03 December 2008

Crazy about walking poles!


For my birthday last week, my boys each gave me one Coleman trekking pole.  I had been eyeing walking poles for some time as a way to up the cardiovascular benefits of my walking, without having to resort to running.  (I hate running, I mean really, really hate running)  The Norwegians have been using walking poles for a few years now as a way to keep in shape for cross country skiing during the warm months.  Walking poles are used in the same fashion as cross country ski poles but are used while walking.  They get your arms moving thus increasing the calories you burn while walking.  Let me tell you, I am now a convert to the walking poles.  My first few times out with them, I couldn't walk very far because I got so tired.  My heart rate goes up much further than just walking alone.  Not only am I using my arms, but I feel I'm building muscle as well.  In just a week of using them, I'm seeing more definition in my arms and after the first use, I could tell by my soreness that I was using muscles not used to this sort of work.  I feel my biceps and triceps working, and also my shoulder muscles (deltoids) and chest muscles (pectorals).  For some reason I'm walking taller with the poles too thus lengthening my stride and engaging my stomach muscles.  After a week, I'm now back to my longer walks and I'm seeing results on the scale too.  I'm down three pounds, an awesome feat in my opinion the week of Thanksgiving.
My only complaints about the poles are the tips and the hand holds.  The Nordic trekking poles have angled tips which help to grab the ground when you're pushing off.  Since the Coleman poles don't have this, I sometimes push off the ground and the pole slips which gets a little frustrating.  Also, the hand grip bites into my hand a little bit, but this could be my technique and I might be holding on a little too tightly.
In full disclosure too, I probably look like a huge dork using them.  People have actually slowed down in their cars to watch me as they drive past.  I know this is a small town and people have to get their amusements from somewhere, but it does make me feel a little self-conscious (not that I care though).  
Dorkiness aside, if I am seeing results on the scale, and am feeling my fitness improve through increased muscle tone without really increasing the intensity of my workouts, I am sold.  I love these things.

16 comments:

Chef E said...

I got a pair for when we go wading through streams while fishing and hiking. I sometimes want a real walking carved wooden cane, but these work fine...Happy Belated Birthday by the way!

Reeni said...

That is great, especially the week of Thanksgiving, woohoo!

Lavender Dreamer said...

That looks like a great gift! I always used a stick when we hiked but this would definitely be better! It really does help your balance! ENJOY!

Joie de vivre said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes Chef E and thanks for the encouragement Reeni. I am feeling quite proud of myself!

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Hi there Joy. I like your walking pole. I myself have a walking stick that I love to use. A friend of my husband takes mequite wood branches, smooths them down, varnishes them and they're fantastic. Happy B-Day and may you have many, many more.

Carrie said...

I found your blog through Foodbuzz and had to comment on the first post. I also love my walking poles. I got a pair of about a year ago and definitely caught a few stares. But hey, it's empowering and a great way to exercise. I love taking them to a hilly park and clawing my way up a hill. Congrats on those lost pounds.

Laurena said...

Here in Sylmar we carry "The Sylmar Stick," necessary because of the huge numbers of loose and stray dogs. Of course, people in Sylmar don't have little dogs -- not with horses and acres of land -- they have large, untrained dogs. If I feel brave enough to go walking, I carry a 6 foot long, 4x4 inch piece of wood. One dog attack per day is average; there is nothing like the sound of two bull dogs' claws clattering up the sidewalk to attack you from the backside, to bring your heartrate up!

Joie de vivre said...

I feel a little safer walking with them, but if a big dog attacked, these lightweight aluminum poles would probably only make them angrier. I only come across the occasional loose dog though and mostly they just like to let you know they are there without confrontation. (Thankfully!) How are you supposed to move like a French woman when you can't go walking!

Robin Sue said...

Good for you. I need to get out there poles or no poles and just do it! I am packing on the pounds instead of taking them off. All this food blogging doesn't help!!

Grace said...

so when people slow down, do you wave at them, or shake the stick in their general direction? :)

Joanna said...

I honestly haven't heard of walking poles!! These are so cool. I am not a good runner, so I try to walk in the park a lot. These would be so cool to use. I'd feel like a mountaineer or something haha

Lori said...

I didn't realize those walking poles had so many benefits!

alwayswinner786 said...

Joie,
A very very Happy Belated Birthday.
May God bless you with all His love and happiness and we your freinds can see your smiling face and read your wonderful post for many many years to come.

Those gifts are really great.

Joie de vivre said...

Thanks so much for the birthday wishes alwayswinner! That was so sweet. Joanna, I do feel really hard core using these, which is probably why I don't mind the stares. I just make-believe that they are in awe over my awesomeness. :)

Foodycat said...

Happy birthday!

Jill said...

I guess I will have to wait for you to return from Hawaii to see if I can catch you walking with your walking poles. That is really great that you are already seeing results with them.

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