Category Archives: General

Basics in getting yourself started for a triathlon

Biomechanics of Triathlon
Triathlon participation involves three activities: swimming, biking, and running. Each activity requires a coordinated pattern of muscle recruitment that produces motion about the joints and creates the power to make the triathlete move. As a triathlete transitions from one discipline to the next, a concomitant increase in weight-bearing activity is seen.

The swim requires the triathlete to be prone, lying facedown in the water and using the arms and legs for propulsion. Most people without a swimming background quickly learn that swimming efficiency and, thus, speed are extremely dependent on technique. For those who are technically challenged, wetsuits, which are legal to use in certain water temperatures, provide buoyancy to help produce better swimming position, resulting in less drag on the legs. Most triathletes use the arms to a much greater extent than the lower extremities for propulsion, possibly to prevent lower-extremity fatigue when biking and running.

The transition to the bike places a greater emphasis on both the lower extremities and core. The upper extremities contribute stabilization and assist in bike-handling skills.

Running, the greatest weight-bearing activity of the three, places the most impact on the body and requires a smooth coordination between upper and lower extremities to enable efficient gait. Strength training with both isolated and sport-specific exercises as described in later chapters will help develop a strong foundation to create power and speed and also prevent injury.

A Test of Endurance
The common thread that binds all triathlon distances together is that they all require prolonged exercise tolerance. This is unlike many other sports. Professional American football players play an average of 12 minutes during a 60-minute game. It has been calculated that during an average soccer game that lasts 90 minutes, a soccer player runs about 6 miles (10 km). At even the shortest triathlon distance, the ability to maintain sustained exercise needs to be greater.

The cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal systems can be trained to handle this endurance stress. As more information is learned through research about an athlete’s ability to perform both aerobic and anaerobic exercise as well as Continue reading

Why a triathlete’s most important tool is not a physical trait

This excerpt is from the an upcoming book author of Complete Triathlon Guide. It’s published with permission of Human Kinetics


Regardless of their differing levels of knowledge and experience, success for all triathletes begins with the planning process. In the forthcoming Complete Triathlon Guide (Human Kinetics, May 2012), USA Triathlon says that planning helps you identify clear goals, understand your current level of readiness, and establish an accurate training regimen. Planning also requires you to take a realistic look at your current position on a frequent basis throughout the season, acquire new information, and then make decisions on the way you are going to train.



According to Sharone Aharon, a contributor to Complete Triathlon Guide, the gold standard of developing an annual training plan and avoiding the pitfalls of poor planning is periodization. This refers to dividing a certain amount of time, in this case the training year, into smaller, easier-to-manage phases. The most common periodization refers to three segments of time that repeat themselves and differ by size:



1. Macrocycle. This is a long stretch of training that focuses on accomplishing a major overall goal or completing a race. “For example, if the Chicago Triathlon is your most important race of the season, the time from the first day of training at the beginning of the season until that race will be considered your macrocycle,” says Aharon.


A macrocycle is then made up of several small- and medium-size phases and covers a period of a few weeks to 11 months. For most athletes, especially beginners, a macrocycle covers the entire racing season, focusing on one big race for the year and the development of their basic physical and technical skills.


2. Mesocycle. This is a shorter block of training within the macrocycle that focuses on achieving a particular goal. It usually covers 3 to 16 weeks and will repeat a few times, each time with a different training objective or goal. Coaches often use three mesocycles, or phases, within the annual training plan: preparatory, competitive, and transition.



The preparatory phase establishes the physical, technical, and psychological base from which the competitive phase is developed. The competitive subphases are dedicated to maximizing fitness for ideal performance; coaches refer to these as build, race, or peak phases. The transition phase, finally, is the rest and rejuvenation phase in between training cycles or seasons. “Keep in mind that the level of the athlete will also influence the length of each phase,” Aharon comments. “A beginner most likely will have a very long preparatory phase, up to 22 weeks, to develop a strong foundation that will enable him or her to endure the load of progressive, more advanced training.”



3. Microcycle. This is the basic training phase that repeats itself within the annual plan. It is the smallest training period and is structured according to the objectives, volume, and intensity of each mesocycle. The microcycle is probably the most important and functional unit of training, since its structure and content determine the quality of the training process.



A microcycle can last for 3 to 10 days but typically refers to the weekly training schedule. “The progression of the microcycles within the mesocycle has to take into consideration the important balance between work and rest,” stresses Aharon. “Too much work without appropriate rest will lead to overtraining and injuries. On the other hand, too little work with too much rest will lead to underperformance.”

