Nordic walking is growing in popularity. It is a great way to spend free time outdoors. All you need is two poles and a willingness. Well, the poles. They have to meet several requirements. Below we explain what to pay attention to when choosing them.
What is Nordic walking?
Nordic walking came to us from Finland. It is a kind of activity, which consists in marching with special poles. Nordic walking perfectly engages all the muscles, without putting stress on the spine and joints. Due to the fact that it is a relatively mild form of fitness training, it has a very good effect on blood pressure and improves resting heart rate. It is a very simple activity, but in order to benefit from it you need to maintain a proper walking posture. Among other things, one should remember about the alternation of the movements of arms and legs and about the fact that the steps during Nordic walking should be long.
Nordic walking poles – will any of them suffice?
For this activity to make sense, you need comfortable shoes and special poles. It is commonly believed that any poles will suffice, even those found in the forest or in a park. Nothing more misleading. Properly selected Nordic walking poles will allow you to synchronize the work of your arms and legs and help you maintain the right posture during the activity. A lot of people also do not see the difference between trekking poles and poles which are dedicated to Nordic walking. Trekking poles have a strap at the handle, while Nordic walking poles should be equipped with gloves
How to choose nordic walking poles?
The length of poles is the most important parameter you should pay attention to. Nordic walking poles are chosen in a similar way as skis, i.e. according to the height of the person who will use them. Calculating the length of the poles is very simple – if you are a beginner, multiply your height by 0.68; advanced people should multiply their height by 0.72. It is better for your poles to be too long than too short
Fixed or adjustable length?
Once you know the length of the ski poles you need, you have to decide whether to choose fixed-length, adjustable or three-piece ski poles. Fixed length poles are best for people who already know a little bit about Nordic walking and their posture is correct. These poles are light, stable and do not vibrate when overlapped. Telescopic or extendable poles, which are adjustable in length, will be ideal for beginners. They have stability similar to those with a fixed length and also do not vibrate, thanks to the fact that the adjustable extensions are close to the handle. A big disadvantage of the last type of poles can be that they are made up of three parts and have two adjustment points, which makes the vibration higher. Their considerable weight is also a disadvantage. However, adjustable length poles have a huge amount of pros, which include the fact that one pair can serve more than one person. Each person can freely adjust the poles to their preferences or the terrain they are marching on. Telescopic poles are very easy to fold. This is a great advantage because they do not take up much space, so you can easily put them in a backpack or a bag.
Nordic walking poles are usually equipped with gloves, or at least you should choose one. They also often have markings for which hand they are intended for. Look for poles with EVA foam or cork handles. They will be more pleasant to hold and your hands will not sweat as much
At the end of each pole there is a tip. These are usually triangular or rounded parts made of metal. Above the tip there should be a so-called plate, thanks to which the tips are supposed to cushion the poles – when you hit the ground, only the tip is stuck up to the height of the plate. This is how you should choose nordic walking poles. It is also worth getting a rubber cap for the blades – with harder surfaces, such as tartan, the blades can become blunt
Main photo: Jacek Chabraszewski/Adobe Stock