Why Count Carbs When There’s Effective, Affordable Nordic Walking?

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AmericaÂ?s obsession with weight loss has resulted in low carb menus and downsizing the super-sized. In Europe, theyÂ?re doing something altogether different to shed the weight Â? Nordic walking.

Restaurants across the country are feeding America’s obsession with weight loss, offering low carb menus, downsizing the super-sized, and tapping into profits from a fad raging across the nation. In Europe, they’re doing something altogether different – Nordic walking. It doesn’t require counting carbs, but two specially designed poles to work the upper body while walking. Like cross-country skiing, the poles are used to match each step a person takes, says Keith Richardson, CEO of outdoor retailer Sierra Trading Post. “It’s an easy, inexpensive workout,” says Richardson whose store specializes in first quality closeouts and overstocks. “It requires a minimal investment in gear, if you shop wisely, and the benefits are remarkable.”

It’s better than just walking, because it provides an easier cardio workout, he adds. Nordic walking increases the heart rate 5-17 beats per minute more than normal walking without increasing the perceived rate of exertion. According to a 2002 study by The Cooper Institute, walking with poles uses about 20 percent more calories than walking without poles. It also provides an upper body workout that includes shoulders, arms, chest, and back muscles. And it’s a low impact exercise, so it’s easy on knees and joints.

A good pair of walking or running shoes, comfortable clothing, a fanny or Nordic pack, and Nordic walking poles will get anyone started, Richardson says. “Anyone wanting to experience Nordic walking can get started with about a $150 investment, if they shop at Sierra Trading Post,” Richardson says. Anywhere else, customers will pay twice that much, he adds.

Richardson recommends a Nordic pole by Komperdell, a trusted manufacturer of trekking, ski, and more recently, Nordic walking poles. Sierra offers these quality-constructed poles at nearly 50 percent off the suggested retail price. For about $50 this is a great bargain, particularly for a beginner who may not yet be sold on the benefits of the activity, adds Marc Angelo, a merchandiser for Sierra.

Trusted walking shoes from Saucony, Reebok, Ecco, New Balance and others range in price from $30 to $40 at Sierra, and a quality Lowe Alpine fanny pack, often used by runners, can be purchased in the $10-$20 price range, Angelo says. Add a moisture wicking t-shirt for $9, a quality pair of running shorts for $15, and an $8 pair of performance socks, and you’ve got a Nordic walking ensemble for under $150, he adds.

To learn more about Nordic walking, visit http://www.nordicwalking.com. To save 35-70 percent on Nordic walking gear, visit http://www.SierraTradingPost.com or call 800-713-4534 for a free catalog.

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Kimberly Swanson
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