Over the last couple of months I’ve seen small groups of people (Europeans?) strutting down the Bowery with their Nordic poles.
Didn’t give it much thought until this week, when I saw not only more Nordic pole walkers but, in another first, a very fit young couple on SpikeBoards (like longboard skateboards but instead of kicking off with their feet, they were each using a gigantic Nordic pole that looked almost like a golf club).
Of course, I had to investigate. This is what my research turned up:
Nordic pole walking is, according to some experts, the fastest growing fitness activity in the world.
- Over 10 million enthusiasts regularly take part in what was originally used by cross country skiers in Finland as a way to stay fit during the summer.
- It is highly popular in countries such as Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, the U.K., Germany and Canada.
- According to recent statistics, 2 million Germans and 1.5 million Finns are regular Nordic walkers.
- It is especially popular with women.
It is still in its infancy in North America. I did, however, find the American Nordic Walking Association (cool website, here).
- Nordic pole walking is highly recommended for people 55-plus who have joint problems but still want to be fit and active and get a great workout.
- Using poles offloads weight from hips, knees and lower spine, and into the upper body, making it ideal for those with arthritis or lower back pain, or those easing back into activity after surgery.
- It burns 20% more calories, and engages over 50% more muscles, than regular walking.
- It is recommended by both the Arthritis and Parkinson’s Foundations as well as by physical therapists and sports medicine experts .
Read on below for more on the relatively new sport of SpikeBoarding. Invented in 2010 by Enrique Cubillo, it is being watched by many who believe it has the potential to become the next big sport.
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