It happens every time I walk the paved paths just a few steps from where I live in Indiana to cover a few miles. Someone is inevitably shouting out of his car as they drive by. I have everything from "Where is the snow?" Until "Are You Asphalt Skiing ?"
belongs. These comments that frightened me earlier make me laugh now. I totally understand it. I'm a bit of a mystery, because I only go with a pair of ski poles. I've earned the reputation of being the "girl with sticks", something I always hear when I meet people for the first time and recognize where they've seen me.
Walking with sticks may sound strange, but in reality it's a bit of sport called Nordic Walking, which is popular in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe. When I was introduced to the sport over a decade ago, I fell so much into this sport that I started attending it and eventually set six world records. Although there are only two left (one in marathon distance and one for 20 miles), Nordic Walking is as passionate as ever. Here is the reason.
Nordic Walking was originally trained for cross-country skiers as an alternative to dry / warm weather.
If there was a sport I like as much as Nordic walking, then it's cross-country skiing ( classic style ). It's one of the most aerobic sports you can do, and I love that it not only affects my whole body, it also lulls me into a rhythm. As I cut through the snow, I hear the soft purr of my skis, watch my ski tips move as if they were two boats in an Olympic rowing competition, and I feel the steady heartbeat. I am also in nature normally in a forest area, and there is nothing more peaceful than having trees as exercise mates.
So it makes a lot of sense that I fell in love with the sport's snow-free version of the sport. Also the Finnish technically invented Nordic Walking fits, because I'm 51 percent Finn.
Nordic Walking is no different from regular running – you just add ski poles to your hands.
As a leading ski pole maker, who also manufactures Nordic walking sticks, and invited some years ago, and some other journalists, to learn the sport during a weekend trip to Vermont, you even train with a few members of the Canadian citizen. Cross Country Team, I took the chance.
For three days I learned the basic Nordic walking technique, which is not different from walking, except that you have sticks in your hand. Opposite arm moves with the opposite leg. For many people, hand-punching suddenly makes a move that they have been making since their ninth month. If you are not an avid skier, you are not used to walking with sticks, so there is a learning curve for the sport.
Therefore, pull the sticks behind you (you have straps to hold your skis attached hands). Once you understand this, start planting the poles so that you "prick" the pole somewhere between the hind foot and forefoot. The last step is the pushing back of the rods (hello triceps !), When your hips reach your arms.
Once you get the hang of it, you can cruise or even achieve similar intensity to running, but with less effort.
In other words, although a heart rate monitor will tell you that you are working hard, it does not always feel like . The reason? Instead of using only two limbs, you spread the workload over four limbs. This explains why we Nordic Walker after an intense training or a half or full marathon not beaten as if we were running.
As you use more muscles at the same time as normal running during Nordic Walking, you naturally also become more intense. Drive as slowly or as fast as you like, but regardless of the speed you choose, you will always work at a higher intensity than without a pole. According to the American Nordic Walking Association you use about 90 percent of the muscles of your body during Nordic Walking. While you use your core both while walking and walking, Nordic Walking challenges my upper body in a way that was never when walking. To be honest, I have never felt so strong in Nordic walking, not only in my legs, but also in my body and in the upper body.
In addition, Nordic Walking is by nature a low-impact sport, which makes it an ideal cross-training option for runners .
I do not just go with sticks. I also do interval training, accelerate the work and traverse different terrain.
On days when I do interval training I can jump, jump or jump. I may even be traveling with sticks in Fartlek style training, a kind of unstructured speed game where I switch between moderately intense running and more vigorous running. And I do not have to be alone on road surfaces, even though I've got all my world records on this surface. The sticks have rubber shoes or "paws" at the bottom to cover their pointed toe when you are on a road. However, you can remove the paws and use the sticks on unpaved roads. You can even buy "baskets" (round slices that glide on the bottom of the sticks) to do this in the snow.
And just like running, Nordic Walking is a great way to travel while exploring a new place. You can get collapsible versions of poles that can easily be stowed in a suitcase, even though you just can not carry them in planes – they must be in your checked baggage or if you do not have collapsible poles (which I use for the contest) in their suitcases own bag and checked like a ski.
For all these reasons, that's enough to say – and the fact that the sticks have such a rhythmic experience that every time I use them I feel not only physically charged, but also mentally, especially when I am I'm in a park or in a nature – I wish I could put sticks in everyone's hands. Does anyone want to drive a bit of asphalt with me?