Walking outside the lines

One of the best ways to enhance your Nordic walk is to get off the cement and asphalt and onto a soft trail.  Just like coloring outside the lines it’s refreshing for both your body and your mind.  I’m not suggesting a hiking trail in the mountains but a walking path that is wide enough and comfortable for you to maintain your gait and cadence while walking. Remember you’ll need to extend your poles about 2 cm.

There are multiple physical benefits to walking outside the lines.  Soft ground offers less impact with each step so it’s easier on your lower joints and back.  Finding balance on uneven ground burns more calories than walking on smooth hard surfaces.  Trails will often provide a wider variety of contour, offering hills both up and down to raise your heart rate.  Taking off the rubber tips will connect your poles deep with the ground creating more resistance and a better upper body workout.

Even more important is what happens with your brain while walking on soft trails through natural area.  Studies show that a walk outdoors among trees and grass is actually good for your brain.  It will relax you, open up creative pathways, and let you escape from the pressures and stresses of everyday life for a short time.  Think of day dreaming while you’re walking and enjoy the wanderings in your brain.

Look for walking trails in parks, around lakes or through meadows.  Cross country ski trails nearby may be mowed for summer walking.  You may have to drive out of your neighborhood but it will be worth it.

Go ahead, take off those rubber tips and go for a walk outside the lines!

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