Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Weight Watchers & Slimming World Feature Nordic Walking !

Here in the UK two of the biggest names in the weight loss / slimming industry have recently featured Nordic Walking in their publications.

Slimming World featured an article in the monthly membership magazine and Weight Watchers feature an article on their UK website at:


Nordic Walking Shoes !

I am frequently asked to recommend the best type of shoe for Nordic Walking. Up until recently I have suggested checking out specialist 'fitness walking shoes' - Not that that is necessarily as straight forward as it sounds...

Certainly here in the UK (I can't speak for elsewhere in the world) - If you go into a sports shoe store and ask for 'fitness walking shoes', don't be surprised to be greated with blank stares or comments such as "what do you mean... like a running shoe or a training shoe"?

After much searching around my home town I did found what I was looking for - Hence I currently wear the 'New Balance 746' - This was the only 'fitness walking' shoe I could find! Had I been a lady I would have had a choice of three ladies New Balance fitness walking shoes.

However - Now it looks as though shoe companies are beginning to catch on. An instructor friend in the UK recently showed me a prototype 'Nordic Walking' shoe from one of the major sports shoe manufacturers (not sure if I am supposed to mention which company, so I won't). I have also found the following short article about Nordic Walking shoes, that you may find interesting.


Thursday, November 24, 2005


Walk for 49 days over the next 12 years (that's just over 4 days a year) and add 1.3 healthy years to your life !

Check out this intertesting article at one of my favorite 'walking' news websites:


Welcome - Isle of Man !

Further to my postings of the 18th & 23rd October - My thanks to Pete Lumb for letting me know that he is subscribing from the Isle of Man. So by my reckoning Nordic Walking News now has subscribers in 35 countries / territories across the world - Unless you know different ?

Here is the up to date list - If your country is not listed, please let me know:


Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Micronesia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Wales

By the way - For anyone who is not sure .... Geographically the Isle of Man is part of the British Islands, situated midway between England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. This small country has a land mass of some 227 square miles (572 sq. kms) and measures at its extremities 33 miles (52 kms) by 13 miles (22 kms).

Motorbike racing enthusiasts will no doubt know of the famous Isle of Man TT races. For more information on the Isle of Man visit:

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Calling all - UK based Nordic Walkers who are up for a challenge!

Nordic Walking is for everyone regardless of age or fitness level...

So, for the slightly more energetic amongs us, my thanks to Graham at for supplying me with the dates for the UK 'Lakeland Trails' 2006 Nordic Walking Events:

If any of these trail events, which cover distances from 13K - 20K are of interest to you, then why not check out Graham's website for further details.

22nd April Hawkshead Trail 15km, nr Ambleside
4th June Garburn Trail 20km, Staveley to Windermere
9th September Derwentwater Trail 13km, Keswick (provisional date)
14th October Coniston Trail 14km, Coniston

Nordic Walking instructors are available, as well as nordic walking poles. All the courses are well marked and marshalled, support local mountain rescue and conservation charities, and are a lot of fun.

Details and slideshows of the courses are on

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Pole Length Re-Visited - More Food For Thought!

For fixed length poles the general pole length formula = Your height in cms x 0.68 - Then go to the nearest 5 cms (fixed length poles come in 5 cm increments).

Many instructors use this formula and generally speaking it offers a pretty good general guideline. However, other factors can and do come in to play both with newcomers and with the more experienced Nordic Walker. These factors, if known may have a bearing on the best pole length for you as an individual.

Note: Ideally you want to be able to try your poles for size before you buy them. However, in most countries that is not yet possible, due to the very limited number of retailers who actually stock Nordic Walking poles.

Perhaps a better way of assessing correct pole size is to stand tall holding eg your right pole in your right hand with the tip of the pole on the ground, just in front and to the right of your right small toe. Now tuck your right elbow into the side. You are ideally looking for a 90 degree (right angle) at the right elbow. Therefore adjust your pole accordingly. Once you have adjusted the first pole then put the other pole alongside and then adjust it to match.

Note: When checking for a right angle at the elbow, either ask someone to 'be your eyes' or check yourself out in a mirror.

As already stated, there are other factors that you may want to consider before deciding the best pole length and also the best type of poles (eg one-piece or adjustables) for you. These factors are:

1) Removing the 'asphalt paw' for use on surfaces such as grass, forest trails or dirt reduces the pole length. On a softer surface such as sand the pole will sink deeper which in effect reduces the pole length further. Therefore if you are doing most of your walking on a softer surface you may prefer to have a longer pole.

