Friday, November 21, 2008


A Newbie's Guide to Nordic Walking

New to Nordic walking? Here’s some basic information intended to allow you to lay an informed, balanced base of knowledge on which to build your Nordic walking experience.

“Nordic walking”, or fitness walking with specially designed poles, is becoming one of the fastest growing fitness trends all around the globe. In recent years it has taken much of Europe by storm and is now rapidly gaining legions of enthusiastic participants world-wide. If you are interested in giving this total body exercise version of walking a try there are a few things you need to know to make your entry into the Nordic walking community in an intelligent and informed way.

The History

Nordic skiers may have used their ski poles for off-season training perhaps as far back as the days when Nordic skiers, like hikers, used only a single pole. Ski-bounding or ski-striding with a pair of poles has certainly been an essential part of off-season training for any serious competitive Nordic skier for decades.

Although the European Nordic walking community generally asserts that fitness walking with poles as a unique exercise form began with its introduction in Finland in 1997, others credit an American pole walking innovator and creator of Exerstride Method Nordic walking - ‘Tom Rutlin’, with being the “founding father of Nordic walking”. David Downer, author of Nordic Walking Step By Step - - asserts that...

"As a form of exercise in its own right and completely detached from skiing, hiking and trekking, the activity of fitness walking using specially designed poles was pioneered in the U.S. by cross-country skier and certified ski coach Tom Rutlin in 1985".

The undisputable fact is that this relatively new total body exercise hybrid of walking and cross-country or “Nordic” skiing is deeply rooted in an off-season ski training technique long practiced by Nordic skiers all around the globe.

How it Works (why more and more people are walking with poles)

It's much easier to understand why people so many people are adding poles to their fitness walking when you get a first-hand feel for how it works. It takes just a few seconds if you follow these four simple steps:

1. Sit in a chair facing a table or desk and extend both arms out as if offering them for a friendly handshake. (If you’re reading this while sitting at your computer, raise your hands off of your computer keyboard and mouse reach out on each side of your keyboard)

2. Make two fists and place them on the desk or table top with your thumbs up.

3. Finally, sit upright and alternately press one fist, then the other into the desk repeatedly.

4. Feel how a strong wave of muscle contractions goes through your abdominals as well as muscles in your back, arm, shoulder, chest, and important “core strength” muscles each time you push.

As you Nordic walk you’ll do approximately 2,000 similar contractions per mile of all these muscles against resistance as you apply a force to your poles, rather than a desktop, with each stride. Best of all, with Nordic walking, because the work is shared by so many major muscles, you can actually feel like you're working less while accomplishing much more, and with much less risk of injury. Now you may be beginning to understand why so many walkers are stepping up to Nordic walking!

The Benefits

In the same time you might otherwise just walk -- and with little or no additional perceived effort -- you can simultaneously…

* Strengthen abdominal, back, arm, shoulder, chest, leg and all “core” muscles (without separate weight or resistance training!)

* Burn 20-50% more calories

* Improve cardiovascular fitness

* Increase overall stamina and muscle endurance

* Improve lymph system function and boost your immune system

* Reduce pain and injury-causing stress on hips, knees and feet

* Help maintain overall bone density

* Maintain joint health and range of motion

* Improve both your posture and balance

* Enhance both your energy and mood

* Experience a safe, fun and convenient “good use” total body exercise

...(Hey, what’s not to like?)

The gear

To those new to the activity, Nordic walking poles look like nothing more than rubber tipped ski poles – and basically they’re correct. But in the long run it is important that the poles you use be of quality design, materials and features and of a proper length – 68-70% of your overall height is the recommended length of Nordic walking poles.

