Have you seen it? The newest exercise craze of the western world. It is big in Germany and most assuredly coming to an United States shoreline near you. I do not like to write articles like this. I find little reason to insult people with what is clearly just my opinion on a topic. I respect everybody’s freedom to choose, especially in such trivial, and yes what I am about to unfold is trivial, topics. However, this time I just can not seem to keep my mouth shut, smile and nod cordially. Why can’t these people just go for a walk?
The problem has been building for a long time. First, yoga came on the U.S. Scene and we instantly had to tag it, box it and manufacture it. Now every American yoga guru needs a special yoga mat, a special bag to put your special yoga mat in, special yoga clothes and special yoga water bottles. I have met numerous people who would like to take up yoga, but say they can’t because they can not afford to purchase all the “necessary” special yoga tools. Don’t you dare show up to class without your special yoga tee shirt proclaiming to the whole world that you have found spiritual bliss and enlightenment through yoga.
Then, as Buddhism increased in popularity in the west suddenly you can not meditate without your special $50.00 pillow. Heaven forbid they learn to sit directly on the ground as so many Buddhists have done before them. The Buddha didn’t have a pillow. The common compliant of why the meditation pillow is so “necessary” is that so many people are not flexible enough to get into a comfortable position sitting on the floor without a cushion and it makes their backs hurt. Why don’t they take a yoga class?
I let these two slide. I stayed cheerful and tried not to be judgmental as I watched person after person spend more and more money on all their little “necessary” accoutrements so they could gain both fitness and peace of mind, but finally I stumbled across the straw to break the camel’s back . . . Nordic Walking. Strolling through the well-cared for parks of Germany you see it everywhere. People walking with a stick in each hand. Dressed up in special Nordic Walking spandex outfits, with their special Nordic Walking shoes, and their special Nordic Walking gloves. No need to mention their $200 Nordic Walking poles.
Nordic walking is the latest fitness craze. It is estimated, if done correctly, that Nordic Walking is approximately 30% more beneficial for you than regular walking; beneficial for your arms and torso as well as your legs and heart. Nordic Walking is a full body work out. It seems that more people are out Nordic walking in Germany than just walking. This is a good thing. The trend keeps catching on. More and more people are getting there exercise and more and more companies are popping up to make some money off of the Nordic Walking trend.
Originally used in icy countries to aid in hill climbing and such; Nordic Walking was developed as an exercise routine in Finland in about 1997. Since then all sorts of special Nordic Walking gear has been developed and the exercise has gained increasingly in popularity. Nordic Walking involves walking as usual, but with two specially designed sticks or poles, used in the appropriate way, to increase the intensity of the exercise. It resembles Cross Country Skiing, except without the snow or the ski’s. It sounds harmless, right? And, it is I suppose, except that at any moment one of those poles could be whipped out as a weapon. But, seriously why has the whole thing got me in such a huff? I guess I’m a purist of sorts. I don’t understand why people can’t just take a nice stroll through the park. It seems that in the world today everything has to have some sort of alternative purpose. Everything is so high charged. It frightens me to think that these people can’t just enjoy a nice walk to look at the trees, feed the ducks, breath the fresh, if not slightly toxic air.
Despite my opinion Nordic Walking is supposed to be good for you. So, if you like those sorts of things and you can afford to waste your money on such frivolous stuff while people around the world starve then I say: Go for it! I even posted a few links at the bottom to help get you started.