Thursday, April 27, 2006


The Poll of Poles

Over at Nordic Walking eCommunity I have been running a members poll since January. The question I have asked is "What type of poles do you use"? Once upon a time I would have expected one-piece poles to dominate but they don't. Infact the majority (62%) of people who have voted state that they use adjustable poles.

Interestingly I was talking to a pole retailer in the USA recently who sells both one piece and adjustble poles and they said that they sell more adjustable poles than one piece poles.

All very interesting...


Thursday, April 20, 2006


Update - New Zealand Team Complete 100K Nordic Walk for Oxfam

Nordic Walking News subscribers Peter & Steffi Mueller, Wendy Bowling and Colin Merrick from Tauranga, New Zealand have successfully completed the inaugral Oxfam Trailwalker New Zealand Event (original posting March 22nd). The team finished 33rd out of 200 teams. They Nordic Walked 100km in 21hrs and 24 mins in the event which took place north of Lake Taupo.

Steffi said... "We started walking at 7am on the Saturday and finished on the Sunday at 4.24am. Walking at night time in the dark, rain and over unknown farm land, up and downhill was the hardest part. On Sunday afternoon, we all had problems because of blisters . We had an awesome time, it was a great experience."

Peter, Wendy, Steffi & Colin praise the efforts of their support team and thank Leki who supplied their poles.

If you are interested in taking up Nordic Walking and you live within the Tauranga area of New Zealand why not check out Steffi's website:

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Nordic Snowshoeing - Introduction #1

With thanks to Heathley Clarke of for producing this article.

This article introduces Nordic Snowshoeing, as part of the Nordic Fitness family of exercises, and as a natural extension to Winter Nordic Walking.

Winter Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking is not simply a Summer or warm weather exercise; it’s a year-round way of maintaining a health and fitness lifestyle – and that includes making best use of the nice white stuff: Snow!

Your Nordic Walking technique works perfectly well in the Winter as well as at all other times of the year. In particular, when there is snow on the ground, effective use of the spike or tip on your Nordic Walking poles maintains good rhythm and cadence, and aids balance and posture, especially if the surface under foot is a little slippery.

I would recommend the use of some trainers or water-resistant running shoes that have good jagged teeth, or, preferably with tiny spikes that grip the snow/ice perfectly; ‘Icebugs’ are a popular choice of trainers for Winter Nordic Walking enthusiasts.

Nordic Snowshoeing

An extension to Nordic Winter Walking is Nordic Snowshoeing – an exciting and tremendously energetic way of experiencing crystal clean snowfields or your favourite tracks. Using your Nordic Walking poles – replacing the existing spike/tip with special Snowshoe Baskets – you can still exercise your walking technique whilst exaggerating lower-body workouts, as well as upper-body.

Nordic Snowshoeing is currently experiencing a boom in popularity, especially in Europe, and uses many different types of Snowshoes, depending on whether you are a beginner, or adventure athlete seeking demanding and challenging terrain!

Using water-resistant trainers or hiking boots (plus gaiters, if preferred), you strap yourself into the comfortable bindings, attached in the toe, mid-foot and heal areas, and off you go. The Snowshoes angle at the toe to allow natural foot rolling movements, with powerful and sharp metal claws underneath to grip ice and maintain a firm stance in the snow.

Choosing Snowshoes

There are various sizes and types of Snowshoe, depending on the type of terrain you wish to walk in; the type of snow – whether hard-packed crud, or fresh powder; and, most importantly, your weight.

The size of the Snowshoe is dependent upon your weight, and most manufacturers, or your local hire store, will advise on the most suitable size, but the general principles are:
The larger the surface area of the Snowshoe, the greater the flotation in the snow;
The smaller the surface area of the Snowshoe, the greater the manoeuvrability in the snow.
Your Workout – deep snow style!

The depth, texture and gradient of terrain will determine the challenges you will face in your Nordic Snowshoe workout, however, as with Nordic Walking, you determine the amount of effort you wish to put in. In deep snow the effort levels to maintain momentum become higher, hence the exaggerated lower-body workouts with Nordic Snowshoeing.