Types of Stretching

This is from the author of Stretching Anatomy. It’s published with permission of Human Kinetics

There are various stretching techniques, but three main methods have proven effective.

1. STATIC STRETCHING

Static stretching is the most practiced stretching method. Because its purpose is to maintain the body in good physical form, static stretching is more appropriate for beginners and people who are not very active.

Static stretching relies on basic stretch-ing movements and muscle contractions. These exercises, performed slowly over time, help you discover your deep (postur-al) muscles. They allow you to work your entire body while increasing awareness of your flexibility.

Muscles are lengthened using bending, extending, or twisting positions. These stretches must be done slowly so that the antagonistic muscles are not stimulated. Once you are comfortable in a stretched position, you hold the position for about 15 to 20 seconds to relax, lengthen, and oxygenate the muscle fibers.

2. DYNAMIC STRETCHING

Dynamic stretching is often recommended in athletic training programs. It increases energy and power because it acts on the elasticity of muscles and tendons. It relies on swinging movements done with a certain amount of speed. The technique consists of swinging the legs or arms in a specific direction in a controlled manner without bouncing or jerky movements. The agonist muscle contracts rapidly, which lengthens the antagonist muscle, thereby stretching it.

3. PNF STRETCHING

PNF stands for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. The PNF stretching technique is widely used in reeducation therapy. PNF stretching involves four steps:

Gradually stretch a muscle to its maximum.

Perform an isometric contraction for about 15 to 20 seconds (while still in the lengthened position).

Relax the muscle for about 5 seconds.

Restretch that same muscle for about 30 seconds.

It’s Show Time

Like my three-year-old nephew said at a college football game, “It’s game day, baby!”. Relax, enjoy the race. There’s nothing more you can do other than execute your race plan. All the training is behind you.

This is from the author of Distance Cycling. It’s published with permission of Human Kinetics


“All your hard work in training and preparation is done. Now relax, take it all in, and have fun. For a successful ride pay attention to these key things:

Pace yourself When the gun goes off, some riders go out fast. Unless you’re going for a personal best, avoid getting caught up with them. Choose your groups wisely and pace yourself. In the excitement of the start, you may go faster than you should, so take it easy for the first 30 minutes. Remember that the group riding your pace is often behind you! If you are using a heart rate monitor, keep in mind that your heart rate may be elevated compared with what you experience on training rides, so you may be better off using perceived exertion as a guide. With a power meter current wattage fluctuates a lot. Try to keep it in the same range as you do during your long training rides.

Check your cue sheet Put one copy of the cue sheet in a map holder on your handlebar, carry it in your jersey pocket, or tuck it up one leg of your shorts for quick reference. Stow the other copy in another location. Some organizers paint arrows on the pavement to show the turns, but if other rides have been routed through the same area, determining which arrows to follow can be difficult. Don’t assume that other riders are following the course correctly; double-check each turn yourself.

Ride with a group Riding with a group increases the fun; however, pay attention to your ride even during a fun conversation. Even if you aren’t the first rider, look down the road for potential problems and point them out to your group. Ride smoothly in a straight line and signal or call out before you move or change speed. Don’t overlap front and rear wheels.

Ride in a pace line If it’s windy or the pace is above 15 miles per hour (24 km/h), you can save a lot of energy by riding in an organized pace line. Remember the protocol: Ride at a pace everyone can sustain, take short pulls, look carefully for traffic before you drop to the back, drop to the traffic side of the line if a crosswind isn’t blowing, and drop to the windward side if it is. Be cautious when riding in a pace line with unfamiliar riders who may not know the protocol.

Eat and drink The first hour goes by quickly. Start eating in the first hour. Depending on your body size we recommend consuming a mix of carbohydrate totaling 60 to 90 grams, or 240 to 360 calories, plus a little protein and fat, during each hour of riding and drinking to satisfy your thirst. Nibbling on a variety of carbohydrate during each hour will work better than eating one thing on the hour. Use your experience from the weekly long rides to guide you;what worked on them will work on the century. If you might forget to eat or drink, set your watch to remind you.

Take advantage of rest stops Rolling into an aid station during your ride feels great. Take advantage of what they offer but use them wisely. View them not as places to rest but as resupply stations. If you have tight muscles, stretches using your bike will loosen you up (see figures 7.2 through 7.4).

