I recently had some health issues that made me realize that if I want to be able to successfully travel when I “retire” I need to up my game when it comes to walking. It seems that my natural state is seated, either behind my computer or in the lovely recliner that I bought to “put my legs up”! Unfortunately, I have arthritis in both knees and sometimes it seems to me that I would prefer to cease moving!
This is not to be allowed! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I don’t use it I will lose it! But oh, I hate to walk for exercise! Hiking is not bad, but I am not at the place where I can do much of that at the moment.
I was looking for some photos to use in a previous story and ran across some of seniors with walking poles. Now, I have seen these for hikers. As a matter of fact, my sister has quite a nice pair, but I had never really seen them used on walking paths. I started going down the rabbit trail in Google and discovered that what my photo people were doing was Nordic walking, a type of exercise that was initially started as a summer fitness program for cross-country skiers in Finland.
It seems this exercise is wonderfully suited to seniors and escalates the normal benefits of walking. According to Patricia Sands in her article ” 5 Reasons Nordic Pole Walking is Amazing for Older Women, “This sport gives you a tall feeling – naturally aligning your spine and strengthening your core. Over 50% more muscles are engaged than walking without poles. Pole walking targets arms, abdominals, waist, chest, bottom, hips and thighs.” http://sixtyandme.com/5-reasons-nordic-pole-walking-is-an-amazing-fit-for-older-women/
I also learned that there is a big difference in the way the poles are used for Nordic walking and hiking. When using poles in hiking you want to keep the poles out in front of you to help balance and steady you. In Nordic walking the poles stay to the rear of your body and are used to push off with your arms and engage your core muscles. Take a look at this informative video to see the difference: https://youtu.be/bp6vMhcazis
Bottom line is I will be walking more because there are so many interesting and wonderful places that I want to be able to walk to and through. And if Nordic walking will help me accomplish that, well, the poles are already in my Amazon cart! En avant!