I didn't read the Personal Journal section of yesterday's Wall Street Journal until the way home, so I almost missed this gem on Nordic Walking by "Aches & Claims" columnist Laura Johannes.
This is what happens when a good journalist reads too many feature pitches - she flips and writes a loving paean to the subject but at every opportunity slips in subtle jabs at its source. The result is a meta-take on the journalism-publicist relationship and perhaps the most sly parody of the genre I've ever seen in a serious newspaper.
While similar to hiking poles used for balance and stability on difficult trails, walking poles are mainly for use on easy trails or neighborhood streets, say the companies that sell the poles.
Kenneth Cooper, the 80-year-old founder of Cooper Aerobics Center Corp., a Dallas health-and-wellness company, says the poles are ideal for seniors with balance or stability issues.
The study, published in 2002 and funded by Finnish pole maker ESB Sports Oy, found some individuals had a calorie burn as much as 63% higher than they did walking at the same speed without poles—but that is the "extreme" only, says study author Timothy S. Church, now director of preventative medicine research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.
Exerstrider's Mr. Rutlin says the company's claim is based on the company's own unpublished research.
She takes us out of the moment a bit at the end by challenging some of the claims against her own experience and finding outside sources to dispute industry claims - but that's in paragrah 16 of a 17-paragraph story.
The story made me laugh out loud on the bus on the way home last night and is a welcome corrective to stories of this type.