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What's the Difference?

What's the difference between Exerstriding, Nordic walking, Urban poling, pole-walking and trekking?

First of all, they are similar in that they all involve walking with poles. Since the International Nordic Walking Association itself defined Nordic walking as "fitness walking with specifically designed poles," Exerstriding is simply the original and a particularly natural and effective form of Nordic walking. To most people they probably all look the same, but there are significant differences.

Let's begin with an historical perspective. I coined the term "Exerstriding" around 1985. That was when I first discovered how one could use poles and simple techniques to simultaneously exercise every major muscle in my body while striding.

Pole walking is a generic term that has been used (mostly by those who do not yet understand the differences between the various activities that combine walking and poles) to describe any form of walking with poles. Trekking and trekking 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.

Finally, Nordic walking is a term coined by Exel, a Finnish ski pole manufacturer, in 1997 for their version of fitness walking with poles. Nordic walking has become the most commonly used generic term for fitness walking with poles throughout Europe as a result of Exel's formation of "The International Nordic Walking Association" in 2000, and a growing network of their certified Nordic walking instructors.

In 1988 I began to promote Exerstriding, the original version of walking with poles for the purpose of building total body fitness. By the early 90's, my new total body exercise form and I had been written up in magazines in both the U.S. and Europe, and someone from Exel contacted me to ask how my efforts were going in promoting the use of poles by walkers as a year-round exercise form. They were of course very interested in the prospect of expanding their seasonal ski pole business, and in the prospect of year-round sales of slightly modified ski poles. I wasn't able to paint a very rosy picture of my one-man pole-walking crusade at the time, so apparently they simply chose to wait and see how my efforts went before making a plunge into the market. Finally, in 1997 they made their entry into the fitness walking pole marketplace with the introduction of the Nordic Walker (registered trademark) brand. In 2000, Exel won the top prize in a Finnish "new" product competition for "their" walking poles and an activity I had by then already been promoting in the U.S. for a dozen years!

In the more than twenty years that I've been promoting Exerstriding as a total body exercise form, lots of other former ski pole and trekking pole manufacturers have come to recognize a good idea and have entered the fitness walking pole market. I'm proud to say that my once-lonely crusade to get walkers to begin to use poles to turn their favorite activity into a total body exercise has resulted in the worldwide growth of this entirely new total body exercise form. 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. While the popularity of Exerstriding has grown very rapidly in this country (and in Canada through the efforts of our partners Urban Poling) in the last few years, the growth of fitness walking with poles has experienced positively explosive growth in Europe (especially in those cross-country ski loving Scandinavian countries)! My continued commitment to offering innovative and functional equipment which meets the most rigorous performance standards and provides customers with unmatched value is only part of what has kept Exerstrider poles the world's #1 fitness walking poles.

More than two decades after I began promoting Exerstride Method Nordic walking as an effective way to promote total body fitness, it is both still both my innovative techniques and equipment that set the standard in the rapidly expanding world of fitness walking poles and provide leadership for the entire walking pole movement.

No matter how one uses walking poles, they will somewhat enhance the fitness benefits of striding. But my easy-to-learn, natural "Exerstriding" techniques have proven that they maximize both the safety and fitness benefits of using walking poles. "Exerstriding" techniques result in a maximum amount of muscle mass being put to "good use" (rather than abuse) and feature biomechanics designed to promote maximum improvement in overall physical function. While some may insist that the differences between Exerstriding, Nordic walking and trekking are insignificant, any serious athlete knows that even subtle changes in body mechanics can significantly affect the results of any physical activity. Thousands have already experienced that there really are significant, results-enhancing differences between Exerstriding and other ways of walking with poles.

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From Our Customers

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From Our Customers

Your Exerstrider poles have allowed me to remain mobile and independent after a head injury that left me with a permanent balance disorder. My physical therapist recommended these poles, and I have used them for six years now. Have put over 4000 miles on them so it's time for new "tires" LOL. In the past...