As with any sporting activity, there is vigorous debate about what type of pole design and what features are best. There are one-piece non-adjustable poles which come in various lengths and are designed to fit a range of user heights, and there are two-piece adjustable models which can be adjusted more precisely to the users’ heights (three-piece poles are designed for trekking and are not well suited for fitness walking for a number of reasons). The advantage of one-piece poles is that they are simple and have no moving parts. The advantage of quality two-piece telescoping adjustable poles is that they can be easily adjusted more precisely to your height and for varying use conditions, they can also be shared by users of different heights, they can “grow” along with growing users, and they are far more convenient for travel. There are high-quality top rated one and two-piece Nordic walking poles -- as well as poor quality poles of both kinds available in today’s marketplace. For a rare independent rating of top walking pole brands go to .

Nordic walking pole shafts should be lightweight, strong and stiff and be designed to effectively dampen vibration in order to provide quiet operation and prevent vibration-related injuries. Quality poles shafts may be made of aluminum alloys, carbon fiber, or composites of glass and carbon fibers. As with any exercise equipment, to a certain degree you get what you pay for. Beware of brand X, bargain basement or mass merchandiser offered walking poles (generally manufactured in China with very low performance standards) when it comes to quiet operation, vibration dampening, durability, strength, stiffness and overall quality. Buying poor quality poles can end up being very costly in the event of equipment related failure or injury.

Nordic walking poles all now come with rubber tips or “paws” which are designed to provide a soft, cushioned plant of the poles on any firm, stable, natural or urban paved surfaces. The rubber tips can be removed to expose hardened tungsten carbide steel tips which can be used whenever the rubber tips do not provide adequate traction, or anywhere the walking surface in the city or on the surfaces that are unstable or slippery.

European Nordic walking poles are generally manufactured by long established ski pole manufacturers, and thus include either simple ski pole-like straps or more elaborate strapping systems -- a kind of fingerless glove/strap combination, originally designed for Nordic ski poles. There are also Nordic walking poles with specially designed ergonomic strapless grips which were designed to eliminate the need for straps, the discomfort that straps may cause and to lessen the likelihood of an injury in the event of a fall.

There is vigorous debate on all issues of pole design and features, and the good news for the consumer is that numerous quality options offer you numerous quality choices.

The technique(s)

Again, to “newbie’s”, Nordic walking is obviously a pretty straightforward hybrid of fitness walking and cross-country or “Nordic” skiing. No matter how you use poles, people will ask you if you are training for skiing, have “forgotten your skis” or “are expecting snow”. Don’t worry if you know nothing about Nordic skiing, Nordic walking is not actually much more complicated than just walking. When one walks, the right arm naturally swings forward when the left leg steps forward and it’s the same whether you Nordic ski or Nordic walk. So the good news is that although balancing and gliding on two thin skis – Nordic skiing – can take years to master, if you can walk you can generally master at least the basics of Nordic walking in almost no time.

With a Nordic walking pole of the proper length in each hand (this is why poles of a proper length are essential) one simply swings both the arm and the pole-in-hand forward just as one does while walking. The poles in effect become another set of legs so you’ll need a bit of instruction on how to properly plant and use the poles in a manner that maximizes both the safety and the benefits of the activity. For knowledgeable, quality instruction look for a certified Nordic walking instructor in your area, or you can learn with the aid of the Exerstrider 5-star rated instructional DVD -- see:

European and American Nordic walking paradigms European Nordic walkers generally refer to the activity as a sport. This is likely because the European technique was designed to closely mimic Nordic skiing. Pole walking pioneer Marko Kantaneva of Finland, worked with Finnish ski pole manufacturer Exel, to develop their original Nordic Walker® (from which the generic term “Nordic walking” was derived) poles (introduced in 1997), as well as the original European technique and training programs which Exel’s International Nordic Walking Association (INWA) introduced to Finland and later much of Europe.

Marko’s original “Sauvakävely” (Finnish for pole walking) technique, which he developed while studying and working at the Finnish Sports Institute at Vierumaki (1994 –1997), involved planting each pole with the elbow in a right angle position. The elbow joint was then opened as force was applied to the poles and the straightened the arm then passed beyond the torso and the grip of the pole was released just as it would be in Nordic skiing. (It is for this reason that the Europeans assert that straps are an essential feature of Nordic walking poles.) True to its sporting genes, European Nordic walking promotes the notion of increasing tempo and stride length as a central means of increasing its exercise effects.