The technique for Nordic Snowshoeing is to maintain a slightly wider stance when walking, as the Snowshoes can be quite wide. Then, imagine walking up 2 or 3 steps on a staircase, instead of 1, each stride, for 1-2 hours. That’s the type of effort required, as the feet (and, therefore, the Snowshoes) need to clear the snow level for each stride.

This increases if you start to run, or the gradient steepens. Your arm movements still need to push into the Nordic Walking poles, and you’ll find that they significantly aid forward momentum, as it’s quite easy to become entrenched within deep snow if this is not maintained.

Heart rates for Nordic Snowshoeing can increase significantly over and above those for normal or Winter Nordic Walking: recent estimates based on personal workouts averaged upto 25% higher, simply due to the increased work required in clearing my feet from the deep snow. This increased when running on flat terrain, and down steep inclines.

Of course, if deep snow is not your style, or if your prefer a more relaxed Nordic Snowshoe workout, walking in prepared and cleared tracks is easily achieved.

Snowshoeing versus Nordic Walking?

They’re both equally attractive to the Nordic junkie! With Nordic Snowshoeing the major emphasis is on fun in deep snow, where the main characteristics of Nordic Walking may not seem as practical. However, you’re using the same Nordic Walking poles, even the same footwear, so why try it the next time you have snow in your back yard!

The next article of Nordic Snowshoeing will focus on advanced walking techniques and variations, more advice on choice of Snowshoes and fitting, and walking in different types of snow.


Heathley Clarke specialises in Nordic Fitness sports instruction: Nordic Walking, Nordic Blading, Nordic Skiing. Contact him at


Monday, April 10, 2006


“IT’S A WORLD ENDURANCE RECORD” + more than A$15000.00 raised for charity !

Congratulations to father and son team Mike & Jay Gates of PoleAbout Australia - who recently completed an epic non-stop 160km Nordic (Pole) Walking marathon in an amazing 36hrs. In the process they raised in excess of A$15000.00 in aid of the little known group called PIPA (Pre-term Infants Parents Association)

The pair smashed the World Nordic (Pole) Walking Endurance mark of 138.336 Kms in 24 hours previously established by Mike at the same time last year. The walk became a story of growing desperate exhaustion with noon temperatures on the road on both days reaching over 40 + Degrees Celsius.

For the first 12 hours they averaged 5.9kph. And then at times in the last 12 hour section a desperate struggle at sometimes 2.4kph. The last 12 hours were done on pure heart and determination.

A weary and sunburnt Jay Gates said... "I often experienced hallucinations throughout the last 12 hours."

Support team member Kay Ball said... "We seriously suggested they give it up, but they dug in and did it on true mind power"

Along the way support crews provided food and hydration fluid as well as quick wipe downs with block ice to keep their body muscle temperatures down to combat the unusual hot early autumn temperatures.

Yesterday’s endurance record brings the total of Michael’s fundraising to in excess of A$40,000.00 for local unknown children’s charities.

Photo = Mike during last year's 24 hour endurance event - To read more on last years event and check out some great photos visit:

Monday, April 03, 2006


Help Wanted - Contributors / Writers Wanted for Nordic Walking News & Associated Publications !

Would you like to write for Nordic Walking News?

If so, over the coming months I am looking to build a team of writers who would like to contribute Nordic Walking related articles either on an occasional or regular basis.

You may have seen articles recently contributed eg by Stuart Montgomery (Nordic Walking & Cross-Country Skiing / Heathley Clarke (Nordic Inline Skating / Nordic Blading) / Jeanne Goldberg & Tom Rutlin (Nordic Walking with our Canine Friends / Fran Loots (Nordic Walking & Goal Setting)

Maybe you are a Nordic Walking enthusiast who enjoys researching and / or has a flair for writing and you would like to play a part in the next phase of development of Nordic Walking News?

