Why you should treat yourself to your own poles

Katharine Green
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If you, like us have got the Nordic walking bug and understand the benefits, I cannot recommend enough to invest in a pair of your own poles. It’s fantastic if you join us for a weekly Nordic walk, but imagine how much your body shape and fitness will improve if you Nordic walk 2 or 3 times a week between classes. Or even everyday…..

A decent pair of exel poles is anything from £70 - £135. Nordic Walking East Anglia are offering 10% off this price (See Mary’s blog for advise on buying the right poles for you). A well worth investment when you consider the advantages to your body and mind;


One of my regular walkers said that after Nordic walking she spends all day being aware of her posture. We need to spend everyday being aware of our posture. Walking with poles immediately removes the handbag/shopping/cup of coffee/dog lead (click here for advice for Nordic walking with dogs) from the equation, making us focus on standing tall and lengthening our spines. Think chin up, and enjoy the view.


The constant reminders and exercises in classes to engage the tummy muscles, will hopefully mean that when you are Nordic walking on your own this becomes part of the action. Remember that when the arms push down through the poles the core is automatically engaged. If you can consciously hold these muscles in when pushing down, they will work doubly hard. By adding the torso rotation as you walk, the oblique muscles will be working too. Surely much more pleasurable than doing endless sit ups…? Being strong in the core is crucial to protecting your back and helping with your balance.


The more frequently you can go Nordic walking, or do any other aerobic activity the more your fitness will improve. Obviously you need to be working at a reasonable level of intensity. Aerobic fitness is about raising the heart rate. Walking with poles works the upper body and encourages a faster pace, with the heel to toe roll and propulsion through the push. Try to increase your distance, speed and duration over time. Little and often is a good place to start.


You cannot open the paper or turn on the radio (particularly this week as it is Mental Health Awareness Week) on the benefits of walking and physical exercise for your sense of wellbeing. Exercise is a mood enhancer, which releases endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ chemicals, even proven to treat and in some cases prevent depression. Nordic walking helps relieve stress, taking time to focus on one self and concentrate the mind away from day to day anxieties. The more often you can walk the better you will feel.


With the onset summer there is no better time to get in shape. Nordic walking will particularly help tone and strengthen the arms (goodbye bingo wings) and back muscles. Extending the arms behind you as far as possible, and the action of opening and closing the hand, which engages the tricep muscle, all help with toning the upper body. Pushing down through the poles as mentioned earlier engages the core, but also engages the pectoral and back muscles. Not forgetting to roll the feet and squeeze the bottom when walking for maximum benefit.

Obviously to be able to see these rewards you need to be Nordic walking as much as possible. But you will start to notice them, I promise. So go on, invest in your own poles.

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