Nordic Walking vs. Regular Walking

Research published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science and written by physical therapists consolidated earlier research on Nordic walking and identified fascinating and important improvements for people who took up Nordic walking over regular walking.

 

What the researchers found from previous studies:

  • "…walking with Nordic poles can prevent damage to the lower extremity joints18) and relatively reduce loads on the knee joints."
  • "Nordic pole walking exercises induces the mobilization of all upper and lower extremity muscles."
  • "…higher oxygen consumption by the body compared with regular walking."
  • "Nordic pole walking could easily increase cardiac outputs and heart rates without increasing exercise fatigue."
  • "Nordic pole walking enabled faster walking."
  • "…can increase muscle mass even when only they are performed, so muscle strength can be improved."
  • "…the poles can play a role as supports to improve stability."
  • "…the use of Nordic poles can relieve pain in the lower extremity, increase the amount of exercise, improve cardiovascular system functions, help patients with arthritis or diabetes during walking, and help improve the gait and normal walking in relation to foot pressure."
  • "…when many office workers performed Nordic pole walking exercises for 12 weeks, their upper body muscles were improved."
  • ""…when Nordic poles are used, many muscles in the arms, shoulders, chest, and back are used and energy consumption is increased."

 

The researchers obtained similar results in this study. That means they were able to replicate the results of previous studies, confirming what Nordic walking proponents claim.

 

Courtesy of Leroy Hurt, Advanced ANWA Certified Instructor
University of Alabama
http://nordicwalkingguy.blogspot.com/2017/05/nordic-walking-versus-regular-walking.html

smovey VIBROSWING-System and Applications for Parkinson's Disease

"Smovey Rings" are a general health and wellness tool that combine exercise and vibration, which have particular beneficial applications for Parkinson's Disease. Indeed, these hand held "rings" were invented by Johann Salzwimmer, an Austrian Tennis player and a person with Parkinson’s, who actually initially designed them specifically to help himself. So it is not hard to understand why these are proving beneficial now with many other people who also have neurological conditions.

They consist, at the most basic level, of corrugated plastic tubes with some steel balls inside. As one swings the rings, the balls move up and down in the tube, causing significant vibrations that travel up the arms into the brain and body. While the idea is simple, the care and attention with which they have been designed is rather interesting: the color, weight, hand grip material, frequency of vibration, etc., are all supposed to be optimal.

One of the benefits of my Out-Thinking Parkinson's work, for myself, is that I'm often offered trials of products which may benefit people with PD. This was the case with Smovey's, and back in October 2016, Irene Treacy of Smoveyhealth donated a pair of the rings to the Out-Thinking project. I have been using them almost daily ever since, and have been exploring their use in my own "Curiosity and Play" movement recovery programmes. Below I've included a carousel of short films from my video diary, in which my set of rings feature. I hope these speak for themselves, and demonstrate how beneficial I have found these versatile tools?

Recently, I was visited by my friend David Spry of Parkinson's Disease Fighter's United, a fellow person with PD. I showed David my set of Smovey's and after playing with them, he did seem to feel they could be beneficial too - I even got him walking with them in such a way that he could swing his arms while he was in an "off" state. So I am now satisified that the benefits I've personally found will translate to other people with PD.

Co-incidently, a week later I was visited by Irene herself, who showed me how I could more optimally use the rings for my Parkinson's symptom relief, especially the concept of keeping the vibrations going by swinging the arms in such ways that the balls don't collide with the tube ends. However, the most important use that Irene demonstrated to me, which I was, until then, totally oblivious to, is the fact that these also make amazingly therapeutic massage tools. By rocking them back and forth and moving them across the surface of the body, the vibrations are incredibly soothing!

I have asked Irene to contribute some full length articles to this website, demonstarting more directly the benefits for other people with PD too. I will include links to these contributions here as we publish them.

http://www.outthinkingparkinsons.com/articles/smovey-rings

Beginner’s Guide to Nordic Pole Walking

Nordic pole walking is a workout that, when done properly, exercises 80 percent of your muscles. It’s low impact by nature, it’s fun to do, and it keeps you outdoors, making it an ideal form of exercise for anyone from out-of-season skiers to those recovering from injuries. Get started with this guide on gear, proper technique, and pole-walking location and workout suggestions.