Over the years since the introduction of Marko Kantaneva’s original “Sauvakävely” method of Nordic walking, something of a hybrid European technique which features an extended arm pole plant (likely influenced by Tom Rutlin’s extended “handshake” pole plant) has gained wide favor as many Nordic walkers have discovered that an extended arm pole plant more efficiently activates the core and other large upper body muscle than does the right angle pole plant. This hybridized European technique involves a resulting very long range of motion of the arms, as the arm is both extended in front of the body and still moves behind the torso as the grip of the pole is released at the end of the swing. This very long range of motion of the arms requires the correspondingly long stride that characterizes the Euro-hybrid version of Nordic walking. Because the biomechanics of both European methods of Nordic walking have more in common with Nordic skiing than they do with ordinary fitness walking it can, for many people, require an extended learning curve and instruction is generally offered in numerous sessions.

Tom Rutlin, developed his original “Exerstride Method” Nordic walking technique beginning in 1985, and he introduced the first specially designed poles with rubber tips for fitness walking in 1988 (before the term Nordic walking was coined to describe fitness walking with specially designed poles). His goal was to make fitness walking with poles as safe, simple and natural as walking while at the same time maximizing the health and fitness benefits of the upper body involvement through the poles. Rutlin does not refer to his version of Nordic walking as a “sport”, but rather as a “functional fitness-building activity”. His version emphasizes a comfortable, natural walking tempo and stride length aimed at preserving the natural and extremely safe nature of walking. Instead of increasing walking tempo and stride length in order to increase the exercise effects of his method of Nordic walking, his extended “handshake” pole plant was designed to bring about the involvement of the maximum amount of muscle mass, and the emphasis is on increasing the amount of force applied to the poles rather than the speed of walking in order to maximize the overall benefits. The shorter, more natural stride length accompanies a shorter range of motion of the arms, which do not pass behind the torso. Because the poles do not pass beyond the torso and the grips are not released, Rutlin’s poles feature an ergonomic strapless grip which is at this point unique to his Nordic walking poles.

The European method might be characterized as Nordic skiing minus skis, while Rutlin’s “Exerstride Method” Nordic walking version might be accurately characterized as fitness walking with the addition of poles designed especially for this new activity.

Which equipment design and technique is best?

There is no such thing as “best” in choosing techniques or equipment design for Nordic walking. Since Nordic walkers come in all ages, abilities and health and fitness goals, what is best for each given their ability, goals, attitude and approach to exercise is a matter that should be subject to individual choice. Now that you are armed with some knowledge about the options available to Nordic walkers it will be up to you to decide which of the available equipment and technique options will be best for you in achieving your health and fitness goals.

Any pair of quality Nordic walking poles can be used for any of the dominant Nordic walking techniques/paradigms, and any way you use poles after receiving instruction from a person qualified in either of the European or Exerstride method of Nordic walking, you’ll find walking will be a far more fun, interesting, motivating and health and fitness results-producing.

As a general rule, if you like to see yourself as an athlete in training, you might be more drawn to one of the European version of Nordic walking. If you’re simply more interested in improving your functional fitness and turning your walking workouts into a more motivating, effective and time-efficient total body exercise you may find Rutlin’s Exerstride method of Nordic walking more suited to you. A growing number of open minded members of the global Nordic walking community regularly draw from all versions of Nordic walking in order to both make their Nordic walking more interesting and to enjoy a full spectrum of benefits that may only be realized when one uses different methods to, in effect, “cross-train”.

Ask people all around the globe who are already Nordic walking and they will very likely agree on at least one thing for certain…If you haven’t tried Nordic walking yet you should give this new total body version of walking a try very soon!

Disclosure: This article is reproduced with the permission of

Exerstrider wishes to be the first to fully acknowledge that despite their best attempt to be as fact-based and objective as possible in writing the piece -- it reflects both facts and what others will see as opinions offered through their own lens.

