An Introduction to Nordic Walking
Have you ever wished that there was a bridge between gym based training and running? A form of training that is run specific and that perhaps hammers your body a lot less than putting in miles on the road? Well look no further because the answer is here, and it’s almost too obvious to be true!
Fitness walking with Nordic ski poles was first introduced in Finland in the late 80’s in a desperate attempt to improve the appalling state of the nations health. From small beginnings no one could have guessed how the concept would have exploded in Europe over the last two years.
From 1997 the Fin’s labelled it “Nordic Walking” and all of a sudden, power walking with poles became the cool thing to do (- in Europe anyway!)… And in case you were wondering, it did the business with the Finnish health situation.
Nordic Walking Poles
Getting the right Nordic Walking equipment is simple really, running clothing and footwear is fine, but you will need a pair of poles of course.
The ideal Nordic Walking pole is well balanced, light and adjustable, with a reliable and strong locking mechanism. Nordic Walking poles differ from trekking poles in a number of ways but mainly in the design of the handle and the configuration of the wrist strap.
Nordic Walking pole handles are very slim and are designed not to interfere with the snappy wrist action during the end phase of the pole push through. The straps need to be supportive and strong as they take most of the force that the upper body generates when you are doing it right. When you have the strap on and then let go of the pole handle, the handle should stay close to the hand ready for the recovery phase of the polling action. The best straps fit around your hand, almost like a glove, and can detach from the pole using a “trigger” release, allowing you to get your hands free from the poles whenever you need to.
Poles need to be set at approximately elbow height, but you may find that as you improve, you need to lengthen the pole as your arm and leg stride increases – this is why it’s best to have an adjustable pole.
Find out more about Leki Nordic Walking poles.