Nordic Walking: Fad or Function?

The first time we saw people using sticks to hike we were in Austria.  Our first reaction was: "What will they think of next?  Leave it to the Europeans to take a simple activity such as hiking and add equipment and complications."  Well, mea culpa, we were wrong.  We are now big fans of using trekking poles on hikes.  Walking with two walking poles using a cross-country ski technique can improve your walking workout and safety.  Specifically, nordic walking


  • Increases heart rate without increasing walking speed.

  • Increases calories burned by 20-25%, which can translate into a guilt-free pastry stop during your hike

  • Absorbs shock and thus decreases strain on feet, ankles, knees and hips

  • Helps balance and reduces falls
  • Reduces strain on ankles, knees, and hips

  • Tones and conditions your upper body

  • Is fun:  it is a blast to boogey down the trail with your poles

  • Equipment can be used to "encourage" mean dogs to stay away from you

  • Is a fun conversation piece: "On your way to the slopes?  Where's the snow?", etc.

  • Increases your walking speed
  • Provides a marshmallow roasting stick:  just kidding!