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Nordic Walking

Nordic walking is a type of walking where you use specific walking poles to help you move forward. Nordic walking allows you to use both your arms and legs to propel you forward. It can make walking faster and some believe it can make you more steady when walking. If used correctly, the poles can help take pressure off your joints in your legs (hips, knees, ankles) which can help with pain and make walking more efficient. Before going any further, the video below is a great introduction to nordic walking and Parkinson's.





What is pole walking?

Think cross-country skiing. You will use nordic poles to mimic that motion but instead of using your legs to propel skies, you are propelling yourself. Pole walking is pretty popular around the world, but specifically in northern Europe.



How does nordic walking help?

It is important to start by saying that research is inconclusive here. The main reason is because studies that have been conducted around nordic walking are low quality, meaning there was a problem with how the study was conducted. What research has shown so far is that nordic walking does not lead to clinically significant changes in motor function and balance. This means that if a person completed a nordic walking program, their motor function and balance outside of nordic walking did not change a whole ton. Nordic walking has been shown to improve one's walking ability and quality of life. Simply put, for people who struggle with walking, nordic walking is a way to help them walk! That alone is extremely powerful.


For those who have difficulty walking, nordic walking is a great way to get your heart and lungs working harder. There is a big correlation between step count and risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease so utilizing nordic walking can help minimize that risk.


Nordic walking can also help with coordination while you are walking. It promotes taking a larger step and creates a steady beat to improve your pace. This is especially great for those of you who struggle with taking big steps and/or for those of you who have a hard time walking at a faster pace.


Nordic walking can be a really great group activity, helping those form community and connection. Throughout the country, there are groups that meet up at local parks and walk together for exercise and fun. While there is not a current group in the Capital Area, I am sure our community can make one! If this is of interest to you, reach out to us and we can try to help!


There are many places you can buy your own nordic poles: Amazon, L.L. Bean, your local outdoor store etc. You just have to find the most comfortable one for you!




Smovey Rings

Smovey rings are an alternative to nordic walking. They were made by Johann "Salzhans" Salzwimmer, an outstanding Austrian tennis player and skier who was diagnosed with PD in the 1990s. He wanted to invent a tool that would help him improve his movement. The Smovey Rings combines exercise and vibration. They are hand held "rings" that contain balls that move up and down in the tube creating vibrations. They are a fun alternative to the nordic poles and aim to promote the same thing - big and large movements as you walk.





Want your own Smovey rings? Click on the button below!





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