Determining which poles best suit a person’s issues and goals is an important part of the learning process. We use all 3 types of poles, helping participants figure out what works best for their structure (fit), their issues and their goals.
Take a look at this Article in the Pacifica Tribune this morning. We offer 3 levels of classes so anyone can learn great skills to more fully enjoy the outdoors.
- How to use POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise
- How to use POLES for Balance, Mobility and Basic (Functional) Walking
- Walking Workout: Urban PoleWalking for Health & Fitness (Nordic Walking)
Regardless of your activity level, you can achieve many benefits from learning these skills. Your back and knees will thank you and you’ll feel taller.
Increased circulation to the brain is a good thing! Being outside, with your buddies, enjoying a full body experience is the triple win of poles!
Check our calendar for all class listings, including Rocky Mountain National Park!
Join us on Friday afternoon, March 2, 2012 for a Nordic Walking training around beautiful Lake Merritt in Oakland. This park has undergone an amazing transformation thanks to the voting citizens of Oakland. Class is listed with the City of Oakland.
Nordic Walking helps you walk with the attitude of youth. Click here for a step-by-step tutorial with video.
The Redhead (Aythya americana) is sometimes seen in bays (Tomales Bay, Bodega Bay, etc.) but more often on lakes and ponds. In my limited experience they have been shy birds, always too far for a photo. Imagine our delight when this one joined all the scaups and other Aythya at Lake Merritt yesterday. Swimming with 50 feet of the Redhead were a male Tufted Duck, male Ring-necked Duck, and both sexes of the Canvasback, Lesser Scaup and Greater Scaup. The Redhead is a pretty duck, and rather unmistakeable. An old name for the Redhead was “American Pochard”. If there is a better “natural” spot in the world to view the Aythya, I’d be surprised.
Join American Nordic Walking Association certified instructor
Rick Deutsch, for a fun instructional 1-hour session around Reno’s beautiful Sparks Marina. You might know him better as Mr. Half Dome, having hiked to the summit 30 times. Rick also teaches Nordic Walking on Crystal Cruise ships. He’ll have loaner LEKI poles for the 1-hour sessions, so you can experience the benefits of Nordic Walking.
Classes will be held at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm. They are $25 and pre-registration is required. Only 10 people per session. The event is sponsored by Healthy Beginnings lifestyle magazine. Call 775-828-1309 to book your spot now.
HIKERS: Try snugging up your straps. Yes, it’s that simple. If you use the straps correctly and your body optimally, the poles are an extension of your arms. It’s easier to feel the PUSH of the poles on flat and uphill if you’re using them in a pushing action. This sounds simplistic, but try tightening your straps the next time you want to really MOVE and see how it feels.
This extra POWER presumes you’re using poles optimally and also using gloves. We like simple bike gloves – no Velcro and finger pockets for easy removal. They can significantly improve your performance, reduce hand strain and protect your hands on the trail.
Notice the distinction we make between correctly and optimally. This is very important and deliberate. EveryBODY is different and it’s important to LISTEN to your body. Make accommodation where and when you need to.
- Optimal use of poles means you’re getting the most benefit for your body based on your goals. Your goals usually depend on your issues and the terrain.
- Correct use means you know the basics. For example, how many times have you seen people hiking with their travel tips on or hauling themselves uphill? Or using straps in a way that facilitates what we call “The Death Grip?”
The list of non-optimal things we see on the trail goes on and on. I like to focus on good form and I enjoy when people want to learn and understand that, by learning, they get better exercise, improve their performance and their enjoyment of the outdoors.
This lovely locale is easily accessible, paved the entire way with gently rolling hills along a beautiful reservoir. For bikers: do this Mon-Fri. Weekends are too busy with walkers for biking.
This is a great biking option year-round. In Springtime, there’s an amazing array of flowers. Bring your binocs – you never know what you might see. Bike + Binocs = Bird-mobiling.
You can start at either end. I usually start at the North end. There’s a large gravel parking lot at the corner of Skyline & San Bruno Ave. This ride direction is a bit more difficult because there’s more uphill on the return. Also, it ensures that I do both segments (which are separated by an easy piece on the road). Walkers can stay on the path, but bikers have to veer off to connect the 2 segments. If you start at the south end, it’s off of Highway 92. For more info, check this link. Or this one.
These photos were taken in early May. The red flowers are columbines. I’ve never seen such an abundance of columbines – thousands – just below (south of) the dam.
As we age, we can lose or reduce spine function. Using poles for walking and hiking enables us to use our upper body muscles to help preserve our joints. Spine function can be restored. This is done because, when we walk with poles, we appear to walk as we did when younger – with attitude. We are using muscles which support AND lengthen the spine. Walking with attitude – with purpose – is the natural walking pattern. It’s called reciprocal gait. It’s the diagonal pattern of opposite arm and leg. When this occurs, the spine is able to ROTATE. This spinal rotation feels good, looks good and is very healthy.
Walking with poles recruits core muscles, including the latissimus dorsi, lower trapezius and oblique muscles. These core muscles, when used, strengthen. When optimal posture and form are used, the spine lengthens. Gravity acts, the spine compresses, we get shorter. Using poles actually can reverse this process – the spine lengthens and elongates.
All of this assumes a natural arm swing. The arm swing is part of the spinal rotation and muscle recruitment. Learning optimal use of poles is key to achieving these benefits. Beware fads or techniques that involve elbow pumping. Repetitive movement of a joint can cause stress. Repetitive movement especially of an elbow joint can cause tendonitis. Anything that does not look natural or like walking “with attitude” needs to be approached with caution.
- As you walk, think of walking with purpose or focus.
- Think of a lovely sachet or of strutting.
