How to choose Nordic walking sticks?
Nordic (Nordic, Nordic) walking is a popular sport that everyone can practice, regardless of age or physical form. It is equally suitable for pregnant women, the elderly and children taller than 150 centimeters. But how to choose sticks for Nordic walking so that classes bring maximum results?
This sport creates a load on various muscle groups that are not involved, for example, when running or cycling. Thus, Nordic walking allows you to prepare the body for more serious physical exertion, bring it into shape and maintain it, and even lose weight.
This sport is not contraindicated for those who, for medical reasons, are not allowed to run, i.e. people suffering:
- diseases of the cardiovascular system;
- Diseases of the respiratory system.
At the same time, its great advantage is its accessibility - from the sports equipment for Nordic walking nothing is required except for a pair of sticks. However, not any sticks are suitable for practicing; it may be difficult enough for an unprepared person to find suitable ones.
Due to the growing popularity of Scandinavian walking, how to choose sticks for it is not yet clear to everyone. In this case, instead of picking up specialized equipment, it is often replaced with a similar purpose: ski or trekking poles.
Of course, since these products are not designed for Nordic walking, the effectiveness of training with them will be lower, and their use has a lot of features.
It is possible to use ski poles in Scandinavian walking, but it should be borne in mind that their use is allowed only on loose surfaces: because of the features of the tip, they can be used only in winter and on snow.
In extreme cases, they are suitable for bulk surfaces (sand). You also can not use the same pair of poles for walking and for skiing: they are selected based on different criteria, and, therefore, their length should differ markedly.
Tracking sticks (travel sticks), in turn, are designed for completely different functions: support for the tourist in the hike. They are heavy, thick and massive, as they are designed to withstand not only the human weight, but also the mass of the backpack.
Tracking sticks are almost always telescopic. Their use for Nordic walking is undesirable because it creates a significant overload of muscles.
Selection of stick length
In the selection of sticks it is necessary to take into account two aspects: the height of a person and the characteristics of the products themselves. Selection of the optimal length is necessary for productive workouts: only in this way will the load on the body be distributed correctly without causing overvoltage of the muscles.
Poles of insufficient length will overload the spine, it is impossible to push off from the ground properly. With short sticks, the step length is also reduced, which reduces the training load on the back muscles of the legs. On the contrary, too long sticks will not allow the body to be tilted slightly forward, which is necessary for proper walking.
The required length of sticks directly depends on the height of a person.It is logical that for a taller person longer sticks are needed. The size of the inventory can vary from 110 to 140 centimeters, the table of possible sizes has a step of 5 centimeters.
Also, the required length of the sticks is affected by the physical condition of the body. People of a more athletic build can increase it by 5 centimeters, and professional athletes by 10.
Also, instead of wondering how to choose the right Nordic walking sticks, you can do the simplest test: pick them up. Ideally, with a straight position of the body and sticks, the elbow should be bent at a right angle.
When selecting the length, it is necessary to take into account not only the physical shape and height of a person, but also his individual characteristics. So, people suffering from diseases of the joints, can not take long enough steps, based on which the size of the stick is selected.
In this case, it is better to take the shorter guns.The same with the size of the legs: long-legged people make wider steps, they need sticks longer, while people with short legs will be more comfortable with shorter sticks.
Criterias of choice
Answering further the question of how to choose sticks for Nordic walking, you need to consider their features. They are made of various materials and have a different design. Their choice is determined by the available amount of money and personal preferences.
Ideally, the selected inventory should:
- have sufficient rigidity;
- be non-traumatic;
- have a small weight;
- have high strength;
- dampen vibrations and shocks;
- have a comfortable grip;
- match the length.
The design of the sticks can be fixed or telescopic. Telescopic sticks allow you to pick up the height in more detail. They consist of two or three sections and are equipped with a swivel lock. These sticks are easy to transport, they can be adjusted to walk on different surfaces. Telescopic Nordic walking poles are recommended:
- to beginners, who select the most comfortable parameters for themselves;
- for people involved in walking with different loads and in different conditions.
Those who rarely change their load (and, accordingly, do not feel the need to adjust the height of the sticks) and walk around the homogeneous terrain, it is recommended to choose solid sticks: they are safer and more durable.
Scandinavian walking sticks consist of four elements: a pole, a tip, lanyard and a handle. Each of these elements may have different quality parameters, be made from different materials and affect the productivity of classes in general.
The rod (shaft) is made of aluminum, carbon, fiberglass, carbon fiber and composite. The first option is the cheapest, but at the same time the least preferable: aluminum sticks very poorly extinguish the blows to the ground and vibrations during the walk, creating an additional load on the joints.
More professional sticks of aluminum are equipped with a special vibration damping system Anti-shock, which increases the elasticity of the sticks. The preferred options are products with the addition of carbon.The more of this material in the design - the smaller the mass of sticks.
Carbon perfectly absorbs vibration and shock energy. Its addition increases the stiffness, flexibility and strength of the sticks. Professionals prefer the use of sticks of composite or carbon fiber: they show the best quality.
The handles are made of various materials. The least preferred among them is plastic: while walking, the hand is continuously unclenched and compressed, which causes it to sweat.
Excess moisture accumulates and causes discomfort. The handle material should at least partially absorb excess moisture; plastic does not possess such qualities. Therefore, in most inexpensive models, inclusions made of rubber are introduced into the plastic handle. Cork handles are considered to be the highest quality: they not only absorb moisture well, but also sit comfortably in your hand.
Lanyard is a special belt around the wrist, resembling a glove. In more simple models, the strap is wrapped around the wrist, similar to a ski lanyard.
The task of lanyard is to maintain the hand and wrist, to provide an opportunity to release the stick after its collisions with the ground. Lanyards vary in size, which must be considered when selecting. Not every lanyard can be adjusted to the size of a particular hand, but these are found, buying sticks with this kind of lanyard will obviously be better.
More primitive straps are not separated by the hands, but are identical, as a result of which certain discomfort may arise when using such sticks.
The accuracy of the stick trajectory with the universal lanyon also suffers. In more advanced models, the division into left and right appears. Professional straps are made taking into account the anatomical features of the wearer, they use special absorbent materials.
Extremely convenient solution is a removable lanyard, which can be detached from the stick at any time. This design allows you to save time if you need to answer the call on the phone, take a drink and other similar situations.
The length of the lanyard also matters. In the case of a short strap, it is sometimes better to choose a shorter stick, since the time to complete a complete movement with your hand will simply not be enough.In turn, with a long belt stick is also better to choose a longer one.
Sticks for Scandinavian walking are completed with a pointy tip, hard and durable. This tip is ideal for soft and slippery surfaces.
Separately, there are tips to walk on asphalt paths or dense ground. As a rule, these lugs are removable and detachable when they are not needed. They are made of rubber. Their function: to protect the hard tip of the stick itself, while providing additional shock absorption when walking.