To this point there has been very little written aimed at providing this kind of comprehensive, useful introductory information on Nordic walking, intended to aid “newbie’s” and the curious in making their entrance into the community of Nordic walkers, in a way that even attempts to be objective.

If you feel that this piece does not serve potential newcomers to Nordic walking in a manner that is both informative and objective enough to suit you – We would welcome it if you were to offer up your own piece in the same spirit of being both informative and as objective as possible in service to others.


Friday, November 14, 2008



The following guidance on load bearing activity was compiled by a colleague and friend, Tony Pattison, who is a Nordic Walking instructor here in the north of the UK. Tony prefers to teach Nordic Walking to clients over the age of 50 (being just a ‘little’ over that age himself means that he can empathise with those of us with the occasional creak and groan). Tony, who is an INWA qualified instructor, can be reached on:

First published locally here in Leeds, UK, here is Tony’s article:


There was a popular trick at primary school whereby we would press the ends of straws. If you got the pressure just right the straw didn’t bend or crumple but became stronger.

Bones are like that. The idea of exercising a bone may seem strange, but they are not the solid material that many people believe but are in fact being broken down and replaced constantly. This process is in balance as we mature but then the breaking down starts to dominate. It can affect any area but is usually where there are large areas of trabecular (spongy) bone, ie. hips, wrists and upper spine, between the shoulder blades. If you think that this sounds like Osteoporosis you are correct. Women past the menopause are particularly susceptible. Within 10 years approximately 50% will suffer from this brittle bone disease. (Anorexics and young models trying to become a size zero through inadequate nutrition are inviting the early onset of this process and building up developing problems for the future).

So, what to do? Increasing calcium intake has proved to be of great help, but dairy foods are the most common source and they tend to contain a lot of fat plus a lot of calories and some people are worried about gaining weight. So what of physical activity? How do you exercise a bone?

The official recommendation is for Plyometrics. That’s running, skipping and jumping: rebound movements. Some people do run well into advanced age although it is often those who start later in life who keep going the longest. For someone who has run over a number of years the official recommendation is to ease off after reaching age 50, before knee problems develop. Also, as our various body systems interrelate so do the results of their integral wear and tear, and if you suffer with osteo-arthritis in your knees the very thought of leaping and bouncing can make your eyes water! Osteo-arthritis is erosion of cartilage, a joint problem, and if you do suffer chances are that you will know about it! Osteoporosis, however, usually becomes apparent only if you suffer a fracture when this becomes, in reality, a ‘splinter’. It is often known as’ the silent killer’.

So the question remains, what type of activity?

Swimming is very popular amongst seniors. It is terrific for muscles, lungs, heart and mobility - as is cycling. Getting your weight off your feet can feel wonderful; but neither swimming nor cycling will do anything for your bones. In both cases you’re being supported, either by water or a bike. This is why people who are obese can still swim. Bones need to be load bearing and to receive an impact. The only impact that you are likely to gain on a bike is going over bumps or if you fall off! Your weight needs to be on your feet. If you do cycle how do your legs feel when you get off? Can you run? You would not use different muscles, as some profess, leg muscles are leg muscles. You would use your hips more and your lower back for support and probably pump your arms instead of using them for balance and stability, but the main difference that you feel is the sudden impact on your bones. This is even more apparent after swimming.

All this is not prejudice. I swim regularly and cycle everywhere, but bones need something else as well.

The social aspect of any activity is an essential requirement for many seniors. Walking, dancing and bowling are the official recommendation. They all are good for your bones. They also complement swimming and cycling.

Walking is ideal, especially uphill, but not with your chin on your chest or staring at your feet and with arms at your sides and hardly moving. The effect of load bearing is localised, specific to the part that is working. What of that vital area between your shoulder blades? The distance between them is a sign of ageing. ‘Dowager’s Hump’ is the extreme condition. It can alter your whole centre of balance (and cause osteo-arthritis in your knees).

