Guest Author - Elizabeth Brennan
Walking poles have become a very popular walking aid to safer and more effective walking. If you are walking regularly one way of getting more benefit from your walk and more value for the time you have committed to exercise is to use walking poles. There are so many obvious benefits to using poles that you will wonder how you ever did without them. For help on how to use poles click here.
Nordic walking. is a special walking technique using walking poles,which was developed in Finland in the 1980s.There is a slightly different walking pole used for this exercise. The poles are fitted with gloves or half gloves rather than straps for better grasp but this is a minor detail. You can get the same benefits from using any poles.
They are best used in pairs, so you do not overwork just one side of your body.
They can be used by all age groups and there is no special training needed to use them.Just strap them on and have a little practice walk. They are lightweight and inexpensive if you do not need them for specific work such as serious mountain climbing. Poles come in different weights and strengths depending on the amount of work you expect them to do.
Poles are adjustable so you can adjust the length to suit you height. The poles should be at elbow height and can be lengthened or shortened for going downhill or uphill according to personal preference.
The most obvious benefit op walking poles is that they give you stability on uneven or yielding ground. They will improve your balance and posture and help you negotiate difficult terrain with less difficulty. They are particularly helpful on icy ground or in snow. For sensitive knee joints, poles take some of the pressure and weight helping you to walk more comfortably and minimising damage to joints from the shock of constant footfall.
Using poles will turn a daily walk into a complete body workout by exercising your arm, shoulder, chest and upper back muscles, strengthening them and toning that area of your body. Using your poles to propel you will increase your pace and get your heart working more effectively.
As you twist and turn your lower body to the rhythm of your arm swing you will be working and strengthening your core abdominal muscles. These are the muscles which help us bend, stretch and lift. They support our body weight as we walk. This workout on these muscles will lead to a trimmer abdomen.
Using your poles as you walk will increase calorie consumption as you are doing more exercise in the same time. This fact will be an aid to weight loss or maintenance if you want to eat that extra chocolate bar. Using poles forces you to maintain good posture which will help strengthen your back muscles and give you a youthful, sporty air which in turn will increase your self esteem.
When walking in the countryside your poles will be a help to swipe brambles or bushes on your path and be a weapon if you are worried by dogs. If you walk alone your poles will keep you company and motivate you to cover greater distance.
Try them out. You will be surprised and wonder why you didnít use them up to this.
Check out the poles below which are inexpensive and effective.