2) If you have a short natural stride you will not have the time to perform the same length arm swing as someone with a longer stride. Therefore a shorter length pole may be an option worth considering. Vice versa if you have a long natural stride.

3) If you have short legs, a shorter length pole may be better; vice versa for long legs.

4) If you have reduced joint range of motion (ROM) eg as a result of injury, operation or an age related conditions, a shorter length pole may be better.

5) If you are not able to achieve the full Nordic Walking technique, eg a less fit client may only be comfortable 'pushing to hip', a shorter pole may be better. Whilst a fitter client may prefer a longer pole.

6) If you intend to do a lot of hill walking you may want poles that best suite the varying terrain that you will be walking on, over, up or down - Adjustable poles may be your better option?

As I have said before: When deciding whether you should buy fixed length or adjustable poles consider your specific needs and intended uses. I hope this posting may give you a few more things to think about.

Whilst a 'purist' may want to buy a good quality one-piece carbon pole or even the very best lightest weight one-piece carbon pole on the market, that may not be the best option for everyone. Many people find that a good quality adjustable pole is far more adaptable and better suits their specific needs. 'It's horses for course'.

Remember, it's well worth giving full consideration to your specific needs and requirements before you spend your money.

If you find that a little way down the road you need longer poles you will then have to decide what to do:

1) Stay with the shorter pole
2) Buy a longer one piece pole
3) Buy a good quality adjustable pole.

Note: The word 'may' is used throughout this posting eg as in 'may give', 'may find', 'may prefer' etc. Issues such as pole length and whether a one piece or adjustable poles are better for you is not a precise art. What 'may' best suit you 'may' not best suit the next person. There is a degree of 'suck it and see'

Monday, November 14, 2005


Testimonial - Intense physiotherapy put me back on my feet

I have just had a lovely time reading Nordic Walking News - Well done and thank you.

One day after a regular 13 mile walk, I suffered from a very painful and fat knee. Intense physiotherapy put me back on my feet, but the physiotherapist told me I should use a stick to walk with, informing me that using a stick would take as much as 40% of the pressure off that leg (slightly affected by polio as a child).

On holiday in the Bernese Oberland, I saw an advert for Nordic Walking. Back home I "googled" Nordic Walking, and I have now had my second lesson with my instructor, Ivan Hunger. It is early days, but I have really enjoyed the lessons, and feel I am learning better body use.

Beverley Hall
Reading, Berkshire, England

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Anyone for 1800 Abdominal Crunches / Sit Ups or 900 Press-Ups in 15 - 20 minutes ?

Can you imagine doing 1800 Crunches / Sit Ups or 900 Press-Ups in 15 - 20 minutes ?

That' s one of the questions I ask my clients when they attend my Nordic Walking Workshops. It always results in bemused looks and a few good laughs...

Ok - Let me explain.

Lets take the average number of steps per mile that we walk as being 1800 (some people will take more and others less).

So that's 900 steps with the right foot and 900 steps with the left foot for every mile we walk. OK - Now lets pick up our Nordic Walking poles; now that's 900 times that we pole with our right arm and 900 with the left arm for every mile we walk (Hey - We've changed from biped to quadriped!)...

Take this a stage further that's 900 times we contract our right tricep (muscle on the rear of the upper arms - you know the one ladies ? Gents too ?) and 900 we contract our left tricep - For every mile we walk.

Now if we take between 15 - 20 minutes to walk a mile, that means we contract each tricep 900 times every 15 to 20 minutes !

Another way to contract each triceps 900 times is to do 900 press-ups (see photo) ! ... Any takers for 900 press-ups in 15 - 20 minutes ? - Now don't all rush !

We also contact our abdominal muscles 1800 for every mile we Nordic Walk. The abdominals include our 'transverse abdominus', that's the muscle lying behind the 'rectus abdominus' (the one that looks like a 'six pack' on 'body builders' !). It's the transverse abdominus that we must engage (by drawing navel to spine) to give us 'core stability'.

Note: Core stability is vital to support and protect the 'lumbar spine' (lower back) which you should aim to maintain in a 'neutral postion' (natural arch) whenever possible eg do not 'slump' when you are seated and stand tall (lift ribs from hips when standing or walking).

Now another way to contract our abdominal muscles 1800 times (in 15 - 20 minutes) would be to perform 1800 'abdominal crunches' (see photo) or 'sit ups' - Again any takers ?

So do you start to see the huge benefits you experience every time you go for a Nordic Walk.... and that' s just on the 'muscle front'.

