Personally, I’m not much of a runner.  This is largely to do with the two 10 stone bags I’m carrying on my front (Neil call’s them the GG’s and reminds me that once they were Puppies)! Over the summer however, when there are no classes, I’m getting creative about how to keep my exercise regime up and of course I need something that will raise my heart rate as much as running, without actually giving myself a black eye!

In come the Nordic Walking Poles!  As you know, I wear a heart monitor, and for the summer, I’ve invested in a new wrist strap smart watch / all round health coachy style pedometer (here it is and thank you to new member, Liz Hedge for doing all the research for us).  This means I can tell if my heart is working in the correct zone.  Government health guidelines are that we should be raising our heart rate for 30 mins per day, 7 days a week (not 5, not 4 etc). Ideally we should be working the heart around 70% of it’s full capacity.  Here is a thorough explanation about heart rate zones or if you want to skip the science part, here is a quick calculator to give you your aerobic zone 3 heart rate number that you should be working at for half an hour EVERY DAY.  I aim to get mine to stay between 136 and 155 for that time and Nordic Walking does the job.  Without them, my heart might get up to only 104 – 110 even on a fast walk!

How does holding the poles make all that difference to the heart rate then? In the first instance, the poles make me walk FASTER because I am using the poles to vault me forwards.  Secondly, because I’m using my upper body, as well as my legs, my heart rate is bound to increase, just like when we use the weights at class.  Thirdly, my whole torso twists slightly, bringing the muscular action into the oblique region thus trimming my side waist and burining more calories.  Although I’m aware of increased speed and can see from my heart monitor that the exercise is efficient, there is none of the feeling of struggle, and big boob agony that goes with running or jogging.  Here are some more of the benefits outlined…

If anybody wants to train with me, get in touch over the summer and I’ll show you how it’s done and teach you how to choose some poles that will work for your body size if you want to take it further…

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