Writer Ellen Nordberg writes for Boulder Lifestyle magazine.
Nordic Walking caught the attention of my friend Ellen Nordberg, a local fitness instructor, author, humorist, performer and mother of twins, and I was one of her sources/resources for an article she was researching a couple of months back. Click here to read the article she wrote for Boulder Lifestyle magazine. The full-color photographs accompanying the piece are pretty nice too.
About.com, whose specialty sections in two dozen main areas of interest and literally hundreds of narrowly focused sites, has a poll going in its “Walking” section about readers’ choice for the best Nordic Walking poles. The site states, “Vote from among these five finalists for the walking poles category.” But in fact, they give readers a choice of three and not five finalists. The three are Exerstrider OS2 Fitness Walking Poles, Keenfit Walking Poles and Leki Instructor Nordic Walking Poles. We can probably all name two more to flesh out the category, but that’s not what we are asked to do.
Click here to vote. You may vote once in each 24-hour period untl the polling ends on March 19. Winners are to be announced on March 27. The top vote-getting pole will most likely be entitled to put a boasting icon on its website.
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.
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:
California personal trainer and mobility expert at REI this evening
Boulder’s REI hosts a free talk this evening, 6:30p.m., on “Poles for Hiking, Walking & Exercise” with personal trainer and mobility expert Jayah Faye Paley. Through Adventure Buddies , she helps people get more enjoyment and fitness benefits from hiking and walking with poles, and through Poles for Mobility, she helps people address mobility and balance issues to help people stay as active as they can be as long as possible by improving gait, posture, strength and endurance — all quality of life aspects.
What I like about Jayah’s approach of use of poles is adaptability, because poles really are suitable for people on a personal fitness quest and for people with health challenges who just want to extend their ability to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. She is one of a growing number of trainers and coaches who appreciate the multi-dimensional uses for poles. Boulder being Boulder, poles are also great summer cross-training for Nordic skiers, an additional training tool for anyone wanting to increase upper body conditioning without weights or bands or for injured runners needing to take pressure off the knees, hips and ankles.
I have a previous commitment to judge a grilling cook-of this evening, so I’ll be packing in calories rather than tapping into Jayah’s wisdom about burning them, but for anyone withstriking distance of Boulder, this is a presentation worth attending. This morning is cool, gray and foggy, so Jayah, who is here from California, should feel right at home when she arrives in a couple of hours. She, I and two of her other Boulder contacts are planning to go for a Nordic Walk, which I’m greatly looking forward to since I won’t be available to hear her presentation this evening. REI is at 1789 28th Street, Boulder; 303-583-9970.
Boulder County leads the way with programs for beginners & beyond
Is Nordic Walking finally getting a toehold in Colorado? I certainly hope so. I was delighted when I saw a front page story on May 23 in the Denver Post’s Fitness section called “Take Your Workout to the Great Outdoors.” There was a photo of Annette Tannander-Bank leading a Nordic Walking class — not walking in that particular shot but doing lunges with poles for stability as part of the warm-up, strengthening and cool-down exercises that instructors favor, and that people like me don’t bother with. I’m more of a grab-and-go walker. I grab my poles and I go.
The Post piece was about outdoor workouts in general, and reporter Sheba K. Wheeler listed 20 in the metro area. Of those, several were walking programs including some specificially Nordic Walking. One was a one-day intro last Saturday, but the following are still available.
Intermediate Nordic Walking, Annette leads two classes on Mondays at 12:00 noon at Boulder’s Scott Carpenter Park and on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. at North Boulder Park. Walk-in fee is $10 or a Rallysport Health & Fitness Club punch card., plus $5 for optional pole rentals. 303-449-4800.
Nordic Walking, introductory program offered the first and third Saturdays of every month. Meet at Fleet Feet Sports, 2624 Broadway (at Alpine), Boulder. $5 walk-in fee; participants may borrow poles from the store. 303-939-8000.
Nordic Walking, Tuesdays, 6-7 p.m. from June 14-July 5, and Thursdays, 8-9 a.m., June 16-July 7. No drop-ins. $42 for residents and $48 for non-residents, including use of poles. Broomfield Recreation Center, Broomfield County Commons, 13200 Sheridan Boulevard, Broomfield.
