So… recently I have taken up Nordic Walking. Yes, that’s right, Nordic Walking. You’ve most likely seen the seniors in your Grandparent’s “Over 60 Community” doing their laps with what you probably think are ski poles. Well, guess what. I’m bringing it back.
Am I the only person who isn’t retired doing this? Probably. Do I care? Not really. Do I get strange looks from people jogging on the lap? You betcha. It doesn’t matter though… and not just because I wait until it’s dark and try to avoid eye contact with people. It doesn’t matter because, for those of us who cannot run for one reason or another (mine stems from knees that are in such bad shape from skating and field hockey injuries, I was told I would need metal pins to keep them in place by the age of 18. Nearly 30 years later, and I’m pin free… except for my face… in the form of piercings… getting off topic again.. now I have to see where I left off in the original sentence.. oh yeah, there it is..), it is an almost equally beneficial workout.
Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. First of all, Nordic Walking burns 40% more calories than regular walking. By using the Nordic Walking poles, or “sticks” as I lovingly refer to them as, you are engaging every muscle in your body, as well as strengthening your core. Your upper body is getting just as much of a work out as your lower body. This is good news for me, as I’ve recently noticed a bit of jiggle in my upper arms when pointing at things. I’m not down for the bingo flaps, so this is an area I really need to work on. Walking with the sticks, promotes good posture and almost forces you to pull your abs in as you’re walking, therefore strengthening your core. The sticks also help to take some of the pressure off of your hips, knees and ankles as you’re walking. This is probably one of the reasons why it is so popular among the retirement community folks…. who are incredibly fabulous, by the way, but maybe need a little more support in those areas (hell, I know I sure do!).
This may be my favorite part…it makes you want to walk faster. You’re constantly pushing off from the back, therefore, pushing yourself forward, unconsciously making you speed up your pace. In fact, I’ve even managed to get myself to a light jog recently because walking just doesn’t seem fast enough. Again, due to previously acquired badass injuries, I can’t do it for very long or my knees will pop out, causing me to cry out in pain and let’s face it… I’m already drawing enough attention to myself with the sticks.
Extra special mega bonus time. Here in Sweden, my current location, it’s cold. I know, hard to believe that in winter, a Nordic country could produce an average temperature of -12 celsius (10 fahrenheit), an excessive amount of snow, and streets, sidewalks and nature paths covered in 4 inches of ice. At least, this is what the city officials seem to think every year when the first snowfall hits and they’re completely unprepared with the plows.
Official someone in charge of stuff number one: “Wait.. you mean, it’s snowing? In December? In Sweden? Well I’ll be damned… What do we do?”
Official someone in charge of stuff number two: “I don’t know!! Who could have predicted there would be snow..SNOW(!) in SWEDEN! In December!! I mean, what’s next? Tropical storms effecting tropical islands?? What a world.”
I strayed off topic again…
Extra special mega bonus: The poles help support you when there is ice or snow on the ground. No more excuses, like “it’s too icy”, or “the snow is too deep”. Suck it up. I even go off the path for what I like to call “off road Nordic Walking”, and cut through the fields in the snow. This REALLY gets the heart going and the blood circulating. The sticks help me keep my balance, and help me to push off through the deeper snow. It’s the equivalent of running in the sand.
It also doubles as my meditation time. I’ve had some brilliant ideas while out there walking. Working in the music industry, I often need quiet, music-free time. I don’t bring an iPod or any other music device with me. Just listen to the sounds around me, take in the scenery and allow myself this time to be inspired. You will be amazed how clear your head can be after a nice long walk. Not to mention how good you’ll feel knowing you actually got off your ass and burned some calories.
So there you have it. Can’t run or don’t like running? Constantly finding excuses NOT to go out for an evening stroll? No more excuses… get yourself some sticks, or as they are officially known, Nordic Walking poles, and get out there. I hope I inspired you a bit and convinced you that Nordic Walking, isn’t just for people over 60.
Here’s me before a stroll. -12 celsius for this walk. You warm up quickly, trust me. Plus, as it’s me, underneath that NHL track jacket, is my new, amazing hoodie from Twist & Tango. Fashionable AND practical working out clothes. That’s how I roll.