GET ACTIVE: Trail Trekking sessions encourage fitness and fun

A low impact activity with a long list of benefits, Nordic walking offers a cardio workout, calorie burning and camaraderie.

The Centerville-Washington Park District hosts self-guided meet-up Trail Trekking sessions throughout the year with the fall program getting underway Friday, Sept. 2 and running through mid-November. The program is open to participants who own their own poles as well as those who need to borrow a pair.

“The nice thing about a group like this is that – in addition to being a great workout – it’s a great way to meet people of similar interests,” said Carrie Dittman of the Centerville-Washington Park District. “And people get to explore so many different parks.”

The program has two sessions a week: Friday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The locations vary from week to week with the nine September meetups taking place at eight different parks in Centerville.

Tammi Eslinger has been a trail trekker for several years.

“I loved the program when I first started and, after a while, thought certainly I could volunteer,” Eslinger said.

Eslinger now helps lead walks and shares her passion for Nordic walking with newcomers.

Nordic walking basics

Originally designed as a summer training workout for cross-country skiers, Nordic walking utilizes specially designed walking poles to mimic the movement minus the snow.

“It might take a couple of times to figure out how to hold them and use them correctly, especially if you’re just starting out, but then it will start to feel natural,” Dittman said.

It wasn’t long after Eslinger tried Nordic walking before she purchased her own set of poles.

“It’s a different way of walking and enjoying the outdoors,” Eslinger said. “You’re working your core and your triceps as well as your legs.”

Trail Trekking participants typically range in age from 18 to 80.

“You can go at your own pace, walking as fast or slow as you want and working on different things,” Eslinger said.

And with a range of experience levels, rookie trekkers can benefit from the more experienced Nordic walkers.

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Nordic walking benefits

While traditional walking only engages about 50 percent of your muscles – primarily from the waist down – Nordic walking engages between 80-90 percent of your muscles providing a full-body workout and increased calorie burning.

The full-body cardio workout also helps improve posture and balance while strengthening the core.

Beyond the physical benefits, walking groups provide camaraderie and companionship. Regular outdoor fitness can also have a positive impact on stress levels and emotional well-being.

“It’s great exercise, but the thing I love most about it is that it’s fun,” Eslinger said.

Nordic walking for the health of it

(American Nordic Walking Association)

· Using Nordic walking poles can increase your heart rate on average 10-15 percent more than normal walking.

· Nordic walking can be up to 46 percent more efficient than normal walking.

· Nordic walkers can burn more than 400 calories per hour, compared to 280 on a regular walk.

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Trail Trekking through September

September 2 – (9:30-10:30 a.m.) Schoolhouse Park

September 6 – (6-7 p.m.) Oak Creek South Park

September 9 – (9:30-10:30 a.m.) Activity Center Park

September 13 – (6-7 p.m.) Forest Field Park

September 16 – (9:30-10:30 a.m.) Yankee Park

September 20 – (6-7 p.m.) Robert F. Mays Park

September 23 – (9:30-10:30 p.m.) Oak Grove Park

September 27 – (6-7 p.m.) Activity Center Park

September 30 – (9:30-10:30 a.m.) Holes Creek Park

* For a complete list of dates and parks, visit www.cwpd.org

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