Note: Why is having strong toned muscles so important ? Well - If the muscles that support our spine lose strength and weaken our spine starts to collapse and we gradually start returning towards the foetal position (observe some elderly people). If our neck muscles are week we cannot hold our head up (ditto - some elderly people). If our quads (muscles on front of the thigh) are weak we will walk with bent knees (gravity pulls us down and we again move further towards the foetal position) - Get the picture ?

Question - Apart from working out at the gym or doing exercises such as abdominal crunches / sit ups and press-ups at home - How else are you going to maintain (let alone improve) the strength in your upper body muscles ? How else apart from Nordic Walking of course.

Remember this - I have just referred in this posting to the triceps and the abdominals - Don't forget Nordic Walking is targeting 90% of your body's muscles. There are approximately 650 named muscles in the human body, so that means Nordic Walking targets something like 580 different muscles !

However - Unlike working out in a gym or doing high intensity forms of exercise, Nordic Walking exercises our muscles in a gentle, controlled and rythmic way and they are all working together in synergy just like the wonderfully honed machine that the human body is.

Nordic Walking is kind to the body in every way but the benefits are huge.

Remember this too - You are getting all those benefits from one single form of exercise - WOW ! AND you are getting both cardio-vascular (heart / lung) benefits as well as muscle strengthening, toning and conditioning benefits too - ALL FROM ONE SINGLE EXERCISE !!!

Monday, November 07, 2005


Video / DVD Nordic Walking The Ultimate Fitness Experience

I get numerous emails asking me if I know of a Nordic Walking DVD or Video that will teach you how to Nordic Walk - There is no 'English Language' video (to my knowledge) that will teach you the complete 'step by step' process as if you were attending a training workshop. However I am happy to recommend:
Nordic Walking - The Ultimate Fitness Experience.
The DVD / Video is not a quick infomercial, it is a forty minute full-length, instructional DVD/Video produced by Bernd Zimmermann, the Founder & President of the American Nordic Walking Association (ANWA). It offers a complete picture of Nordic Walking including: Basic Techniques, Advanced Techniques, Heart Rate Zones, Interval Training, Health Benefits of Nordic Walking, Exercises with poles, and much more.

To order this DVD / Video and to view a large range of Nordic Walking poles and accessories visit: and go to the 'shop'

If you place an order, so that the guys at Nordic Walking Online can see where their enquiries are coming from- Perhaps you would be kind enough to make a note in the 'special instruction' box on the online order form, that it was 'David at Nordic Walking News' who recommended you pay a visit.

Happy Viewing....

Saturday, November 05, 2005


The Best Type of Pole

If you are a regular reader you may have gathered by now that as editor of this Independent publication I am not going to give my opinion on which poles are best. Apart from anything else -Which poles are best depends on your individual requirements.

You hear a lot of rubbish (in my opinion) talked about why one piece poles are better than adjustable and vice versa, when it really does come down to the requirements of the individual.
See my posting dated Friday 15th June - "What poles should I buy"? Here's the direct link:
It saddens me when I hear a story like I heard from one of my personal clients yesterday. The lady had turned up at a 2 day Nordic Walking event with adjustable poles. The event was being run by instructors who are linked in with an organisation who actively discourages people from buying adjustable poles by using scare tactics such as "you want to be careful with those, the locking mechanism is likely to fail just when you don't want it too" or "You better not do these resistance exercises using your adjustable poles because they might collapse".

The bottom line is (as I have said elsewhere in Nordic Walking News) - I own both one piece and adjustable poles and I use both types of poles at my workshops and training sessions and I sell both types of poles to my clients and I have yet to have or hear of a single problem with any of my poles.

Does this mean that there are no problems? Of course not - I have heard of incidences where adjustable poles have slipped when pressure has been applied to them just as I have heard of incidences where good quality one piece carbon poles have snapped (in one case when it was hit by a stray ball!) - But come on - The reality is, as long as you buy good quality poles from a reputable manufacturer and don't fall into the trap of buying cheap imitation imports whether you buy one piece or adjustable you are more than likely going to have positive experiences.

Note: If you use adjustables of course do make sure you have correctly adjusted and tightened your poles before each use.

So it really, really doesn't matter if you buy one piece or adjustables - Just read my article at: help you decide what option is best for you.

Photo - In case you were wondering - Yes it's me Nordic Walking along Shell Bay Beach at the entrance to Poole Harbour on the South Coast of the UK (a short walk from my home).

Note: Poole Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the world, after Sydney, Australia. Aparently (and I've never tried it) but if you were able to walk around the complete shoreline you would have to walk 100 miles.

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