Here I must admit a prejudice. In November last year I first experienced Nordic Walking and was an instant convert. It immediately relieved my knee problems (osteo-arthritis) and since adding it to my other fitness instruction it seems to be taking over. For present purposes it solves most of the problems being discussed. If you can walk you can Nordic Walk and, once you have learned the technique, it works the whole body. No more problems with posture.

The object of functional exercise is to develop and/or retain the ability to perform everyday tasks such as housework, gardening, decorating etc. This becomes increasingly important as we ‘mature’. So, without spending any extra time you can guard against brittle bones, just learn to Nordic Walk using your whole body. Many of my clients have developed the confidence and ability to try something new or take up long cherished interests, to date: Archery; Dry-stone walling; Salsa dancing; Falconry and Go-karting. Makes you think!
Author: Tony Pattison, Nordic Walking Instructor, Leeds UK
Posted by: Malcolm Jarvis, Nordic Walker Leeds UK

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Tom Rutlin's 'ORIGINAL' 1992 Exerstrider (Nordic Walking) Video on YouTube

Back in 1985 an American from Wisconsin, Tom Rutlin, began pioneering a concept that would eventually evolve into the physical activity that we know today as Nordic Walking (definition: Fitness walking with two specially designed poles'). In 1988 Tom launched the world's first fitness walking poles under the brand name 'Exerstrider'. In 1992 Tom released a training video demonstrating his Exerstride (Nordic Walking) technique. Today, 16 years on, Tom has just re-released that original (1992) training video on the popular internet video website - YouTube.

Tom hopes that his video will serve Nordic walkers around the globe as an introduction to his 'Exerstride' Nordic Walking technique.

Tom says...

"In 1992 I made my first instructional video to distribute along with each pair of poles I sold. From 1988 until that time, those new to Exerstriding had only my early printed instruction manual to use as a learning tool. Having struggled a great deal attempting to learn to Nordic ski with only the aid of a few illustrated books on the subject back in the 70s, as soon as I could afford to buy what was at the time a "high tech" video recorder, I enlisted the help of my brother-in-law (a photographer) and we put together this rather crudely produced video."

Tom goes on to say: "I think it holds up quite well for a 16 year old video. As you will see (if you are already familiar with Tom's method), very little has changed in terms of the technique I have advocated since 1988."

These are great videos both for their instructional and historical value. Tom has put the video up in two parts (because You Tube has a 10 minute limit).

Here are the all important links:

Part 1 can be seen at:

Part 2 at:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


ANWA's - Highlight of the 2008 Nordic Walking Season!

Would you like to train as a Nordic Walking instructor or Nordic Walking Guide? Do you live in North America or are you prepared to travel there? Would you like to take in some wonderful California sunshine during the run up to Christmas? If your answers are yes to these questions then the following information may be of interest to you!

From Friday 5th - Sunday 7th December, in Los Angeles, California; ANWA (American Nordic Walking Association) are running what they are promoting as “the highlight of the 2008 Nordic Walking season” - A weekend that brings together, for the first time at one event, two ANWA Master Coaches - Gottfried Kürmer (flying from Austria exclusively for this event!) and ANWA Founder and Master Coach Bernd Zimmermann, in addition to a variety of specialized trainers.

The training opportunities on this weekend include:

ANWA "Get Started - Guide" Workshop Saturday, Dec. 6th from 9AM - 1PM.

ANWA Basic Instructor Certification Seminar Saturday, Dec. 6th from 9AM - 6PM.

ANWA Advanced Instructor Certification Seminar Saturday Dec. 6th from 2PM - 6PM + Sunday Dec. 7th from 9AM - 1PM.

ANWA Professional Instructor Certification Seminar Friday Dec. 5th from 2PM - 6PM + Saturday Dec. 6th from 9AM - 6PM + Sunday Dec. 7th from 9AM - 1PM.

