Monday, December 26, 2005


Testimonial - From a couple of active retirees


"Firstly, thanks for a brilliant website, full of interest and extremely useful.

Jean & I came across Nordic Walking on the last day of a walking holiday in Kandersteg, Switzerland, where with a few hours to kill, we had a lesson. We were hooked!

As active retirees [70 & 68 yrs] we bought semi-adjustable poles [Leki Vario, carbon poles; +/- 5cm variation], thinking, rightly it turned out, that we would lengthen our poles as we got into our stride.

We walk 3-4 times a week, from 3-7 miles, in all terrains from local quiet roads to woods, beaches and mountains - Northumberland (UK) is ideal country. Here's our thoughts...

* Don't be in a hurry to build up speed and distance! It's amazing the new aches we discovered by so doing!

*Do go through a warm-up and warm-down routine - it really is beneficial. More details from David I'm sure!


Hope to have some news on that one very soon... Editor


*We use a GPS [Garmin Foretrex 201] to measure distance/speed etc, and download routes onto Memory Map [from Ordnance Survey]

*We recently had another lesson! Helped consolidate and extend our style - as well as correcting faults.

*Very recently we've also bought Travelling poles - 3-piece titanium [Leki Travellers] so that we can easily take them on holiday in our suitcases. Not quite as light as Carbons, but very convenient - and ideal in mountains where they can be stowed or used as the terrain demands.


To read an independent review of the Leki Traveller Nordic Walking Poles visit:

Note: This page does not open in a seperate browser, so dont forget to use your back button to come back to this page after reading the review:

To purchase these poles (or other poles from Leki, Exel or Swix) visit the 'shop' at:

Note: If you make a purchase, to help the site owners record where their recommendations come from, perhaps you would enter "Nordic Walking News" in the special instruction box on the online order form.


*We'd prefer the one-piece carbon poles but they have their problems with stowage and transport on flights.

Finally, we have really benefitted from Nordic Walking in terms of general well-being and fitness. The best exercise ever - and I speak as an ex-jogger and marathon runner.

Best wishes for 2006 to you and your website"...

Otto & Jean Meth-Cohn
Northumberland, UK

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Merry Christmas Everbody!

As we approach Christmas I would like to offer my sincere thanks to readers of Nordic Walking News for all the support and kind words they have given me since I launched this publication only 9 months ago.

I have received a huge amount of emails from around the world- Amazingly barely a negative word has been written... I just hope all the praise has not gone to my head! I do try to keep my feet firmly on the ground.

Nordic Walking News is a labour of love - Just in case anyone doesn't know, I don't get paid for this ! I am simply a Nordic Walking instructor and enthusiast who takes time out to sit at his home computor in an endevour to promote our great sport by writing articles and replying to emails. I have dedicated many hundreds of hours to the task over the past 9 months!

This is a service to the world wide Nordic Walking community. If you have emailed me I hope I managed to reply to you - I do try! I apologise if at times my reply has been brief, even delayed but replying to emails can be very time consuming and like everyone else I only have limited free time.

One of the spin offs for me is that I have made contacts and friendships with some great people in the world wide Nordic Walking community, many of whom also put in tireless dedication to the 'greater cause'. We all owe those people (you know who you are!) a debt of gratitude. Some interesting opportunities have actually come my way as a result of these contacts.

I like to think that my 'independent' approach has been a breath of fresh air in a sport which like any other is of course driven by commercialism. I hope that in a small way my efforts so far have contributed positively to the development of Nordic Walking.

To me it's logical that the way forward for 2006 is for Nordic Walkers everywhere to simply 'ALL PULL TOGETHER'. Like in any sport no one company, organisation or individual can ever be bigger than the sport itself.

This will be my last posting until after the celebrations, so may I take this opportunity of wishing each and every one of you a HAPPY & PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS...

Merry Christmas!

David Downer (Editor)


Google's Map Pedometer - Check Out This Great Free Tool !

My thanks to reader Joe Jung in the USA for alerting me to the Google Map Pedometer, a fantastic FREE Internet tool for finding the 'distance' for a route you have walked or plan to walk in US, Canada, Britain, or Japan.

Within a minute or two I was able to zoom in from the world map (by clicking the directional / enlarge / reduce control buttons) to the very steet I live in (it even gives the street name - Maxwell Road). I was then able to find out the distance of a regular walk I take from my home here on the South Coast of England, simply by clicking my mouse along my route on the map.

From my home I walk to the far end of my road, down a footpath onto the beach. I then walk along the beach to the Haven Hotel which stands at the entrance to Poole Harbour (2nd largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney, Australia). I then turn around and walk home again - A distance I guessed to be about 4 miles, that I now now know to be 4.12 miles.

With this tool you can keep an accurate diary / log not only of the routes you Nordic Walk but also the distance.

I have also just checked out a route I used to run over 20 years ago, when I lived in a town called Ferndown (about 10 miles north of where I now live). At the time I was training to run the London Marathon and the route took me out into the beautiful countyside beyond where I lived.

I always said the run was about 11 miles. So what did Google's Map Pedometer say? - 11.163 miles !

So, if you live in US, Canada, Britain, or Japan go and have a play at:

Have Fun !

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Instructor Has Taste Of His Own Medicine

Fellow UK based INWA instructor Oliver Gynn from Cambridgeshire, is more used to nurturing clients back to health, following neck, back and leg injuries and operations. However, recently he has been using Nordic Walking for his own rehabilitation following a knee operation in October.

