for 30 minutes or more. I am not sure why she selected 30 minutes, but still her advice is worth taking.
Here are the products that she does not recommend:
She also writes (and I like this part): “Better Choice – Walking Poles: Fitness walking poles are a superior alternative to make you burn more calories per mile while working out your upper body and taking some of the strain off your knees, hips and ankles. Choosing Fitness Walking Poles“
Lance Amstrong’s foundation’s website & its curious Nordic Walking article
I admire Lance Armstrong, not just for winning seven consecutive Tours de France but for doing so as a cancer survivor and since then, for supporting individuals and organizations doing battle with cancer and working to find a cure. I was gratified to find an article about Nordic Walking on the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Livestrong website, but again, puzzled at the content. Called “How to Measure Nordic Walking Sticks” by Marie Mulrooney (who might or might not be the Marie Mulroomey from Anchorage), it sounds very British. “Sticks” instead of poles, centimeters instead of inches and so on.
The article is fine as far as it goes, and as I wrote, I’m happy that so important an organization paid any heed at all to Nordic Walking, but it never addresses what one does with sticks/poles once the measuring is complete, and it is illustrated by a surprising photo from Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images.
The man in front is using poles, but the five people of various sizes who are following him are pole-free. What’s that all about?
Well-priced snowshoes for winter walking on the white stuff
Unless they have been abducted by aliens for more than half a century, Coloradans all know Sniagrab (“bargains” spelled backwards) is the first harbinger of winer. Gart Brothers, a pioneering Denver sporting goods retailer, launched this Labor Day weekend sale 57 years ago as a ski sale. It is now a mega-sale not just for ski gear, apparel and accessories, but also for snowboarding stuff and snowshoes as well.
The offerings are not enormous, but the price is right on the less expensive of the two on-sale models for Nordic Walkers who want to see if the like snowshoeing, for occasional snowshoers or just to have an extra pair in the car or for winter visitors. The more expensive is a performance shoe. PowdeRidge Path snowshoes are $39.95, a 60 percent savings off the original $99.99 price and are available at all seven Sniagrab locations. Tubbs Flex TRK at $89.99 is 40 percent off the original $149.95 price. It is available only at the Sportscastle on Broadway and 11th Avenue, Denver. Alpine Design adjustable trekking poles including snow baskets are just $19.95 (originally $39.99).
For some reason known only to WordPress, I’m not able to include direct links from this post, but here they are:
Low-cost, multi-activity poles in stock at big box discounter
Costco is now carrying inexpensive (i.e., $24.99) all-purpose poles from China imported by Synergy Sportz LLC of Pocasset, Massachusetts. These adjustable aluminum poles are labeled as “All Season Trekking Poles” by Yukon Charlie’s, a company best known for snowshoes. Each pair of poles comes packed in a plastic shell along with Nordic Walking paws and baskets for snowshoeing or ski-touring.
For the record, I have never advocated cheap imports except for people who cannot afford higher-quality ones or for people loathe to make a bigger investment until they know whether they enjoy Nordic Walking. I know all the false economy arguments, but human nature is just that and some people just look at the price tag.
This post is simply informational and not a recommendation. I haven’t used the poles, but merely grasped a handle that stuck out of the plastic, but here are some photos:
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.
DayTripping, a New Brunswick-based outdoor recreation company that sells and gear and runs programs, is closing out its inventory of Gymstick Nordic Walking poles. If you’re interested, call 506-657-8747 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Like Exel, the first Europen brand-name pole, Gymstick is a Finnish company, with fitness products that include walking poles and more. Their products include poles that incorporate bands that make it easy to add resistance training intervals to a walk.