Perhaps you are an industry professional who would like to raise your own profile and that of your company / website and become recognised on the international stage as an Nordic Walking expert (NW News has subscribers in around 40 countries / territories across the world). If you already have that recognition perhaps we can work together to further raise your profile and spread your message even further.

Maybe you would like to have your own regular column? Or, perhaps you would like to be a NW News 'Field Reporter', reporting on Nordic Walking news in your state, county, city or town? I am open to all offers and suggestions..

Simply, if you would like to use Nordic Walking News to put your message out there to Nordic Walkers across the world I am interested in giving you that opportunity.

I am able to offer reciprical benefits to all writers eg I will promote you, your business and your website via Nordic Walking News, NW e-Community and a 'new' Nordic Walking publication soon to be announced, in return for your articles.

Note: This form of reciprical arrangement is standard internet policy. It offers contributors the opportunity to promote their business for free, whilst the publication owner receives useable content in return.

Interested? In the first instance please email

Note: Even if you do not consider yourself to be a Nordic Walking expert that's not a problem! If you have expertise / knowledge in associated areas that would be of interest to Nordic Walkers, that knowledge / information can be adapted to a Nordic Walking theme...

Eg: You may be an expert in 'footwear', in which case you might write an article "The top 10 shoe buying tips for Nordic Walkers". An expert in Nutrition might write an article "Essential Nutrition tips for Nordic Walkers". An athletic coach might write an article - "Step by step 12 week training program to Nordic Walk your first half marathon". I'm sure you get the idea....

Of course many writers do not have any specialist knowledge in the particular field they write for! Instead their skill is researching a subject and then writing creatively based on their research.

Whatever you have knowledge or expertise in, if you would like to write for Nordic Walking News I would be very pleased to hear from you.

David Downer
Editor / Owner


Getting on Track - Nordic Walking & Goal Setting

I would like to thank fellow INWA Nordic Walking instructor Fran Loots of: for contributing the following article. Fran's company 'Breathing Space' offer a range of outdoor activities including Nordic Walking & Nordic Walking holidays in Highland Perthshire and Comrie, Scotland.

Many people take up Nordic walking because they want to get fitter and/ or lose weight. Like most activities it is easy to quickly let this become another pastime where equipment gathers dust after the initial enthusiasm wanes. There are several ways to avoid this.

Research shows that people are more likely to continue doing something if 3 things are in place:

Simple steps that make a difference...

Share your intentions – be specific

So if you want to make Nordic walking a regular part of your life. talk through what it is that you want to achieve. Talk it over with a variety of people until it is very clear in your own head what you want to do. If you have a clear picture in your head of what you seek to achieve it is easier to make it happen – so make this as specific as possible. For instance: I want to be fit enough to walk for an hour without being out of breath or I want to walk 4 miles in one hour. Create a visual picture of what this looks like – see yourself striding out comfortably in whatever surroundings suit you best.

Find someone

Sometimes people struggle to find someone to take up a new activity with them and that stops them from taking it further so if that is the case for you or someone you know – the next best thing is to find someone who will either agree to meet you at the start of an activity even if they don’t join in or who will phone, text, email or in some way contact you when you are due to set off to check you are doing what you have agreed to do. It is harder to back out of something when you have shared what you plan to do and someone is monitoring you!

Write it down

Make this fun – get a few pictures of what you are aspiring to be and use present tense words about what you are going to do.

"I am fit and do Nordic walking 3 times a week for 30 minutes"

Develop the picture in your head that you have shared with others. Place the pictures/words that you have created somewhere you can see them regularly to remind yourself. Behind a wardrobe door if you are shy or in an obvious place for all to see if you are not. See yourself doing what you want to be is a big step towards it becoming a reality. Using the present tense encourages your mind to see this as a reality – using the future tense postpones the action. Good luck.

Fran Loots

Saturday, April 01, 2006


How We Roll: Nordic Walking in Tampa, Florida - Video

Nordic Walking News subscriber Tapp Rhine alerted me to this TV News video featuring members of his Nordic Walking group in Tampa, Florida. Go to Tapp's website: and towards the bottom you will see the Nordic Walking NEWS Video link.

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