So, what is Nordic pole walking? This form of exercise originated in Finland, and it has long been popular throughout Scandinavia and the U.K. Often used for cross-country ski training in the off-season, Nordic pole walking is now popular with people all over the world as a simple-yet-effective form of exercise.

Benefits of Nordic Pole Walking

Nordic pole walking uses both the lower and upper body muscles. The lower body gets the benefits of traditional walking or speed walking, and the poles work the upper body. Because of this combination, Nordic pole walkers benefit from fitness-building stimulation that’s not present in normal walking, as the chest, triceps, biceps, shoulders, and abdominals get a workout along with the leg muscles. The core is also engaged as the walker thrusts forward with the poles.

Nordic pole walking improves cardio-respiratory fitness, especially in older adults for whom resistance training or high-impact sports are not ideal. It can also improve balance and reduce neck pain. It’s a total body workout that’s fun and that encourages a sense of adventure since it can be done everywhere from parks and roads to hiking trails.

Gear You’ll Need

Traditionally, pole walkers used fixed-length ski poles during the off-season to pole walk, staying in shape for Nordic skiing. While fixed-length poles can still be used, there is greater benefit from specially designed Nordic walking poles. Nordic walking poles come in two forms: one-piece, non-adjustable shaft versions available in varying lengths; and telescoping, adjustable-length, twist-locking versions. One-piece poles are generally stronger and lighter, but they must be matched to the user. Telescoping poles are “one-size fits all” and are more transportable.

Choosing the best type of pole is highly personal; different models come with different types of hand grips and wrist straps. Most Nordic poles come with a rubber stopper over the tip so you can use them on pavement or sidewalks (walkers take the rubber off for better traction on dirt trails). On pavement, you’ll want the rubber tip, but on grass, dirt, or uneven terrain, you’ll have better traction with the metal tip.

Top Technique

The first step when pole walking is to gather your gear. Before you depart on your walk, you’ll want to size up your poles: hold onto the grip, put the tip on the ground, and keep the pole vertical and your arm close to body; your elbow should be bent 90 degrees. Next, snap in: slide the straps over your wrists and grip the pole lightly.

Now you’re ready to get going! Don’t overthink it: the cadence of your arms, legs, and body are like those used in normal, vigorous walking. But unlike walking, your stride is determined by the range of your arm movement – your stride will follow. The longer the pole thrust, the longer the stride and the more powerful the swing of your pelvis and upper torso.

Start by holding your poles lightly (don’t grip them too tightly). Walk with the poles alongside you moving in opposition to your legs. This sounds confusing, but it become natural to you: your left arm and right foot will move in tandem. Next, to check your form, strap on the poles if you haven’t already and let them drag behind you at about a 45-degree angle as you walk. Once the angle feels correct, grip the poles again and plant them on the ground instead of dragging them. You’ll still plant at that same 45-degree angle backward, with your elbows close to your body and your arms straight and relaxed.

As you get comfortable with planting, add pushing. Push the poles through each step, applying more pressure to your plant (the feeling is like “launching” or “boosting” yourself with each step). You’ll feel force on the strap. As you perfect your stride, focus on rolling from your heels to your toes on each step and pushing off with a fuller swing of the arms for a better benefit from your workout.

Where To Go?

The good news is that Nordic pole walking can be done almost anywhere! Trail systems work wonderfully for those who want elevation gains and losses for a challenging session, or any street, sidewalk, or track will do. You can even pole walk cross-terrain if you know the area well and feel comfortable on uneven terrain.

Once you have your poles and a pair of walking or running shoes, you’re ready to benefit from this full-body, low-impact workout. Enjoy Nordic pole walking!

Courtesy of eReplacementParts.com