When you arrive at a rest stop, park your bike carefully to avoid thorns and other potentially hazardous debris. Before leaving do a quick bike check: Are your tires hard? Are they clean? Are your brakes working?

Enjoy the company of others but avoid lingering so long that you get stiff. Use the restroom, fill your bottles and pockets, and get back on the road. Before you leave, thank the volunteers because without them rides like this could not exist. When reentering the road watch for cars and other bikes and ease back into your pace as you did at the start.

Mentally manage the ride During your century, problems may occur. Don’t panic—almost anything can be solved. Take a deep breath, relax, and diagnose the problem. Is the problem with the bike? Riding with a soft tire or a rubbing brake can be a drag—literally. Are you getting repeated flats? Make sure that nothing is embedded in the tire or protruding from the rim strip. If you are down mentally, have you forgotten to eat or drink? If your legs are tired, did you go out too hard? Mentally review your three basic scenarios. If you have forgotten to eat, don’t try to make up the calories immediately because doing so may give you digestive problems. Instead, just get back on schedule. If you have gone out too fast and your legs are trashed, slow down for a while, regroup, and adjust your expectations. Your energy level and emotions will fluctuate during the ride. You may find that after slowing down for a while your energy will return. Above all, whatever happens, remember that this is your ride. You still can have fun and finish.

Enjoy the experience Whether this is your first or hundredth century, enjoy it. Get your head away from your electronics and look around you. Discover the beautiful scenery right in front of you. Chat with other riders who come and go. You may find new riding partners who become lifelong friends. Carry a small camera in your seat pack or jersey pocket, take lots of photos, and offer to share them with others. By relaxing and putting the fun factor ahead of your performance, you’ll have fond memories for years to come.”

Five reasons athletes should stretch

This is from the author of Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy. It’s published with permission of Human Kinetics.

Athletes spend hours training to hone their skills, but few consider stretching a vital component to their athletic performance. According to popular author Frédéric Delavier, stretching has the ability to increase performance levels and should be included in every athlete’s training regimen. In his upcoming book, Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy (Human Kinetics, October 2011), Delavier discusses the top five reasons every athlete should stretch.

Maintain or increase range of motion. Repetitive athletic movements can reduce range of motion by tightening the muscles and tendons. “A certain tension is required, especially in strength sports, but too much tension and a decreased range of motion can ultimately lead to injury and reduced performance,” Delavier explains. “Stretching regularly can prevent this problem.” In certain fields, like swimming or gymnastics, stretching must be done regularly to increase the range of motion in a joint when that range is synonymous with increased performance.

Increase muscle tone. Stretching is a powerful signal to strengthen muscles. “Using the muscle’s passive resistance strength, stretching accelerates the speed at which the proteins that compose the muscle fibers are synthesized,” says Delavier. “Your body gains muscle tone, strength, and resilience this way.”

  • Warm up before working out. Stretching warms up the muscles, tendons, and joints, which prepares the body for physical exertion.
  • Relieve stress. “Thanks to its euphoric oxygenating effects, stretching minimizes stress that can paralyze muscles, which is especially beneficial before a competition,” Delavier says.
  • Relax, recuperate, and prevent injuries. Most muscular efforts compress various joints as well as the spine. “Stretching decompresses your back as well as your joints,” Delavier says. “This prevents injuries while accelerating recovery of the joints, tendons, and muscles.”

    Although flexibility is important for an athlete, Delavier advises finding a balance between muscle tension and flexibility. The muscle must be flexible enough to have a slightly greater range of motion to prevent injuries and aid movement, but not so flexible as to diminish performance by becoming like a rag doll whose joints move around easily. “Stretching has the ability to increase or diminish performance levels,” Delavier adds. “So we must be careful to use stretching properly.” Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy offers stretches for releasing tension, increasing flexibility, and creating an overall sense of well-being.

  • Understand the Training Principles

    Daniels’ Running Formula, now in its second edition, is still one of the best books on running available. It contains five running plans, each can be customized for you. From 800M to a marathon, you can not go wrong with this book. It’s also available as an ebook.

    The following is an excerpt from Daniels’ Running Formula. It’s published with permission of Human Kinetics.

    Click here to view the pdf, “Understand the Training Principles”.

    Learn the advantages of nutrient timing

    This is an excerpt from Nutrient Timing for Peak Performance. It’s published with permission of Human Kinetics.

