It always seemed as though I’d have to walk for far longer than I cared to exercise in order to reap any benefits.
Sure, intellectually I knew otherwise, but I never claimed to be an intellectual-exerciser.
And don’t get me started on the boredom.
Somewhere along the proverbial way I’d decided that walking as workout would be stick ( oooh foreshadowing )-in-the-eye dull.
As a result, I was curious when a neighbor suddenly started hauling a pair of poles on her daily walks.
I’d been a fitness fanatic long enough to know they were Nordic walking poles– yet that was pretty much where my knowledge ended.
And, yeah, where my curiosity continued.
It turns out walking poles are far more popular in Europe and only beginning to make their way to the USA and Canada.
The poles allow you to work your upper body while walking & this addition of the torso muscles lets one walk at a slower pace BUT receive a more challenging overall workout.
You can, in fact, burn anywhere from an additional 20 to 40% more calories per session.
20-40% increase? There’s that bang-for-the-exercise-buck I’d been searching for.
We all know I lament my need to shake up my workouts ( please to see my ass & cross-reference under on stationary bike for going on eight years ) but I was still pretty damn skeptical the addition of sticks could *really* spark excitement about walking sans destination.
( seriously, am I alone in this thinking, People? *please* to hit me up in the comments.)
I immediately begged to review a set of was fortunate enough to be able to check out the Gaiam’s walking poles kit and will concede to being surprised by what I found.
I watched the accompanying DVD a few times prior to picking up a pole and it was fanFRIGGINtastic.
( feel free to giggle. Ren Man cracked the hell up at how excited I became about the clear & concise nature of the DVD. Welcome to LOSERVILLE. Population? MizFit. )
The DVD explained precisely how to use/assemble the poles in a fashion I could understand (which is a huge feat given my mechanical inclination):
(initial brow furrow…)
And provided sample workouts for after I mastered the basics.
My first pole-excursion felt awkward and silly. I couldn’t shake the feeling I belonged more on the Alps than in my neighborhood.
Then I hit my stride.
It took me about ten minutes, but I finally found my groove and it clicked how I could utilize the sticks to exercise my upper body and take some of the ‘work’ away from my legs.
And, once I mastered the pole movement, I found the poles caused me to walk more erect/with my shoulders relaxed something I need to focus upon given all my time in front of the computer.
I was pole-swinging, my upper body muscles were working and I was happily walking without a destination.
My walk felt more challenging heart-rate wise, more interesting given the need to focus on the pole-swingage, and practically meditative once I discovered my rhythm.
I was smitten.
Whom would I recommend join me in my new walking pole adventure?Everyone.
The great thing about the walking sticks is you canadjust them to your needs, they allow walkers of different paces to exercise together, and they are perfect for travel workouts.
Sure they take a few tries to get used to, but once you do you’ll be glad you made the effort. Im MizFit enough to admit I entirely am.
Oh and you can do this (which the DVD entirely failed to even mention):
They’re perfect for interpretive Tornado dance movements as well.
There you have it, Oh Bumbling Band.
My walking pole experience and a shot at having your own as well.