As you may have read via this blog approximately five years ago, I found my way to my own little slice of fitness heaven, you can read the whys and wherefore in my earlier ’Nordic Walking is My Fitness Heaven’ post. Last year was a little hectic for me, so not too much Nordic Walking unfortunately, but this year it’s back with vigour.
Since my last Nordic Walking blog post, I added one additional piece of equipment, in the form of a Home Versaclimber - which gets a full day’s worth of exercise done in circa 30 minutes. It is very complementary to the Nordic Walking - being low impact (i.e. minimal strain on joints and ligaments) as well as a total / full-body workout. With Nordic Walking you are mostly pushing away and down with your arms, on the Versaclimber you are pulling up, as if scaling a particularly steep slope / cliff-face. I usually do Nordic Walking and Versaclimbing on alternate days.
It is quite remarkable how little my core kit for Nordic Walking has evolved, I’ve only changed out the gloves - for ones with touchscreen ability, and my iPhone is obviously the current model (6 Plus if you must know). Mostly as per the above visual (Note discrepancies with scale!) my current kit has remained largely unchanged for five years (bar wearing out a few pairs of Salomon trainers of course):
From Top to Bottom:
Sticks!: Leki Carbon Traveller Pro - Still brilliant, lightweight yet incredibly strong with smart shark trigger release, although I go through possibly too many rubber powergrip pads (as many as half a dozen in a good year / roughly every other month)
Headphones: Sennheiser MM 100 - Lightweight, bluetooth, neckband-style, great sound quality, supremely comfortable, leak just enough noise for you to be aware of your immediate environment (cars and cyclists)
Music Box!: 128GB iPhone 6 Plus - mostly filled with music, but serves other roles too - such as pace / distance / step monitoring / maps etc.
Shades: Rudy Project Magster - Lightweight, photochromatic, perfect fit, keep out various airborne contaminants as well as sunlight
Hooded Jacket: Paramo Limited Edition Halcon (Navy) (I have both versions) - All-Conditions, weatherproof, breathable marvel of a jacket, stands up to pretty much everything bar the most excessive and long-lasting tropical-style deluge, great wicking ability, lots of pockets and vents, and dries very rapidly too
Fleece: Paramo Taiga - All-Conditions again, weatherproof and excellent wicking, lots of pockets
Hoodie: Paramo Summit - All-Conditions once more, weatherproof and excellent wicking, lots of pockets, plus side-zip vents
T-Shirt: North Face GTD 1/4 Zip - (Availability Seasonal or older styles on Amazon) Comfortable, great wicking action, zip for ventilation
Gloves: North Face E-Tip - Perfect all-year-round gloves with touchscreen ability, I have them in different thicknesses (Apex / Paramir etc.) for different weather conditions, but wear the thinnest type 99% of the time
Trousers: Paramo Cascada - All-Conditions, weatherproof, wicking, two zipped pockets, side-zip vents, I have worn mine from -2°C to +20°C, quite happy to wear them all day on casual days
Socks: X-Socks Winter Run - All-Conditions, padded, supportive, wicking, quick-drying, anti-blister, just supremely comfortable and protective
Shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX (AKA XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX) - Goretexed, weather-proofed shoes with amazing stability and traction, fantastic cushioning and poise, excellent comfort and durability - with ingenious stay-fast quicklace system, I would never buy anything else, also my casual trainer of choice - I have numerous pairs in several different colourways
(Note: Underwear is your own choice - I favour something made from micro-modal (Under Armour / M&S), try to steer clear of too much cotton as that absorbs and retains sweat / moisture instead of wicking it away like the various man-made fibres do)
A key aspect to choosing the right garments is how well they perform from a technical standpoint - at different stages in your sortie, temperature - both body and external can vary enormously, so great ventilation ability is significant. I find Paramo’s combination of venting features, wicking, weather-proofness, and the fact that these garments are cut for movement, make them absolutely perfect for Nordic Walking. What’s more the garments are incredibly durable as well as practical (always 2-way zips and multiple pockets, and wonderfully comfortable too. I have several sets in multiple different colourways, and not one item has let me down.
A key part of my fitness motivation is music, for Nordic Walking something around 135 BPM is optimal for getting you up to the right pace, think electro house and melodic / uplifting trance (The Armin Van Buuren Year Mixes are great for this). For the Versaclimber you need a range of tempos to alternate long slow deep strides with rapid short step sprints, and various mid-pace interconnecting sequences - so for Versaclimber you need more of a compilation of dance pop - with separate tracks rather than a fully sequenced club mix.
Drinking a glass of milk after either workout somehow counteracts muscle stiffness and accelerates recovery. Exercise leads to build-up of lactic acid in the muscles, and the combination of lactose proteins and enzymes in milk somehow have the best effect on returning the muscles to normal function. (Here’s an interesting reference [>])