Walking the walk

I do it every day.
Every freakin’ day.
OK, gutter-minds. Not that.
I walk.
From the bed, to the bathroom, to the kitchen, to the driveway to pick up the paper, from the parking lot to my desk. I walk the dog at night, a trek of about four miles.
You get the picture.
We’ve all done it. Walk, that is.
But what if I said you could walk better, go faster, put no stress on your ailing knees or aching back, get an upper-body workout and burn a shitload of calories while you’re doing it?
Nonsense, you’d say. Walking isn’t running. It isn’t swimming. It’s walking. Something homo erectus started doing a million years ago – and homo sapiens just take for granted.
I’m talking about Nordic walking.
Walking with Nordic ski poles, only the poles don’t have baskets, but rubber tips to propel you along.
I was a skeptic, too. I’m doing a story on Nordic walking and everyone I talked to raved about the movement (which was developed in Finland in 1997 – and now 500,000 Fins participate).
“This year, 2007, is going to be a huge year for Nordic walking in the U.S.,” a coach and trainer told me. “Huge.”
“I was anti-walking,” a former marathoner – and now a Nordic walking coach - said. “Now, I’m a firm believer in walking.”
So, I asked to be taken on a spin.
And I am a convert.
My buddy, Don (the former marathoner), took me along a two-mile trail with a steep extension. He showed me how to properly use the poles (if you’ve ever have tried cross-country skiing, you have the basic technique) and we walked. Our posture was upright and we just motored along the trail. We were breathing heavy, but it didn’t feel like we were working any harder.
My shoulders, my arms, the quads in my legs burned for the rest of the day.
I’m hooked. I’m taking up Nordic walking.
The poles are not cheap. They range from $99.95 for an all-aluminum pair to $199.95 for the lightweight carbon pair (both come with baskets, so you can use them for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing).
But the health benefits are amazing.
Just by walking.
Nordic walking.

4 comments:

RachelRenae said...

I don't get it. How is walking with poles harder than walking without? It seems inconvenient.

Thom G. said...

It isn't harder, but it works you out harder. You use the same arm motion as cross-country skiing, but you're walking. It's actually easier; the poles help propel you along the trail. I just looks dorky. But I'm serious, you gotta check it out.

Stevo said...

Can you buy poles at Wal-mart?

Stevo said...

Can you buy poles at Wal-mart?