    What Are the Benefits of Nutrient Timing?
    There are several benefits of nutrient timing. These involve maximizing your body’s response to exercise and use of nutrients. The Nutrient Timing Principles (NTP) help you do the following:

    • Optimize fuel use so that you remain energized throughout your training

    • Ensure that you repair and strengthen your muscles to the best of your genetic potential
    • Ingest sufficient nutrients to keep you healthy and able to fight off infection, limiting the suppression of the immune system often experienced with intense training
    • Recover from your training so that you are ready for your next practice, event, or training session with well-fueled muscles

    Energy
    When sports nutritionists talk about energy, we are referring to the potential energy food contains. Calories are potential energy to be used by muscles, tissues, and organs to fuel the task at hand. Much of the food we eat is not burned immediately for energy the minute it’s consumed. Rather, our bodies digest, absorb, and prepare it so that it can give us the kind of energy we need, when we need it. We transform this potential energy differently for different tasks. How we convert potential energy into usable energy is based on what needs to get done and how well prepared our bodies are; how we fuel endurance work is different from how we fuel a short, intense run. It is helpful to understand that you must get the food off your plate and into the right places in your body at the right time.

    Clients consistently ask us, “What can I eat to give me energy?” For you, “energy” may have different meanings, depending on what you’re referring to and how you’re feeling. If you’re talking about vitality, liveliness, get-up-and-go, then a number of things effect this: amount of sleep, hydration, medical conditions, medications, attitude, type of foods eaten, conditioning and appropriate rest days, and timing of meals and snacks. Food will help a lack of energy only if the problem is food related. You may think that’s obvious, but it’s not to some. If you’re tired because you haven’t slept enough, for instance, eating isn’t going to give you energy. However, if your lack of energy is because you’ve eaten too little, your foods don’t have “staying power,” you go for too long without eating, or you don’t time your meals and snacks ideally around practice or conditioning, then being strategic with food intake can help you feel more energetic. What, how much, and when you eat will affect your energy.

    Nutrient timing combined with appropriate training maximizes the availability of the energy source you need to get the job done, helps ensure that you have fuel ready and available when you need it, and improves your energy-burning systems. You may believe that just eating when you are hungry is enough, and in some cases this may be true. But, many times, demands on time interfere with fueling or refueling, and it takes conscious thought and action to make it happen. Additionally, appetites are thrown off by training, so you may not be hungry right after practice, but by not eating, you are starving while sitting at your desk in class or at work. Many athletes just don’t know when and what to eat to optimize their energy stores.

    By creating and following your own Nutrition Blueprint and incorporating the NTP, your energy and hunger will be more manageable and consistent, whether you are training several times a week, daily, participating in two-a-days, or are in the midst of the competitive season.


    Recovery

    During the minutes and hours after exercise, your muscles are recovering from the work you just performed. The energy used and damage that occurred during exercise needs to be restored and repaired so that you are able to function at a high level at your next workout. Some of this damage is actually necessary to signal repair and growth, and it is this repair and growth that results in gained strength. However, some of the damage is purely negative and needs to be minimized or it will eventually impair health and performance. Providing the right nutrients, in the right amounts, at the right time can minimize this damage and restore energy in time for the next training session or competition.

    The enzymes and hormones that help move nutrients into your muscles are most active right after exercise. Providing the appropriate nutrients at this crucial time helps to start the repair process. However, this is only one of the crucial times to help repair. Because of limitations in digestion, some nutrients, such as protein, need to be taken over time rather than only right after training, so ingesting protein throughout the day at regular intervals is a much better strategy for the body than ingesting a lot at one meal. Additionally, stored carbohydrate energy (glycogen and glucose) and lost fluids may take time to replace.

    By replacing fuel that was burned and providing nutrients to muscle tissue, you can ensure that your body will repair muscle fibers and restore your energy reserves. If you train hard on a daily basis or train more than once a day, good recovery nutrition is absolutely vital so that your muscles are well stocked with energy. Most people think of recovery as the time right after exercise, which is partially correct, but how much you take in at subsequent intervals over 24 hours will ultimately determine your body’s readiness to train or compete again.