To learn more about ANWA visit: . To learn more about ANWA’s instructor training opportunities visit the ‘Become an Instructor’ page.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


The Holy Grail

Some Nordic Walkers seem keen on having equipment which can be used in all circumstances and conditions with equal and total efficiency (I include myself!). Perhaps it might be simply the trait of “perfectionism” or “unreasonable expectation” manifesting itself, but it strikes me that in reality, no equipment could ever fulfil such wants. The asphalt “paw” fitted for hard surface walking seems to fit this category well.

When I heard of the Leki “Silent Spike Tip” (photo left) I rushed to their website and bought a pair, in the hope, that at last, all my grip/noise/wear problems were over. I was encouraged by a few brief reviews which had appeared over on the Nordic Walking eCommunity forum (this can be found at so I thought it opportune to do a number of test outings myself and compile a report. In addition I thought it helpful to bring together some of the material I could find on the forum, in particular the report posted by one of my fellow moderators, Iain Leiper (Iain has agreed to me reprinting his review).


Early in 2007, the pole manufacturer Leki introduced their “Silent Spike Tip” which essentially is a rubber “asphalt paw” having six small protruding tungsten carbide studs designed to aid traction (see photo). Leki intend that they would be appropriate in any circumstance where a rubber paw would normally be used, ie. asphalt (tarmac), concrete or hard packed trails. Furthermore, the manufacturer claims that the useful life of these new pads is four times greater than the conventional none-studded article.

Being a direct replacement for the standard part, these tips will fit any current Leki Nordic Walking pole (quite possibly trekking poles as well) and retail at around 15GBP (about 23.5 US Dollars, 34.8 Aus Dollars or 18.5 Euros, although local costs will apply) plus of course, shipping costs. Leki advise me that they will not be suitable for a couple of “top models” due to go on sale in the spring of 2009.


Whilst the Leki supplier here in the UK has advised me that the new paws are intended for the same application as the standard item I have used the studded paws on a number of other surfaces, which may well exceed the design use. However, I obtained some interesting results.

I have had several outings in my local park (the second largest in Europe) which affords a considerable variety of surface – grass, asphalt (coarse and smooth) compacted stone, compacted earth (plus rutted and muddy sections).

Interestingly, I found the best effect was had on grassed areas, whether wet or dry, provided the grass was fairly short. I used this 100% effectiveness as my yardstick for all other surfaces – which was perhaps a little demanding.

Next came a conventional asphalt highway with a coarse surface. Here the paws were just as good as the grassed area – 100%. Where I found very fine, smooth asphalt the effect was not quite as good, say 80%. I have to say, however, that they were not “silent” as the name implies, indeed how could they be on any hard surface? Nonetheless, the noise produced was considerably less than that produced by a conventional open carbide tip. The annoying “tac tac” is replaced by a more muted “scratch” and I find this much more acceptable.

One of our forum correspondents (Richard Roseweir) has informed me that in the US and Canada these paws are called “Rubber Fitness Studded Traction Tips”, there being no mention of “silent”. Richard has also tested the spike tips and informs me: “Although my intent was to use these studded tips on compacted gravel pathways, I first tested them on dry and wet asphalt (tarmac) and concrete surfaces. True to their manufacturer’s claims, they performed quite admirably in both dry and wet conditions. In fact I had a whole lot of fun trying to get them to slip on wet asphalt. They did not disappoint.”

I also encounter paths made of compacted stone with a hard, smooth surface and these paths are almost as unforgiving as asphalt and there is just as much noise generated when using open carbide spikes. Generally, the spike tips provided the same excellent traction as elsewhere, even when walking through puddles and I would rate them as 100%. However, they did become unstuck where the path had a surface dressing of loose fine particles. Here, some slipping was encountered but was largely overcome by going into Exerstrider™ mode. This has been borne out by other users who have reported their experiences on the forum. In November 2007 Doug Baguley wrote: “They don’t work very well on fine, loose, gravelly material, but neither do ordinary rubber feet, in my experience”. Also, Richard Roseweir bought his initially to be able to walk on stone paths in his local park only to be disappointed at their performance where the surface was friable.