Paley’s Pole Presentations at REI
On Wednesday, June 9, Jayah Faye Paley, creator of two DVDs on walking with poles, will be at Boulder’s REI giving two free presentations — one on each DVD. From 3:45-5:15 p.m., the topic is balance, mobility and functional walking showing people with with mobility issues can use poles to improve gait, posture, endurance, function and strength. That class is full, indicating how much of a need there is for it. From 6:30-8:00 p.m., shedemonstrates how to expand hiking horizons and improve health with poles.
Paley is based in Pacifica, California, where she runs Adventure Buddies, which promotes use of the outdoors (including Nordic Walking) and creating a network of people who enjoy outdoor recreation for health and fitness. She is also a personal trainer and mobility coach , using poles to help people stay as active as they can as long as they can under a program called Poles for Mobility.
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:
Famous Footwear spin-off is new name on the fitness footwear retail scene
Mind Body Sole Shoes by Famous Footwear is an upmarket specialty footwear store related to the well-known national discount shoe chain. Both are part of Brown Shoe Company. The stores (there are currently five) carry all manner of fitness footwear, including walking, running and trail running shoes (which some people really like for Nordic Walking). Their staff is supposed to ask you questions about the type and level of activity you do and suggest a selection of suitable styles. Brands include Adidas, ASICS, K-Swiss, New Balance, Nike and Saucony — all best known for running shoes.
They invite you not only to try one or all of them on, but also put them to the test on the treadmill. Nordic Walkers know that the squooshy surface of a treadmill does not translate directly to pavement or dirt paths, but at least it’s a start. I haven’t been to the new store at Denver’s Cherry Creek Mall, so I can only pass along their promiseThey have stores in Burlington, Massachusetts; Denver; Orlando and Wellington, Florida, and Tulsa; click here for specific location information. I think that Famous Footwear’s Rewards cards are also accepted at the Mind Body Sole.
More precisely, Rick Deutsch’s annual Nordic Walking presentations on a cruise ship that floats on the water
San Jose, California-based trekker, guide and Nordic Walking instructor Rick Deutsch again led complimentary classes for passengers aboard Crystal Cruise’s “Serenity,” sailing around the boot of Italy from Venice to Monte Carlo. The cruise line reports that since the Nordic Walking program was launched a year ago, several hundred guests have tried fitness walking with lightweight poles.
Through a partnership with LEKI USA, Crystal continues to offer Nordic Walking as a fitness option at sea. Most cruise ships schedule one or two formal nights a week, and Rick was ready with his tux and his “dress poles” — actually his regular poles — but I like the image of formal Nordic Walking poles. We already have the tussle over whether one-piece or adjustable poles are preferable. A writer cleverer than I could parody it with a debate over casual poles versus dress poles, or day poles versus evening poles. But I’m getting silly.
I digress. Rick sent me a brief report about his Nordic Walking activities on the ship:
“We sailed from Venice to Monte Carlo in early October. I taught Nordic Walking every day at 7 am and 5 pm. The classes are complimentary and we had a nearly full house at most sessions. The mornings are a tough play with so much going on AND folks enjoying sleeping in during their vacationn
” I also gave an overview / benefits presentation mid-week. We have 10 pairs of Leki Instructor model poles onand have just each of the 2 ships in the fleet. We just launched the Traveller poles for guests that want to purchase their own. The Travellers are 3-section (vs 2) so they pack much better. They were a hit with the guests.
” The Fitness Directors incorporate the benefits of Nordic Walking during their classes when I am not on board and they guide the 2 daily sessions. The complimentary program has be running a year and participation is increasing. We have exposed well over 1,000 people to Nordic Walking. People first feel their triceps working and it goes from there. The 360 degree Crystal Promenade deck is 1/3 of a mile around, so folks get a good workout. Many “walkers” are being converted into NW users.”
Another successful voyage for Nordic Walking, I’d say.
The Vermont Country Store, whose slogan is “Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find,” is now carrying Nordic Walking poles. I’m always encouraged when I find another well-known resource for poles. The Vermont Country Store carries one brand (Keenfit) and one type (adjustable) as one of 20 items in the “Health & Fitness” category of the online catalogue. They retail for $79.95.
Anyone who happens to be in the Green Mountain State can visit the original store in Weston or the second one in Rockingham and presumably see how the poles feel, but everyone else is relegated to ordering for shipment. L.L. Bean doesn’t seem to carry Nordic Walking poles, though I believe they once did, and REI never has, so I’m glad they are available through Vermont Country Store. Unless they buy poles from an instructor, many newbies wouldn’t know where to start looking for specialized poles.