    Muscle Breakdown and Muscle Building

    Nutrient timing capitalizes on minimizing muscle tissue breakdown that occurs during and after training and maximizing the muscle repair and building process that occurs afterwards. Carbohydrate stored in muscles fuels weight training and protects against excessive tissue breakdown and soreness. Following training, during recovery, carbohydrate helps initiate hormonal changes that assist muscle building. Consuming protein and carbohydrate after training has been shown to help hypertrophy (adding size to your muscle). The proper amount and mix of nutrients taken at specific times enables your body to utilize them most efficiently—that’s one of the Nutrient Timing Principles.

    Immunity

    Nutrient timing can have a significant impact on immunity for athletes. Strenuous bouts of prolonged exercise have been shown to decrease immune function in athletes. Furthermore, it has been shown that exercising when muscles are depleted or low in carbohydrate stores (glycogen) diminishes the blood levels of many immune cells, allowing for invasion of viruses. In addition, exercising in a carbohydrate-depleted state causes a rise in stress hormones and other inflammatory molecules. The muscles, in need of fuel, also may compete with the immune system for amino acids. When carbohydrate is taken, particularly during longer-duration endurance training (two to three hours), the drop in immune cells is lessened, and the stress hormone and inflammatory markers are suppressed. Carbohydrate intake frees amino acids, allowing their use by the immune system. Carbohydrate intake during endurance training helps preserve immune function and prevent inflammation.

    Certain vitamins and minerals also play a role in immunity: iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, B6, and B12. However, excess intake of iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E can have the opposite effect and in some cases impair the body’s adaptation to training. An eating plan incorporating all of these nutrients in reasonable quantities, such as amounts found in food, can help athletes maintain immunity. The quality of the foods selected is very important and needs to be just as much of a priority as the focus on carbohydrate or protein, for example. For instance, eating a bagel for the carbohydrate but also including an orange for the vitamin C is important; drinking a protein shake can be helpful at the right time, but including some lean steak or shellfish for the iron and zinc is also essential.

    Injury Prevention
    Did you know that dehydration and low blood sugar can actually increase your risk of injury? Avoiding injury due to poor nutrition is absolutely within your control. Inadequate hydration results in fatigue and lack of concentration. Low blood sugar results in inadequate fueling to the brain and central nervous system. This leads to poor reaction time and slowness. Poor coordination as a result can lead to missteps, inattention, and injury.

    Additionally, chronic energy drain (taking in fewer calories and nutrients than needed) will increase your risk of overuse injuries over time. Stress fractures are one example; poor tissue integrity can happen when athletes think solely about calories taken in but not the quality of the calories consumed. This is what is behind the phrase “overfed but undernourished.” Eating lots of nutrient-poor foods will not provide your body with the building blocks for healthy tissues and overall repair. Inadequate protein will also hinder the rebuilding of damaged muscles during training. If muscles are not completely repaired, they will not be as strong as they could be and will not function optimally. The damaged muscle fibers can lead to soft-tissue injuries. Both protein and carbohydrate along with certain nutrients are needed to help with this repair. For instance, gummy bears may provide carbohydrate, but they don’t contain any vitamin E, which is helpful in repairing soft-tissue damage that occurs daily during training. Therefore, the goal is both an appropriate quantity and an appropriate quality in food selection.

    “Toy syndrome” affects cyclists

    This is an excerpt from Mastering Cycling. It’s published with permission of Human Kinetics.

    “Most cyclists learned to ride bikes as children and haven’t revisited the basic skills of bicycling as adults. “There appears to be a notion among many cyclists that an activity they learned as children requires no further instruction,” says John Howard, three-time Olympian and 18-time national masters cycling champion. “This ‘toy syndrome’ continues to affect cycling.”

    Howard stresses the importance of cyclists’ developing more power, comfort, and safety for riding on the streets in traffic, negotiating turns and terrain, and dealing with road hazards, including other cyclists. “Equipment has evolved, speeds have increased, and the rigors of competition have tightened, but the basic techniques aren’t being taught to masters cyclists,” Howard says. In his upcoming book, Mastering Cycling (Human Kinetics, July 2010), Howard addresses the top technical skills that are essential for every cyclist.

    Climbing in the saddle
    Fast, efficient climbing requires cyclists to recognize the precise moment when action is needed and to know what action to take. “Delaying the decision too long will result in the loss of both speed and momentum,” Howard says. Gear selection and shifting sequence depend on the cyclist’s available power, fitness level, and pitch of the climb. The length of the climb also dictates the approach. “If you are starting to climb a long, gradual hill, use a gear that is comfortable and lets you maintain an rpm of about 90,” Howard explains. “When your cadence begins to slow down, downshift to an easier gear. If you are going to stand on the pedals, you may want to shift up to a higher gear so that you don’t waste energy spinning.”

