It was the third hour of struggling with difficulties. First, the road began to climb steeper and steeper. Secondly, cyclists, having finally lost their sense of reality, took over the world and stopped following any rules (sometimes it seems to me that this is actually their global plan - to stay on the planet in the overwhelming majority, in every sense of the word). Thirdly, healthy tough guys from the construction site on Mosfilmovskaya, past which our route traditionally runs, threw away picks and shovels and once again began to hone their wit, discussing outlandish fun. In short, Nordic walking training has entered its final stage.
And, nevertheless, I love this sport dearly and devotedly, although I am still not sure if it really is. I remember how many years ago, while “departing” with my son in Finland for the winter holidays and whiling away the time between reindeer, sled dogs and visits to Joulupukki (the local Santa Claus), I now and then noticed groups of people briskly walking with sticks from nowhere to nowhere. Why are they without skis and whether they have a goal - there were the main questions tormenting my mind (and, frankly, pleasantly brightening up my leisure time). Then it all seemed, to put it mildly, funny and unattractive: creepy boots, shapeless jackets and a long road without end. Who knew that in a few years Scandinavian walking will confidently and firmly enter my life.
Why do I like this activity? Because it not only allows you to maintain good physical shape, but also brings the family together. Previously, my husband and I had a separate fitness routine: he ran in good faith, and I swam and went to yoga, and periodically "visited" the simulators. So on Saturdays, everyone served in their own direction and spent half a day in the "complete independence" regime. At the same time, we were amicably touched by people united by a common passion and … stubbornly continued to follow different roads. The situation was aggravated by the fact that the husband categorically did not recognize the fitness rooms and believed that everything could be done on his own and in the fresh air. I didn’t know how (and still cannot) run. No, of course, a bear can be taught to ride a bicycle … But in running I am personally annoyed by everything: from shaking (sorry) chest to a ripe tomato-colored face. Add to this the complete lack of competitive spirit, quick fatigue and unbearable longing for the landscapes sweeping by, and you have my jogging portrait marked "unsuitable for health and spirit."
At that time, outdoor training had just begun to come into fashion in Russia. The stars came together, and I suggested to my husband (although he claims that it was his initiative) to take an instructor for one Nordic walking lesson. It was late February - the worst time for any undertaking. Wet snow, piercing wind, terrible ice (I still can't forget my shameful descent from the observation deck on Vorobyovy Gory). Nevertheless, we made it! Everything turned out to be not boring at all: a trainer from the World Class fitness club forced us to change our stride technique and alternated exercises all the time. That day, of course, we were surrounded by increased attention, and at the most piquant moments I imagined that in fact this is such a cunning technique of steep skiers - well, there is not enough snow, so you have to somehow work out turns without skis. Weak consolation, but still!
Since then, 3-4 times a week (and on weekends it is obligatory), our family goes on the path of "health". We have become a real team: just imagine how much can be discussed in two or three hours of training. We now have our favorite routes: Vorobyovy Gory and the embankment of Park Kultury - in winter and in rain and Bitsevsky forest - in dry weather. Seasonal colds and other minor ailments have disappeared somewhere. Both my husband and I have been keeping a stable weight for several years now, without resorting to any diets. Our only spending on sports is the sticks we once bought for three thousand rubles (by the way, my other half "strengthened" them with the help of attachments on crutches, and now he is engaged in weights). True, I could not come to terms with the shapeless and sexless clothes of our northern walking comrades. And I regularly update my sports wardrobe, which is easy and pleasant to do,because Nordic walking is not a dusty activity, it is quite intelligent and does not require additional protective ammunition.
Now in Russia "Nordic walking" has become super fashionable. If earlier on our way we came across extremely rare pensioners, as a rule, with experience of life abroad, now whole groups of fit women and men of different ages march along the alleys and paths. So it's time to jump on that train. Anyway, I highly recommend it!
Nordic walking: what you need to know to start practicing immediately
The principle of stick walking is based on skiers' summer exercises. The effect of exercising is extremely high, because about 90% of the muscles of the whole body are exercised and 46% more calories are burned than during normal walking. This reduces the pressure on the knees and spine; muscle tone is maintained in both the upper and lower parts of the body; the work of the heart and lungs improves; coordination of movements is practiced, posture is corrected.
- Equipment. Special poles are used here, which are much shorter than classic ski poles. The correct length is very important in order to balance the stress on the knees, ankles and back. There are two types of poles: standard - fixed length, and telescopic - with several retractable segments. The handles contain fastened straps that resemble fingerless gloves, which helps to push off without squeezing these same handles.
- Tip. Choose the pole tips based on the surface you plan to walk on. Use a rubber tip on hard surfaces. When going on a journey on ice, snow and well-groomed trails, it is better to remove the rubber tip and leave the carbide spike, which was originally provided for by the design.
- Selection of sticks. First, the stick should be light and strong. Second, make sure that the handle does not rub against your bare hand. Thirdly, the length of your "shell" is selected depending on the height and degree of training. Telescopic poles allow you to set the perfect size. For those who love math, below is the stick selection formula. Even if you do not fully understand it, you will get a general idea of the ratio of height and desired length.
For people with a slow pace of walking or people recovering from an illness, an injury is the preferred formula: human height × 0.66. For example: height 171 cm × 0.66 = 112.86 (110 cm sticks can be used).
For more trained people, lovers of moderate intensity walking, the formula is suitable: human height × 0.68. For example: height 171 cm × 0.68 = 116.28 (you can use 115 cm sticks).
For athletes who like a fast pace of walking, sticks are suitable, the length of which is calculated by the formula: human height × 0.70. For example: height 171 cm × 0.70 = 119.7 (you can use 120 cm sticks).
The form. As for shoes, for walking in the mountains, you should choose boots that fix the shin well. This will give stability and protect you from injury if the leg suddenly slides off the stone. Special shoes are not required for walking along the embankment and other pleasant places. Any comfortable running shoe will do just fine
Photo: Getty Images, personal archive