Oliver is nearly fully recovered now and his surgeon is extremely pleased with his progress but has warned caution against over-exertion. Oliver himself stresses the importance of “listening to ones' body” and not slavishly following training routines.

Now back training clients again Oliver has recently returned from a reconnaissance trip to Slovenia in connection with his Nordic Walking Holiday business.

For details of Oliver's holidays, with destinations including UK, France, Switzerland and Austria visit:

When making your enquiry please let Oliver know that you heard about his holidays from David at Nordic Walking News.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Reader's Question - Avoiding Pole 'Drag' & Catching the Pole

"I am fine on the whole of the plant and push off and can really feel the extra push from the strap BUT I have great trouble in picking up the grip again to avoid 'dragging' the pole forward again".

Alan Costar
South East London

Great question Alan! Firstly, before I give you an exercise that will help you with this phase of the technique - Check your pole length - If you are using poles that are a little too long for you this may be a contributory factor.

So, to check your pole length - stand with your feet hip width apart and one hand strapped into the pole (photo below). Place the pole tip on the ground just in front of and to the outside of your small toe. The pole should be perpendicular to your body. Tuck your elbow into your side. If the pole is the correct length your elbow will be bent to about a 90 degree angle. If the angle is more acute (eg less than 90 degrees) the pole maybe too long. Check yourself out in a large mirror.

This is only a guide to correct pole length as other factors do come into this: Eg mobility & flexibility in the shoulder, shoulder girdle and hip, stride length, arm length, leg length, fitness level. Experience is a key factor and beginners may find a slightly shorter pole easier to handle. Once you have become more practiced and proficient you may find a slightly longer pole beneficial.

Obviously if you own one piece poles you do not have the luxury of being able to adjust your pole length. So if your pole is the wrong length for you you either have to put up with it or buy another pair of poles. A new personal client of mine turned up for a lesson the other day with 'one piece' poles that were 6 inches too short for her! She ended up buying a second pair of poles (this time adjustables).

The more people I meet and talk to and the more I glean from my own experiences, the more I am coming around to the thinking that adjustable poles may be the better option for newcomers.

Note: I was fitted out by an expert with one piece poles when I first started but I soon found I wanted longer poles (In fairness I was pre-warned that this might be the case when I made my purchase).

Assuming your pole length is right for you, here is a simple exercise to practice the 'strap extension' to 'catch' phase of the technique.

Breaking the technique down - After the 'plant' is the 'push to hip'. Next is the 'push behind hip'. Next is 'elbow extension' (checking for straight elbow). Then comes the 'release' (or 'open hand') and finally (before the arm comes forward again) - 'strap extension' (see 1st photo below)...


1) Stand in the 'strap extension' position [photo]. If your right arm is behind you, your right foot is forward or vice versa. Note: Your hand is 'open' and you are pushing the pole tip into the ground by pressing through the strap with your hand.

2) Using a dynamic movement, swing your right arm forward (pole trailing behind). Now catch the pole handle in front of the body in preparation to plant the pole into the ground at an angle of approximately 45 degrees (don't change the legs over, just move the arm). Note: The tip of the pole is level with or probably just behind the hip as you catch the pole handle.

3) Repeat numerous times. If you are able to watch yourself in a large mirror so much the better. If someone can video you - better still. Make sure you are not 'dragging the pole tip as the arm swings forward. If you are really struggling try shortening your poles a touch.

4) Repeat again but this time as you swing your arm forward, change the legs over by stepping forward onto the other foot.

Note: If despite this exercise you are still struggling (and pole drag is the issue), practice Nordic Walking without releasing the hand grip (just keep hold of the handle throughout the complete action). Focus on lifting the pole tips off the ground as your arm swing forward in preparation for the 'plant'.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Right Brain / Left Brain Effect in Nordic Walking

My thanks to reader Susan Tenney for this interesting letter. Please contribute your thoughts and ideas via the comments button at the end of the article….Editor

"Nordic Walking seems to me to be a really good way to keep the body and mind stimulated in a balanced and co-ordinated manner. It reminds me of watching my son learn to cross crawl by using the opposite leg and hand combination. The child apparently stimulates the brain in such a way that balances the left and right brain and encourages optimal intellectual, creative and emotional development.

Of course our adult brains are not the same as a child’s brain but I cannot help but think that the right brain / left brain effect would be equally beneficial for grown-ups. I recently spoke about this to a chiropractor who is a long term XC skier. He chatted about the difference he sees between the XC skiers who use the old traditional (cross crawl) skiing technique and the XC skiers who uses the newer (skating) style technique.

The old way of doing XC skiing is to use the same basic (cross crawl) co-ordinated moves as Nordic Walking eg opposite leg / arm. The newer and apparently faster ‘skating’ style technique involves none of this ‘opposite pairs’ movement. The skier does a skating movement on the skis and pushes off with both poles at once. The chiropractor says that regardless of fitness level, the bodies of the XC skiers who use the ‘skating’ style technique’ do not have the natural balance and co-ordination of the old style XC skiers who use the cross crawl (as per Nordic Walking)technique".

Susan Tenney
Grass Valley, California, USA and Bern, Switzerland

Friday, December 02, 2005


Welcome Slovak Republic (Slovakia)

We now have subscribers in 36 countries / territories across the world. Welcome the Slovak Republic (Slovakia).

The Slovak Republic was born on January 1st 1993. It is a country located in Central Europe, surrounded by Hungary (679 km), Poland (597.5 km), Czech Republic (265 km), Austria (127.2 km), Ukraine (98 km). It's capital is Bratislava. For more information visit:

Can you find your country listed here ? If not please let me know - email

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, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Wales.

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