Four years ago, my daughter was preparing to leave for college and my life as I knew it was about to change in a big way. I decided it would be helpful to find something new to fill my time, and I knew that ‘something new’ should include my husband, Jim, who was also feeling the affects of this transition.
Exercise had always been important to us, but busy lives had recently taken us away from physical activity for the most part. While we agreed we wanted to find something to improve our fitness levels, we also agreed we had to enjoy it. It had to be fun.
We discussed how much we enjoyed walking outdoors on the paths and nature trails around our home, and, while walking is a great physical activity, it did not necessarily address our goal of improving overall strength, and we often didn’t have the time to take hour-long walks, no matter how much we enjoyed them.
After a little internet searching, I came across Nordic walking and it checked all the boxes we were looking for! Nordic walking:
Saves time: 15 minutes of Nordic walking = 28 minutes of standard walking
Improves core strength: with proper technique, 5,000 steps per hour produces 5,000 ab contractions
Burns 20-46% more calories than standard walking
Reduces impact to knees and hips
Improves posture & balance
Reduces pain and increases flexibility
Increases motivation to exercise
Effective for helping manage chronic diseases, rehabilitation, chronic pain & more!
Nordic walking started as an off-season activity for cross country skiers in Finland decades ago. In fact, Nordic walking uses poles like cross country skiing, but the poles are designed for walking (which, by the way, are built and used differently than hiking or trekking poles). Over the years, it grew in popularity in Europe, Canada, and only in a few areas of the U.S., which is why so many people in this country have never heard of Nordic walking.
After a little searching, Jim and I purchased Nordic walking poles and completed lessons. We have really enjoyed adding Nordic walking to our daily walks, and have noticed improvements in strength and fitness. More importantly, it is fun, convenient (we keep poles in our car and take walks where-ever we travel), and it saves time! While we find many of our walks can be an hour-long, we feel great even after walking for just 20
minutes after work.
Experiencing the difference Nordic walking has made in our fitness levels, and overall enjoyment of exercise, I decided to share it with others. Today, as a certified Master Trainer with Urban Poling, Inc., I offer not only lessons and equipment to those interested in getting more from their walks, but also demonstrations to physical therapists, and other medical professionals.
Be sure to follow this blog featuring our adventures Nordic walking, the latest research on how Nordic walking benefits chronic diseases and other conditions, as well as tips on adding Nordic walking to your daily routine, no matter your age or ability!