What are the differences between Nordic walking poles and hiking poles?

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Nordic walking is a sport that necessarily requires 2 special poles whereas when hiking poles help you by providing support during climbs and prevent you from slipping during descents: the movement of the poles also varies depending on the sport. So it is necessary to use the specialised poles, because they do not all meet the same needs. Let's see how they work.

A POLE FOR EACH TYPE OF USE...

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In Nordic walking, you walk on a flat surface, so your poles help propel you forwards and exercise your upper body. They are indispensable and specific to this complete sport: without Nordic walking poles, there is no Nordic walking.

In hiking you walk on ground with a steep gradient or hilly terrain so the movement of the poles is different: the hiking poles help you find support during climbs and prevent you from slipping during descents. They are not compulsory for practice but their use is highly recommended. 

...AND THE TUBE COMPOSITION OF THE POLE

In Nordic walking, when choosing their poles, walkers look at the percentage of carbon in the components.

The higher the percentage, the more the carbon will limit the impact of vibrations on the joints and arms; and provide lightness and dynamism. 

 

In hiking, hikers look after durability because the poles are there to make the practise easier and reduce the risk of falls and injuries. The material that best meets their needs is aluminium. 

"GAUNTLET WRIST STRAPS": SPECIFIC TO NORDIC WALKING POLES

In Nordic walking :

The poles have wrist straps with thumb loops (also known as gauntlets) that allow you to open your hand fully during propulsion, the main movement in Nordic walking, which must be smooth and regular. 

Hiking poles have a single wrist-strap that is slipped over the wrist, because you never release your poles when walking. 

SINGLE-PIECE VS TELESCOPIC POLES

For Nordic walking, we recommend giving preference to single-piece poles (made of a single tube) that avoid vibrations while you are walking and protect your joints.

For hiking, telescopic poles / multi-piece poles are recommended in order to adapt them to the type of terrain and store them comfortably in your backpack.

Nordic walking poles thus meet all the specific needs of this complete sport that is good for your health. When you buy your Nordic walking poles, you will see that they are always sold in pairs, unlike hiking poles, which are sold individually, because just one hiking pole may be enough to remain stable when walking. 

In conclusion, please refer to this table before choosing your poles :

  NORDIC WALKING HIKING
ROLES

Aid for propulsion

Work the upper body

Provide support when walking uphill

Prevent slipping when walking downhill

TUBE COMPOSITION Prefer carbon Aluminium
WRIST STRAPS Gauntlets for easier movement for Nordic walking Single strap
SINGLE-PIECE TUBES VS TELESCOPIC TUBES Prefer single-piece tubes Prefer telescopic tubes

Feel like taking up Nordic walking? Discover all the benefits of Nordic walking !

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All the benefits
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All physical activity, practised regularly, brings positive benefits for your health and physical fitness. But all sports are different, and so are their health benefits. Nordic walking is good for the body, heart and mind !

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