- One lady said, “Oh you want me to walk Sassy!.” YES!
- Whatever works for you, know that you cannot rotate too much.
- It only looks like you’re walking YOUNG.
Regain the vibrancy of youthful walking – learn to walk optimally with poles and Enjoy the Outdoors!
I just created a new Facebook Page for people to use as a FORUM for asking questions, discussing how poles enhance their outdoor experiences and help them achieve their goals.
Please check it out and click the LIKE button to enjoy: FaceBook Page for Pole Walkers
Walking with hand weights is a TERRIBLE idea.
Why do people walk with hand weights? One word: TIME. Everyone is busy; trying to get in all the exercise we know is good for us is tough. So we combine, we consolidate and we multitask. Here are some problems we see with people who walk with hand weights:
- No one is ever smiling.
- Walking form suffers – often significantly.
- What movements are people doing? Mostly Biceps curls. Oh goody, lots of biceps curls – maybe 400? This is repetitive movement of the elbow joint: think tendinitis.
- What good do the weights do when they’re not in use? NOTHING.
- Hands have to GRIP the weights. This impairs a natural arm swing. This inhibits spinal rotation. You lose the spinal lubrication that is inherent in healthy walking.
- Gripping causes strain in the fragile joints of the hand.
- What happens to the shoulders? Mostly they rotate forward. This is TERRIBLE for posture. It looks OLD.
- Do you need more reasons why walking with hand weights is a terrible idea?
Now, if you want to multitask or up the energy in your walk, try Nordic Walking. Search Nordic Walking on this blog and, if you still have ANY doubts at all, contact us.
Lots of people are blogging about Nordic Walking. These posts tend to be “thin” with lots of sales links. Also, people are mixing trekking poles and Nordic Walking poles. Trekking poles are for hiking. Nordic Walking is a great exercise activity. Click for a comparison of poles and styles.
Exercising with poles: When you walk, the opposite arm swings with the leg. This alternating stride is called reciprocal gait.
It’s the natural walking pattern. Adding poles can facilitate an exaggerated movement which increases spinal rotation – this is like lubricating your spine.
Using optimal form, muscles in your back, core and arms assist in a pushing action. If your shoulders are in the optimal position (it’s called scapular retraction and depression – imagine rolling your shoulders up, around, down and back as if you were putting your shoulder blades into your back pocket), then the large back muscles facilitate an ELONGATED SPINE. Rather than “slumping,” you’re standing and walking TALLER! This translates to healthy, youthful walking. It’s very good exercise.
For an accurate tutorial (video and step by step instructions) on how to achieve optimal form, check out our Nordic Walking Page. For lots more pole tips, including etiquette and form search this blog for etiquette and tips.
- Nordic Walking poles are not for hiking.
- One piece poles are not better for everyone.
- Adjustable poles enable you to progress as you learn.
- Properly adjusted and cared-for poles do NOT slip or collapse.
- Everyone on the planet is not the same, so choosing a pair of poles is an individual choice. Not one style or model works for everyone.
- Not every blog post purporting to be expert is actually accurate. If you do something that does not feel right, listen to YOUR BODY.
- The decision of which type of poles might best suit you depends on your issues and goals. For example, a older adult at risk for falling forward would not be best served with the propelling technique used in Nordic Walking.
- If you wonder what might be best for you – trekking or Nordic Walking poles, you can fill out a Pole Consultation Form. Please fill it out completely, including your phone number.
Happy Walking, Hiking, Moving & Grooving!
With OPTIMAL USE, you can achieve ALL these BENEFITS of using Poles for Hiking, Walking, Exercise, Balance & Mobility!
Win-Win-Win ~ Be in nature, connecting with your friends and family while getting a great workout using your whole body.
Improve Power, Balance, Control & Confidence ~ Confidence is the #1 benefit for many pole users. It cannot be taught, but it is felt almost immediately and empowers people of all ages.
Preserve Joints ~ Reduce stress on knees, ankles, hips, and spine. Optimal use helps to prevent strain on joints in the hands, arms and shoulders.
Fat Burning & Weight Loss ~ Experience faster, easier and more efficient calorie burning and energy use with poles because more muscles are recruited in less time.
Focus ~ Using poles reminds us that we’re getting great exercise. The constant feedback we receive enables more consistent spinal rotation, power and attention to our bodies.
Improve Gait ~ Walking with 2 poles facilitates a more even, fluid and reciprocal gait. People preparing for or recovering from joint resurfacing or replacement can help “unweight” a joint.
Increase Endurance ~ Spread the work of the muscles over your entire body to experience more energy and greater endurance for your hike or walk.
Improve Posture & Cardio-Pulmonary Function ~ Walking with poles “self corrects” posture allowing your lungs to reach greater capacity. This benefits cardio-pulmonary function and helps to increase endurance.
Weight-Bearing Exercise – Build Core Strength ~ Weight-bearing exercise is recommended for prevention and management of osteoporosis. Using poles while walking is a time-efficient way to get weight-bearing exercise.
Compliance ~ “Sporty” poles can be more empowering than a cane.
Lymphedema ~ Movement of hands & arms may facilitate reduction of swelling in hands during exercise.
Reduce Risk of Falling & Injury ~ Poles provide bi-lateral stability.
Equalize ~ Family and friends of uneven abilities can walk together – poles can give you an “edge” and help you keep up with your buddies.
Enjoy the Outdoors, Feel the Power ~ Venture onto uneven terrain with confidence and have more fun while hiking or walking!.
Achieve, Regain & Maintain Mobility ~ “ARMM” yourself with a vital skill for LIFE!
Restore & Maintain Spine Function ~ Walk with attitude and vitality. Look and feel YOUNGER!