Urban Fitness Walking
Imagine the lone hiker, backpack laden with a sleeping bag and bedroll, wielding a well-worn walking stick as she climbs the side of a snow-covered mountain. For centuries, trekkers have used walking sticks, partly as a defense against attacking wildlife, partly to aid in balance, and partly as support on long, arduous climbs. But in recent years, many hikers have replaced the single wooden walking stick with hiking poles.
Held in both hands and used to distribute weight more evenly through the four limbs, wilderness hikers have found poles invaluable for safety, efficiency, and comfort on long hikes. What wilderness hikers have known for some time now is that walking poles are a great way to relieve pressure on knees, ankles, and back. They encourage better posture and provide a total body workout by engaging the upper body.
Now, hiking poles are showing up in urban areas as fitness walkers discover the benefits they provide. Nordic walking–similar in technique to cross-country skiing–is a great way to get a whole-body workout, increase oxygen consumption, and burn more calories than regular walking or even speed walking. This total body workout burns 40 percent more calories and consumes 25 percent more oxygen. Poles can be purchased at most outdoor sporting stores, along with rubber tips for use on paved paths
Adjust your poles to approximately 70 percent of your height and loosely secure the straps around your wrists. Hold the poles at an angle behind you so they propel you forward with a slight bend at the elbow. Use an opposite hand-and-heel motion as you walk–right heel strikes as left pole tip contacts the ground. And you’re on your way! Don’t be shy with your poles. Remember: You’re burning 40 percent more calories.
Why does Nordic Urban Walking burn more calories?
- We use less than 50% of our major muscles when we walk without poles – when we use poles we use over 90%. In doing so we spread our weight out helping to lessen the load with which we hit the ground by 26% – making a big difference for those people who have back, hip, knee, ankle or feet problems.
- Not to mention using poles while we walk naturally aligns our spine and strengthens our core with each step – helping use to stand and sit taller.
- We also don’t have to go as far or work as hard when we are using walking poles we increase our cardio by 20% and our calorie burn by Up to 48% without any more effort!…What more could you want? Oh! and you can do it in less time too -30min of Pole walking is equal to 50min of regular walking.
It’s one of the most beneficial and rewarding activities you’ll ever do. (Source: Keenfit)