Benefits of Nordic Walking with Bill VanGorder

Bill VanGorder had been a runner all his “fitness life” until his knees started to bother him 14 years ago. Scores of 10ks and 6 marathons had taken their toll. Bill discovered Nordic Walking when he accidentally met the late Dr. Klaus Schwanbeck the former German Olympic Coach who popularized Nordic Pole Walking in North America. Esther, Bill’s wife is also an avid Nordic Walker and nationally certified instructor. Both Bill and Esther are Master Trainers responsible for certifying all Nordic Walking instructors in Atlantic Canada.

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Benefits of Nordic Walking

Bill began Nordic Walking by cross training with running. Bill would go out for a warm-up Nordic Walk for 30 minutes then go by his house, drop of his poles and continue for another 30 -45 minutes running with a warmed up, well stretched body. “But, “ Bill says, “I soon found that I was getting a better workout from the Nordic Walking than from the running.” Researchers discovered that Nordic Walking uses almost 95% of the body’s large muscles, not just the 50% of muscles that are below the waist. Nordic walking is low impact. Bill reports as a result he gets his upper body strength workout at the same time as his cardio.

70% of Canadians enjoy walking

Nordic walking made improvements in his health and Bill reports he has not had any knee problems now in over 12 years he has been involved in this fitness activity. Nordic walking made it extremely convenient because at any time of year I can pick up my poles and enjoy some fresh air. I urge anyone of any age who enjoys walking to give Nordic walking a try. You’ll be amazed how much fitter you feel very quickly, “he says. “I’m amazed i’m in better shape now than I was 30 years ago when I was running full marathons. Bill VanGorder point out that 70% of Canadians say that walking is their favourite form of fitness (Participation Survey, 2016). Nordic Walking is simply adding poles to regular walking and a better way to walk. It puts the upper body large muscles to work, so up to 67% more calories are burned. Noric walking made us healthier.

Nordic Walking as medical treatment

Nordic Walking with poles increases stable and makes you feel more confident walking. The poles provide more support and make you feel like you are walking on “four feet”. Walking is easier and their is less impact on hip, knee and foot joints. Even hills are easier because you are using your arms to pull up the slope instead of your knees. As a Nordic Walker he doesn’t avoid hills as he did as a runner. Research shows that in Finland, Nordic Walking records an amazing 30% of the population regularly Nordic Walk. In Switzerland health insurance companies offer a reduced premium to those who Nordic Walk. Austrian doctors prescribe Nordic Walking as medical treatment. In Germany some mainstreem magazines have been devoted solely to the activity of Nordic Walking. In the UK community health programs run strong, and in Canada marathons and fun runs have created separate categories for Nordic Walkers.

Where did the term “Nordic Walking” come from?

The term “Nordic Walking” came into existence in 1997 when the Finland national cross country ski team developed a fitness walking pole with a wrist strap system for summer training. The difference is in the thumb-hole wrist strap is the key component to the Nordic Pole Walking technique and allows the walker to enjoy the associated physical and health-related benefits. Nordic Poles are a style of pole, not a brand. Many companies make authentic Nordic style poles such as Leki, Excel, Gabel to name a few. The VanGorders promote and use the Nordixx brand because they are literally half the cost of the other brands. A pair of specially designed poles for Nordic walking can be obtained for $70 to $90. Do not confuse these poles with trekking poles due to how you use the strap and the angle at which you plant your poles into the ground. Be sure to wear a good pair of walking shoes for added stability.

Who is Bill VanGorder?

Bill VanGorder is the Founder and President of Nordic Walking Nova Scotia. In the past Bill worked for the YMCA for 28 years in Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Edmonton and Halifax. In 1991 he became CEO of The Lung Association of Nova Scotia where he stayed for 15 years. For the next 5 years following Bill ran a Fund Raising and Volunteer Development consulting business. In 1993 he and wife Esther established Nordic Walking Nova Scotia a division of their MRC Associates Inc. At 76, Bill continues to work full time and loves it.

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