Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Nordic walking: DIY poles.

The very first time I came in contact with Nordic Walking my impressions weren't good. "Another gimmick to transform a natural and easy thing like walking in something complex and expensive"... that was my feeling about those poles that people use for Nordic Walking.
Then I tried it myself and I discovered that it's not that bad, it's a great workout for people who just walk and never train the upper part of the body (and believe me, there are many of them).
Like most sports, it has to be performed correctly to be effective.
The basic movement is this one:
Then there are a lot of variations that can be applied, especially when going downhill or speeding things up a little. But it's very important to be able to perform correctly the basic movement without loosing coordination between arms and legs.
Well, it's true that many times the sports' equipment industry tends to promote mostly-useless gimmicks just for the money (nothing wrong with that, as it's an industry and it's their job) and Nordic Walking makes no exception. There are poles of every kind to choose, many of them look like ski poles, others are telescopic, so it's easy to put them in your backpack when you don't need them. Pretty handy but they're quite expensive especially if you are new to Nordic Walking and you want to give it a try without spending too much.
In this case, you can follow my advice to try Nordic Walking poles with very little money. It's cheap and easy to make.
First of all you have to find out what's the lenght of the poles that suits better for you. The easy way to do it to multiply your height for 0,68. Well, this won't give you an exact result, but you get the idea. Then head to the hardware store and look for a broomstick of a lenght similar to that one you have obtained multiplying your height for 0,68 (there are many lenghts of broomsticks and usually the lenght is written on the label near the price). If you find a broomstick softly covered, it's better as you'll have a better grip. Buy two broomsticks (you don't need the mop). You'll notice that the final part of the broomstick is screwed, and its diameter is standard (17mm). Then, always in the hardware store, ask for those little rubber tips used for crutches, buy two of them with a diameter of 18mm.
Ok, you have all the parts for two very basic Nordic Walking poles and I suppose you have spent less than 3 euros.
Now assembling them is a breeze:
The broomstick diameter is 1 mm less than the tip diameter.
So it will enter easily.
Screw it up and press a little.
It's done.
If you didn't find a broomstick with a soft rubber cover, then a good solution will be to use race-bike tape for a better grip. It didn't have it so I used waxed tape for my DIY Nordic Poles.
They won't look fancy as the ones you can buy in sports' stores, but I've used them for some months without any sign of strain.
Homemade Nordic Walking poles.
 I suppose that it would be easy also to add a handstrap but it's something that a Nordic Walking beginner does not really need.
If you get hooked to Nordic Walking obvioulsy you can spend some money for something better, but to give it a try these DIY poles can do the trick!

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