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Not Just for Elite Skiers, Pole Walking Makes Strides as Fitness Activity

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Copyright 2013 The Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Palm Beach Post (Florida)
November 4, 2013 Monday
FINAL EDITION
LOCAL; Pg. 3B
388 words
North Palm Beach walking group touts benefits of poles;
It credits exercise for weight loss, recovery from surgery; club expects to grow.
By Jodie Wagner Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

A snow-free import from Finland, Nordic pole walking is growing in popularity among fitness enthusiasts in northern Palm Beach County.

Designed originally for elite cross-country skiers to stay in shape during the offseason, pole walking is a low-impact form of exercise that involves walking with a pair of customized ski poles.

The poles are shortened and have removable rubber stoppers on tips so they can be used on any kind of surface.

"You can use them on the beach," said Jim McDonald, an avid pole walker who founded a club, Nordixx Pole Walking of Palm Beach, six months ago. "They're very good for beach walking. You can use them on any surface. The poles are fully adaptive. They're better than a treadmill."

McDonald, 86, a North Palm Beach resident, started pole walking after having hip surgery and credits the exercise with helping him recover more quickly.

Pole walking provides a full body workout, using about 90 percent of the major muscles, said Nancy Culver, a North Palm Beach reflexologist and fitness instructor who is certified in pole walking.

The exercise also aligns the spine, helps with weight loss and reduces back, shoulder and neck pain, she added.

"There have been so many medical studies done on poles," said Culver, who advises Nordixx club members during their workouts. "That's what's key. There are tons of medical studies about helping blood pressure and diabetic insufficiency."

"It's very healthy," added Dave Taverna, a personal trainer who also advises the club.

"People who don't like to walk can do it. It's a good way to gain upper body strength and exercise."

Nordixx club members meet regularly at Lakeside Park in North Palm Beach, walking along a dirt path with their customized poles.

Some bring family members to workouts, others their dogs.

The club has about 25 members and is expected to grow this winter, McDonald said.

"Tens of thousands of people use these poles on a daily basis," he said. "They've been promoted for all the health benefits. They take weight off your hips and knees. The Mayo Clinic is very instrumental in poles because they're very good for you."

Nordixx Pole Walking of Palm Beach will host a free pole walking orientation session at 10 a.m. Saturday at Anchorage Park, 603 Anchorage Drive.

To reserve a spot, call 561-841-3386.

jwagner@pbpost.com Twitter: @JRWagner5

November 4, 2013

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