Other surfaces on my usual journeys involve paths of compacted earth where here too the traction was very good with perhaps only an occasional slip where the surface was “disturbed”. I gave a rating of 90% here. Muddy sections were readily overcome by using a less angled pole plant and a reduced push.

On balance I have found the spike tips a very good investment and they allow me to complete my whole outing without having to mess about taking off/putting on asphalt paws with all the attendant problems. Giving excellent traction on many surface types they give sufficient confidence to really give a firm “push off”. Whilst these items may not be the “Holy Grail”, they come very close. Only time will tell if they outlast conventional units, as the prospect of having to part with 15 GBP on a regular basis is not good. Perhaps another posting is required if and when they eventually wear out or fall apart!
posted by Malcolm Jarvis, Nordic Walker Leeds UK

I am pleased to be able to reprint Iain Leiper’s review here. As you will see, Iain’s conclusions are favourable although he is not able to comment on noise levels owing to the strains of rock music in his ears!

Iain’s "spike tip" review

“Perhaps it seems strange an off road walker trying out the Leki Silent Spike Pad. However, I was keen to try out something which had intrigued me since being gifted a pair and that was whether the Silent Spike Pad could enhance the purchase I could get during elbow extension whilst road walking.

One of my reasons for being an off road walker you see is that I feel road walking does not allow for a full elbow extension and push off – the asphalt pad tending to slip when pressure is applied, especially on wet or slippery surfaces.

For those who are unfamiliar with this type of pad it is basically an asphalt rubber pad with 6 tiny spikes therein.

On a damp Saturday afternoon I set off to a favourite glen and a very quiet road with mountains, heather and wildlife providing landscape postcard scenery to my left and right. The pads slipped easily onto my Leki Varios and provided a sturdy and secure fit. And off I went.

Immediately I could feel the difference. As I drove my elbow extension backwards, instead of the characteristic slip of the asphalt pad suddenly the pole was rooted and planted rock solid enabling me to get the necessary purchase and anchor for a strong push off. For the rest of the afternoon’s walking the pad never once failed to bite and provide purchase.

It’s perhaps interesting that this product has been marketed to reduce the noise or tap of poles in the ground. One website markets this product as follows: “At last – the annoying tic tac sound ringing in your ears when Nordic Walking is about to end! When you use the new ‘Silent Spike Pad’ you can get back to enjoying the sounds around you whether that’s the local wildlife or rush hour traffic.”

I would suggest after my experience that this product’s true value lies in providing secure purchase during elbow extension thus enabling better technique on roads. It was so successful that I am now contemplating undertaking more road walking – especially during wet periods.

For those who are wondering whether it lived up to its true name of being “silent”……I’m afraid I can’t answer that one. With Meatloaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell” blaring in my ears the test as to whether it is a silent spike pad will have to wait for another day”.

Iain is both a moderator of the Nordic Walking eCommunity and a Nordic Walking instructor in the Tayside region of Scotland. Iain’s details can be found on his website at:

posted by Malcolm Jarvis, Nordic Walker Leeds UK

Friday, November 07, 2008


Testimonial - 14 Pound Weight Loss in 5 Weeks!

“ I started Nordic Walking for an hour session on and along the beach twice a week with my instructor David Downer and a group of friends as more of a social activity than an exercise class. However I have only been doing the Nordic Walking sessions for 5 weeks and I have already lost a stone in weight and I have not changed my eating habits at all!

Having suffered Heart Surgery and a damaged neck and shoulder from a very young age, I have always been limited in the activities that I am able to do and have struggled with any form of cardio exercise. However I have found Nordic Walking both fun and easy to manage and am beginning to see the benefits.

I have even been out and bought my own set of poles! I would recommend Nordic Walking to anyone and everyone looking for a form of exercise that not only burns calories and tones your body but also get you outside in the fresh air and leaves you feeling invigorated at the end of the session.

David is a fantastic teacher who explains the techniques in a simple and user friendly way and also offer encouragement and support every step of the way. I intend to keep Nordic Walking – I hope you do too.”

Nicola Foote

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