Saturday, April 1, 2023

Nordic Walking: How to, Why and Myth Busting

February 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Poles for Nordic Walking

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.

To be clear:

  • 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!


6 Responses to “Nordic Walking: How to, Why and Myth Busting”
  1. rick deutsch says:

    Ms. Paley,

    I agree totally. I am dumbfounded when I read the blogs and websites. I have even red “experts” talk about the need for special “Nordic Walking Shoes.” (?) This sport would take off in the USA if a celebrity used them – Oprah or Ellen or on “The World’s Biggest Loser.” The national organizations should focus on getting them e x p o s u r e. Imagine what a photo of Celine Dion using them would do for NW!!

    Rick D, San Jose

  2. Rhea says:

    Thanks for writing this up Jayah. I think you hit the nail on the head with this! Keep up the great work.

  3. NordicKay says:

    Interesting, have a couple of comments:

    ■ Adjustable poles enable you to progress as you learn.

    We recommend fixed length poles only, adjustables are fine if you intend to use them on holiday, and we do not advise you to use them all the time.

    ■ The decision of which type of poles might best suit you depends on your issues and goals. For example, an older adult at risk for falling forward would not be best served with the propelling technique used in Nordic Walking.

    A professional instructor will show you how to use the poles correctly for your benefit, we teach students with special medical needs, we also train physiotherapists, the results that we have had for example with Parkinson’s patients has been outstanding, in older adults it assists in balance, posture and coordination.

    It’s a great way to get fit and if you can walk you can Nordic Walk, I’d love to see more people try it!

    • Jayah Faye Paley says:

      You do not say why you recommend non-adjustable poles. People are different. They don’t feel the same every day. Why would you ever recommend non-adjustable poles? They do not slip or collapse if properly adjusted and cared for.

      You’re right about getting instruction. However, I would be very concerned with anyone who said that one style anything was good for everyone. When I “fit” a person, I normally let their body decide. It’s a process that takes anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to really determine what suits best.

      I strongly disagree about Nordic Walking for mid to late Parkinson’s. Take a look at my POLES for Balance & Mobility DVD. Then decide what you think.

      Thanks for your comment! Jayah Faye Paley

  4. Jayah – you are absolutely correct…

    In fact Rick and Rhea as well. I said 3 years ago that the reason the public has not adopted the use of the pole regardless of demographic populations is that with any product program — success will only occur when you add and multiple and at days end and weather the ruff times by steering clear of those that strive for division and subtraction to set themselves on an island.

    Jayah, deep… sorry but the fact is having been personally engulfed by a lifestyle of health/wellness/fitness/sport and been privy to apply as a business you just know… – I say that humbly.

    The great part of this POLE Health Vision Worldwide for me personally is it will grow, change directions and improve ultimately — that’s why I love it and choose to stick with it regardless.

    At days end everyone will be better, and be able to reflect and say, I remember when…


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