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History of WalkAbout Active

Walkabout Active “Total Body Walking” is the Fusion of Exerstrider Strapless Method and Nordic Walking or Pole Walking Strap Method where we educate encourage and empower you to select the best method that suits your specific needs to walk with poles so it converts your ordinary walking into an extraordinary effective Total Body Walking Solution that utilises “F.I.R.C” Functional Integrated Resistance & Cardio conditioning which totally tones and tunes your body with every step or stride you take.

At WalkAbout Active, we are Totally inclusive to all styles and techniques. You may wish to use the Exerstrider Strapless Method of walking with poles or the Nordic Walking Strap Method we leave that choice up to you. We believe there are many flavours of walking with poles to choose from hence why we embrace & encourage all methods of walking with poles. It’s not about which technique is the best, our focus at WalkAbout Active is what is safe, or not safe, and is a functional friendly effective technique for your specific needs. So, we show you a variety of methods of walking with poles and leave the final decision of flavour choice of the pole equipment and method up to you…

History of Walking with Poles

Way back in biblical time it has been shown that the Walking Staf or pole or even walking sticks have been utilised by nomadic herdsmen with walking to make it more functional & easier just by utilising a simple piece of equipment as poles; so this is certainly not something new. Then came the use of poles or sticks in bush hiking and snow skiing which have been used for many many years now.

Modern Era of Walking with Poles

Whether you call it Exerstrider, Nordic walking, pole-walking or hiking/trekking with poles. On first appearance, they are similar in that they all involve walking with poles and to most people they probably all look the same, but there are significant differences.

Exerstrider “Strapless Method”

The Exerstrider Strapless Method of walking with poles was the first original version in the modern era and is particularly a natural action, user friendly functional and effective way of walking with poles. Let’s begin with historical perspective. Tom Rutlin created the concept “Exerstriding” around 1985 and is known as the “Father” of walking with poles. He first discovered how one could use poles and simple techniques to simultaneously exercise every major muscle in his body while. walking

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In 1988 he began to promote Exerstrider, the first ever original version of walking with poles for the purpose of building total body health & fitness. By the early 90’s, his new total body exercise method had been written up in magazines in both the U.S. and Europe, Exerstrider’s main technique feature is one’s natural comfortable walking stride and no matter how one uses walking poles, they will somewhat enhance the fitness benefits of walking. Tom’s easy-to-learn, natural “Exerstrider” techniques have proven that they maximize both the safety and Health & fitness benefits of using walking poles. Tom’s “Total Body Walking” techniques result in a maximum amount of body muscle mass being put to “good use” (rather than abuse in other types of exercise) and feature biomechanics designed to promote maximum improvement in overall physical function of your body. Thousands have already experienced that there really are significant, results-enhancing differences between Exerstriding and other ways of walking with poles, we encourage you to experience it for yourself.

Since Tom has been promoting Exerstrider as the original “total body walking” exercise form since 1988, lots of other ski pole and trekking pole manufacturers have come to recognize a good idea and have entered the fitness walking pole market. Tom as the modern-day pioneer of this great physical activity should be proud of his once-lonely crusade to get modern day walkers to begin to use poles to turn their favorite activity into a total body walking activity which has resulted in the worldwide growth of this entirely new total body walking concept.

Nordic Walking/Pole Walking “Strap Method”

For decades in the 1900s, athletes in Finland had been training for winter cross-country skiing by walking in the summers with just the ski poles (they called it “ski-walking.”) In 1966, a woman named Leena Jääskeläinen , a gym teacher in, Helsinki, Finland, started using “walking with ski poles” in physical education sessions for students. Later, as a member of the Physical Education Faculty at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, she continued promoting exercising with poles. In 1987, she presented her ideas of exercise walking with poles for the first time at the Finlandia Walk (“Finlandia kävely”) in Tampere, Finland.

In April 1997 Marko Kantaneva (known as the Son of walking with Poles) through his studies and research at a Finnish Sports Institute was one of the main instigators to develop this modern form of walking with specially designed poles with straps for health & fitness benefits.

In the same year of 1997 Marko was approached by Exel, a Finnish ski pole manufacturer, to play a major role in working for the company and establishing the International Nordic Walking Association Education to allow them to take this new form of walking with specially designed walking poles with straps to the Finnish public than in future years around the world.

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The Nordic walking Strap Method is a hybrid of walking and cross-country skiing which utilizes a push off propelling forward body action with the poles whilst walking that lengthens your normal stride enhancing one’s speed & fitness levels. In addition to the introduction of Exel’s Nordic Walker brand, German trekking pole manufacturer Leki (“Lay-kee”) has introduced a line of Nordic walking poles, and several other European and dozens of Chinese pole manufacturers have now offered up their own models of fitness walking poles. Nordic walking has become the most commonly used generic term for fitness walking with poles with straps throughout Europe.

Whilst Exel/ INWA through assistance with Marko Kantaneva decided to market & brand the concept as Nordic Walking to the rest of the world, unfortunately the terminology of Nordic Walking was not totally understood nor culturally accepted outside of Europe by other western English speaking countries so some organizations in these western countries took the Finnish terminology of “Sauvakävely” for the activity and translated it back to English terminology hence the use of “Pole Walking” returned to market in 2002 as another way to describe fitness walking with poles with straps.

Trekking/Hiking “Strap or Strapless Method”

Trekking and Hiking poles have been around for many years. While trekking actually means: “making a long arduous journey” it has come to be just another term for hiking. And trekking poles have been used by hikers and back-country adventurers in their outdoor pursuits for many years to make long hikes less arduous, provide stability and alleviate pressure on the knees and other joints. What many people refer to as trekking poles can range from a stick or branch you find in the woods to pairs of lightweight hi-tech telescoping poles with ski pole-like grips, snow baskets and metal tips.

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