The “other” fitness pole

Pole fit­ness classes have made their mark on fit­ness sched­ules across the coun­try. This post, how­ever, is ded­i­cated to the “other” type of pole–the trekking pole–their ben­e­fits and train­ing advan­tages.  Although, I have com­pleted Nordic Walk­ing Instruc­tor Train­ing (along with Zumba, Grav­ity, Power Plate, and a tool­box full of other pop-up fit­ness trends, bands, disks, balls, bells and whis­tles),  this method (as the oth­ers) is in many ways just a cre­ative brand­ing of a time-tested prac­tice.  This post is meant to edu­cate the reader on the ben­e­fit of poles (fit­ness, trekking, etc.) when prepar­ing for long-distance hikes or when going out for a power walk.  I will use the term Pole walk­ing, Nordic walk­ing, and Ski walk­ing syn­ony­mously through­out this post.  Tips for choos­ing the right poles to come!

Ben­e­fits of Pole Walking

(Stud­ies in Europe and the United States have proved the fol­low­ing health ben­e­fits.  More studies/research avail­able at skiwalking.com)

 

  • Nordic Walk­ing burns up to 40% more calo­ries than walk­ing with­out poles. Nordic Walk­ing also reduces knee and joint strain. It nat­u­rally loosens and strength­ens the neck, back and shoulders.
  • Unlike walk­ing, run­ning and bik­ing, Pole Walk­ing works the arms, shoul­der and abs.
  • A study con­ducted at the Uni­ver­sity of Mass­a­chu­setts at Amherst showed that using poles lets hik­ers lengthen their strides, put less strain on their knees, and gen­er­ally feel more com­fort­able. The hik­ers stud­ied did not expend less energy, but the increase in sta­bil­ity made long treks easier.
  • Pole walk­ing pro­vides ALL the low impact ben­e­fits of walk­ing, while reduc­ing knee and joint strain, burn­ing more calo­ries, work­ing the upper body, increas­ing oxy­gen con­sump­tion and pro­vid­ing a more effec­tive aer­o­bic workout.
  • Pole walk­ing improves lymph sys­tem func­tion and boosts the immune system.
  • It helps main­tain joint health and range of motion.
  • 90% of the body’s mus­cles are acti­vated in this form of exercise.
  • Using poles gives an aver­age of 20–25% greater car­dio fit­ness effect than reg­u­lar walk­ing and induces a lower per­ceived feel­ing of exer­tion than like aer­o­bic activities.
  • Using poles pro­motes an upright and bal­anced walk­ing posture.

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