We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Exerstriding?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Exerstriding is a form of fitness walking in which participants use poles to push themselves along as they walk, thereby working the upper body in addition to the lower body. When practiced on a regular basis, Exerstriding can help to increase upper body strength and general stamina, and it also burns more calories than regular walking. Because this form of fitness walking is very easy and gentle, people of all level of ability can do it, including the elderly.

Fitness walking which includes poles is known as Nordic walking. Nordic walking has very old roots. Many members of competitive ski teams have been training in the off season with poles since the 1960s and 1970s, and over time, casual athletes began picking up the concept as well. In 1985, Tom Rutlin coined the term “Exerstriding” and began promoting Nordic walking to the world. His efforts proved successful, and numerous companies produce specially designed poles for Nordic walking which are available at sporting supply stores.

Essentially, Exerstriding is like skiing, without the skis. It does not require the coordination and skills of skiing, and it is very easy to learn. Nordic walkers typically wear specially designed wrist straps, holding the poles lightly in their hands, and as they walk, they push off with the arm which is opposite to the leading leg. Over the course of the walk, thousands of gentle repetitions will work the upper body.

The best way to illustrate Exerstriding is to involve you in a brief physical exercise. Assuming that you are sitting at a desk, make your hands into fists and place them on the desk straight out in front of you with your thumbs facing up. Then, gently bear down on the desk, one fist at a time, alternating fists in a steady rhythm. As you do so, you should notice a number of muscle groups in your upper body working, and these same groups will be worked during an Exerstriding session.

The walking poles used in Exerstriding are important. Most people recommend that the poles be around 70% of the Exterstrider's body height, and it is best to use solid poles, rather than telescoping ones, because solid poles will provide more support. Many companies also make poles with tips which are specifically designed for trails, off-road use, and streets.

To Exerstride, grab your walking poles and go outside. Use the wrist strap to attach the poles to your hands at a comfortable angle, and start out with the poles behind you. Lead with whatever foot is comfortable, bringing the pole in the opposite hand forward as you step forward. Do not bring the pole in front of your feet: simply bring it alongside. Then, rock forward, pushing off with the pole so that it ends up behind you. Repeat the process with your other foot, and get a consistent rhythm going, just like a skier. You may want to limit your walks the first few times out, as you will be working unfamiliar muscle groups.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.