Deborah
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From Our Customers

I love my Exerstrider walking poles. I mean... I LOVE THEM! I actually feel cheated now when I don't have time to Exerstride.  I'm thrilled with my decision to purchase your poles, and thank you for the TOP QUALITY!

Rosemary R, Florida
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From Our Customers

"Really looking forward to my new poles. They will be a great help as I rehab from a minor knee injury." I'll give you feedback in the near future!

Diane
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From Our Customers

We love using our poles ... they have totally transformed our bodies. We have more muscle definition, strength, stamina and endurance. We've already lost over 10 pounds each using them just over the last two months. Your simple invention has really made a difference in our lives.

Gail & Frank, New York
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From Our Customers

"I have experienced immediate results in relieving my leg and back from pain while exercising with my Exerstrider poles and I have fallen in love with walking again. I did 30+ miles last week and have had no pain. I have had my pair for approximately one month and feel the benefits of a walking program again." 

Charles F.
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From Our Customers

I noticed immediately how the sticks helped engage my hips in walking. I got a bit excited and started rambling on to the therapist...Long story short, my wife and kids ordered a set as a Christmas gift as they are a valuable tool in helping me to get around. 

Donald Grisham
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From Our Customers

Thank you, thank you, thank you for making exercise fun! I never though I'd actually enjoy exercise. Your strapless ergonomic grips really are awesome -- and so comfortable.

E. Young, Ohio
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From Our Customers

I love walking with my Exerstrider poles! You quickly get into a "stride" and makes regular walking kind of boring. One of the best purchases I ever made.

Sally S.
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From Our Customers

I've used Exerstriders off and on for years, and they continue to be the single best overall exercise for me at age 66. I'm on my second set of poles, with many tip replacements over the years. Some friends at work probably 20+ years ago told me about them, I looked at the video (VHS back then, I believe) that you provided to one of my friends and I decided to give them a...

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From Our Customers

I have a story regarding how I learned about your product. Please do not lose interest, as I do like to "tell the story" and enjoy detail. I was visiting my local library in late summer 2015. I met a younger woman in the library that had a pair of your walking poles. She reported a medical problem that interfered with her balance. She had researched...

Pamela Hill
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From Our Customers

I have two complaints since I got my poles. First, having now lost 14 pounds in just three months, my pants and belts are too large. Second, I made the mistake of letting my wife try out my poles and now I have to buy her a set. Your poles should come with appropriate warnings!

Lee Taylor
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From Our Customers

Thank you so much for your excellent product and superb customer service!

 

Brigitte

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From Our Customers

Hi! We've had our Exerstriders since early 2000. They are still my favorite exercise. I live in rural Wisconsin and people know me as "the pole guy" when they see me on the side of the road, someday I'll stop in to see you and the newer poles! They look nice. 

Elliott Pollasch
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From Our Customers

With diet and pole walking, lost 75 pounds in a rather short time. I'm now 70 and hiking with an occasional backpacking trip. Twelve years ago I gook a treadmill test and maxed it. The doctor finally just shut the machine off and said I blew off many 40 year olds. Recently finished a hike starting at 7,000 feet with an elevation gain of 1,800 feet in 2.5 miles. Thanks for...

Jim Park
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From Our Customers

Once I started using the poles, I could walk a lot longer immediately. I lost 34 pounds! It's the best money I've ever spent! Your DVD instructions were very complete and easy to follow. Thanks!

Marty A., Illinois
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From Our Customers

Exerstriding made my abs hard as a rock and my arms and legs have muscle definition that  I once thought you had to lift weights to get. Thanks for inventing the most efficient exercise ever!

Judy R., California
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From Our Customers

The reason I am taking the time to contact you is to let you know how much this type of walking has helped me as touted in the materials from Exerstrider Products.  I go 4 miles probably 5 to 6 days per week in a college field house in the winter and outside in the summer.  It is an excellent...

Truman Porter St Paul MN