The cold weather season is here. While some Minnesotans embrace outdoor winter sports, many of us avoid outdoor activities due to the cold weather and slippery conditions.
Benefits of Walking Poles
Using walking poles, also known as walking sticks or Nordic poles, can make winter walks a little less daunting. Walking poles offer multiple benefits, including:
- Better balance: Using poles gives your body an extra 2 feet to rely on. This widens your base of support and makes you more stable. Often poles come with multiple foot attachments that you can change according to your needs. Rubber ends will help with traction and grip, whereas pointed ends will help dig into ice.
- Increased cardiovascular fitness: Using poles makes your arms and upper body work harder. Therefore you increase your heart rate and increase your caloric burn
- Improved coordination: Using poles is the correct pattern often takes some practice, but once you master the rhythm you will benefit from improved motion through your pelvis and ribcage.
3 Tips for Using Walking Poles
If you are ready to start using poles, set yourself up for success:
- Set the best height: When gripping the handle of an upright pole, your elbow should be bent to 90 degrees
- Use the wrist strap to your advantage: Loop your hand into the strap from the bottom, then place your palm over the narrow end of the strap with your thumb and first finger on either side. This will give you more stability when you walk and require less grip on the pole.
- Don’t worry about perfection: Getting into a good rhythm of opposite arm and leg motion can be challenging at first, so just get walking and you will improve with practice.
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