Nordic walking is regular walking enhanced by the use of walking poles. Here’s what you need to know about trying out this activity. By Adora Wong
Let’s be honest – we associate walking poles with old people. And we really have better things to do than to Nordic walk.
Or do we – especially when the activity can torch up to 46 percent more calories than regular walking?
An enhancement of normal walking, the adrenaline-inducing full-body workout can be done anywhere, with any level of fitness.
My lesson was interesting to say the least. While it was, as we’d expect, largely made up of the elderly, I can’t say I did any better than them when it came to pole management.
Since it was the first class of the programme, we were supposed to simply strap the poles around our wrists and drag them around. To, you know, get comfortable moving about with the equipment.
Much as I work on handstands or climb walls, it took me a while to drag walking poles correctly. In my defense, in addition to making sure that my limbs work together, I had to pay attention to how I was landing with my feet. But the aunties were definitely going at it better than I was.
Sure, some of them had clearly done it before, and a few even had their own poles, but it wasn’t that amusing having to keep up.
It helped that the instructor Philip was nothing short of funny and encouraging. Clearly fitter than most middle-aged men his age, he’s been Nordic walking for 15 years and was the one who introduced the activity here. The ex-swimmer had taken to the activity so much that he had gone to Australia to study the technique under a master trainer.
According to him, while most Singaporeans are skeptical of the benefits of the activity, there’s been a growing number of young people making it part of their exercise routine. Small, but growing. It helps that there’s been an increase in neighbourhood parks.
He loves that it’s something the young can do with the old, and suffice to say I’ve been thinking of taking my folks to a class. Much as there’ll probably still be dragging poles around badly the second time round, I’ll get to spend time with them while ensuring they get a bit of a workout, which has been an impossible task.
This walkin’ thing should be easy enough. It takes just eight lessons to get the technique and safety aspects down pat, and I look forward to more strolls with Ma and Pa.
That, and burning up to 46 percent more calories.
Check out www.myactivesg.com for information on Nordic walking classes.
A version of this story first appeared on the CLEO Singapore website.