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No activity is completely safe, as anyone who has tripped over the cat while walking across the living room can attest. Still, Nordic walking is a very safe exercise activity. The Nordic walking poles provide extra stability, so you are less likely to fall or turn an ankle than even with normal walking. Nordic walking is even used in some rehabilitation situations. Because so many muscles are used, overuse injuries are unlikely. Nordic walking gives the cardiovascular system a good workout without overstressing it. If you use normal precautions about extreme weather, stay off slippery surfaces, and use the poles for their designed purpose only, you should be able to enjoy Nordic walking without worrying about safety.
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Given the fact that here in the USA many of the individuals attracted to Nordic Walking have balance issues, weight issues and/or joint issues it is important to stress that one-piece poles custom fit to an individual's height are safer, lighter and much more durable than twist-locking poles. Individuals with balance issues need poles they can trust won't collapse unexpectedly. As I have traveled across the country hosting Nordic Walking Clinics I have encountered consistent feedback from individuals with twist-lock poles - they love the concept of walking with poles, but HATE the twist-locks. I am told daily about twist-locks that won't stay set, twist-locks that freeze up, that rattle obnoxiously and/or vibrate excessively.
Skiers, ski shops and ski rental shops don't take the twist-lock shortcut because one-piece poles are safer, lighter and more durable.
Perfect length poles and correct Nordic Walking technique maximize the many benefits of walking with poles.
Perfect length poles help us to automatically walk with a super straight back - better walking posture is biomechanically a good thing. This improved walking posture when combined with the unique 4-Wheel-Drive type action of walking with poles radically reduces the stress to the shins, knees, hips and back. Nordic Walking is low impact and yet provides a highly effective workout - burning more calories and working more muscle groups than regular walking.
Keep up the good work and have FUN Nordic Walking!
Pete - owner/founder/coach The American Nordic Walking System and WWW.SKIWALKING.COM