    Climbing out of the saddle
    When climbing out of the saddle, the goal is to maintain a consistent heart rate and increase forward momentum. “Gravity will win the battle if you surge on the pedals, pull and push your upper body forward or backward, or worse, pull your upper body up and down, disengaging the important core muscles,” Howard says. “The primary force in moving the bicycle forward is generated at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions of the cranks.” A common mistake among less-experienced riders is mistiming the thrust of the cranks. Power is dissipated at the top and bottom of the stroke, which is essentially a dead zone when out of the saddle.

    Cornering
    Cornering requires the ability to quickly judge the elements of a turn, including sloping, curvature, traction, and other factors that limit speed. A bicycle cannot be steered around a curve but must be leaned into the turn. “A cyclist must estimate how much lean is needed to counteract the physical forces that want to project the cyclist and the bicycle in a straight line,” Howard says. “The amount of lean depends on the speed traveled into the turn, the tightness of the turn, and the degree and direction of the road bank.”

    Braking
    Two approaches to braking exist. One stops the bike quickly to avoid a collision or other hazard, and the other consists of feathering the brakes to slow or stop forward progress. Feathering is the practice of applying light, even pressure on the front and rear brakes and is used in most circumstances. The hot stop should be used when there is no choice but to stop. When hitting the breaks, cyclists should slip to the rear of the saddle to adjust the center of gravity. “The action is accompanied by an approximate bias of two-thirds on the front brake and one-third on the rear brake,” Howard explains. “Cyclists will have very little time to slip back in the saddle and apply the front brakes. When it is done properly, the bike can stop in half the distance that it would normally take.”

    Shifting
    Maintaining a smooth speed with an efficient cadence prevents overtaxing the muscles and cardiorespiratory system. “Whether you are a competitive or a recreational cyclist, your cadence needs to be as comfortable and smooth as possible, never jerky,” Howard says. He advises shifting one gear at a time and avoiding big gear jumps between ranges. “Cyclists should listen to their bikes and avoid crossing the chain over radical angles, such as the big chain ring and the larger cog in the rear. This will save wear and tear on the drive train and the knees,” Howard adds.”

    Laid up with an injury?

    Here are some thing you might be able to do after checking with your P.T. or Doctor.

    One is “Swim Running”. Read this previous post here.

    Another is Nordic Walking – walking with poles. Here are, “Thirteen reasons to take up Nordic Walking”. This is an excerpt from Nordic Walking for Total Fitness. It’s published with permission of Human Kinetics.

    “Poles aren’t just for skiing anymore. Nordic walking offers fitness enthusiasts a unique workout that combines fun physical activity and maximum health benefits. According to Malin Svensson, author of Nordic Walking (Human Kinetics, May 2009), walking with poles offers a low-impact exercise that increases the heart rate as much as running does.

    Studies have shown that Nordic walking burns more calories than regular walking. Research done by the Cooper Institute proves Nordic walking burns an average of 20 percent more calories than walking without poles. Some people tested also increased as much as 46 percent in oxygen consumption and caloric expenditure.

    Similar to an elliptical trainer, Nordic walking uses both the upper and lower halves of the body, but Svensson says Nordic walking offers more upper-body benefits. “The elliptical machine uses bent arms and mainly works muscles crossing the shoulder joint, such as the chest and the back muscles,” she explains. “But Nordic poles allow you to also straighten the elbow behind you, shaping your triceps.” Nordic poles are measured according to a walker’s height, as opposed to the elliptical machine, which is one size fits all, Svensson adds.

    In Nordic Walking, Svensson offers skills for maintaining an injury-free experience and ensuring that participants gain some of these benefits of the sport:

    1. Burn more calories (20 to 46 percent).
    2. Increase aerobic capacity even at a slow speed.
    3. Increase upper-body strength.
    4. Increase heart rate (5 to 30 beats per minute).
    5. Take pressure off the joints.
    6. Decrease neck and shoulder pain.
    7. Increase upper-body mobility.
    8. Increase functional capacity.
    9. Feel less effort, even though the body works harder.
    10. Improve balance and stability, making it safe to walk.
    11. Improve gait and coordination.
    12. Improve core musculature and posture.
    13. Create a meditative and calming effect.