Nordic walking is one of the most effective weight loss and management tools.
I first heard the term “Nordic walking” through my Weight Watchers for Men™ Activity Points Activity Tracker®. Weight Watchers makes exercise an integral part of their approach to life. You earn Activity Points through various activities, clock them in with the Tracker, then trade ’em in for bonus food or drink.1
But not all forms of activity earn you the same amount of moola here. Notice the screen cap above of the Activity Tracker, comparing 40 minutes of three different exercise. Even without you knowing what these points are exactly, you can see that 8 is a more interesting number than 2 for the same amount of time.
I was doing brisk walking for which I’d earn a solid 1 point for every 10 minutes — 40 minutes got me 4 points, which I thought was okay.2 When my weight dipped below 200 pounds / 90 kg, that changed. 40 minutes only got me 3 points3. Rip off city; so that got me thinking.
What I wanted from my exercise was:
- No hours of wasted travel time each night to and from a fitness facility;
- No expensive monthly fees and ongoing costs;
- A more effective use of exercise time (i.e. earn more Activity points, and faster, with less time!)
Occasionally in my searching through the Weight Watchers Activity Tracker, Nordic walking, whatever the heck that was, would pop up. I finally played with it one evening as an entry and went, wow! holy efficient use of exercise time, Batman! Whereas my 40 minutes of brisk walking was getting me a measly 3 Activity Points, not even a full glass of wine (that costs 4 points), the same 40 minutes spent on brisk Nordic walking would get me 8 points.4 Greed, and dollar signs — or more accurately, activity points and glasses of wine — floated in front of my eyes. So, minor point — what in tarnation was Nordic walking anyway? So the Googling began to find out what the heck it was.
Any Norker knows how the story went from here.
A brief pause as the shock of the sheer “dork” factor hits you, and you have to ponder if you have enough courage to see this through. Which you either do or don’t. And then, onto figuring out where to buy poles, and then brief confusion as you try to get enough information to decide what type of Nordic walking poles you should get.
Nordic walking is now an integral part of my being a Weight Watchers for Men member. The carrot for me is that I can quickly earn an extra glass of wine, or a second pint of good craft beer, and enjoy it completely guilt-free knowing that I’m still well on track for my Points budget for that week. There’s of course also a boat load of health benefits from the norking — but it’s the bonus glass of wine (or three) on the weekends that’ll get me out for sure :}
Weight Watchers even encourages you to actually cash the Activity Points in for food or drink, rather than thinking that if you don’t you’ll lose weight faster — over the long run, you won’t, they’re right, so you might as well cash the suckers in for that margarita. Basically, your body needs treats and splurges so that it realizes it doesn’t have to go into starvation mode and conserve stored energy. ↩
Jogging earns Activity Points faster, but owing to a dodgy knee from a teenage injury that has come back to haunt me, I didn’t think it was a bright move to take it up again and subject that knee to the daily pounding. ↩
It’s because as you weigh less, it takes fewer calories to move that buttinsky of yours along. ↩
Nordic Walking gave double the Activity Points and there was no random “lost 10 minutes intervals” as happened with the brisk walking. It’s 2 points per 10 minutes, solid, for me at 78 kg / 172 lbs. Note that Weight Watchers calculates Activity Points for you based on your weight, height and age, so you’d have to see what you personally get. ↩