Nordic walking, or walking with poles, has become very popular. Why is it worth practising this sport and which poles are best?
Nordic walking is an increasingly popular form of exercise. Nowadays, you can often meet people of various ages walking with the support of characteristic poles. For this activity to bring maximum benefits, it is important to choose the right equipment.
What is Nordic walking?
Nordic walking is a combination of walking and cross-country skiing. All thanks to the poles. Many people think that this activity also involves the arms. The movements of the arms, feet, hips and the whole body are much more intensive.
The advantage of Nordic walking is that it is a sport ideal for everyone, regardless of age and fitness. This activity is even recommended by physiotherapists and is used for rehabilitation of many diseases.
Which poles to buy?
In order to get the best results from Nordic walking, it is crucial to choose the right poles. It is worth knowing that professional nordic walking poles consist of three basic elements you need to pay attention to: a handle with a glove, a pole proper and a blade with a plate.
It’s definitely not worth buying supermarket poles, which often have little in common with professional equipment and can break or even be dangerous
The handle should be sleek and slender. It should not have any finger indentations, which often happens in poor quality equipment. It can be made of rubber or cork with a mixture of other, artificial materials.
The latter has the advantage that your hands do not sweat. It is also important to have a glove in the handle, not the strap you often see! It must fit either the right or left hand. The key is that it should be comfortable, not pinch or squeeze
The right handle
A proper pole can consist of one or two parts. If only we are going to use the equipment, it is worth choosing the ones with a fixed length adjusted to our height. If we choose adjustable ones, it is necessary to pay attention to the mechanism of length adjustment. In case of cheap equipment this element often breaks down and gets stuck, which can be dangerous during a workout.
How to choose the length of the poles? Well, you need to stand up straight and put the pole to yourself. Your arm and forearm should form a right angle. When buying equipment for someone close to you it is best to use the rule of 0,68×growth measured in centimeters
Poles can be made of different materials. Aluminum ones are a bit heavier and their advantage is that they do not break or bend. Those made of glass or carbon fiber are more expensive.
What kind of blades and plates?
The last thing you should pay attention to when purchasing Nordic walking poles is the tip, the plates and the rubber caps. The spike is located at the end of the pole, is sharp and sticks into the ground. It is usually made of titanium or tungsten.
Its purpose is to provide good contact with the ground. It can be rounded or triangular. There is also a small, usually quite delicate plate at the end to keep the pole from sinking into the ground. Usually the plates are permanently attached to the poles.
If you don’t march on forest or country paths but on hard surfaces, it is a good idea to put rubber caps (also called boots) on the sharp tips of the poles, which are often included with the equipment
When buying poles, it is worth remembering that good quality equipment has replaceable parts. This way, if one of them gets worn out or damaged, you don’t have to buy a new set.
Read also: What to consider when choosing a hiking backpack? We suggest
Main photo: Jacek Chabraszewski/ adobestock.com