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      Walking into the record books

      Todd VanDyke hasnâ??t been exercising with Nordic walking sticks for very long but said he immediately saw the benefits the first time he tried it.

      â??When Iâ??ve walked in the past, my back will give me problems,â?? explained VanDyke. â??I apparently was hunched over forward when I was walking, and I was looking down at the ground. Iâ??ve found that when I use the Nordic walking sticks, they straightened out my posture, my back feels great after Iâ??ve walked with it, and it helps me walk more.â??

      VanDyke says it took him "all of two minutes" to learn the proper technique and has been using them ever since.

      Itâ??s an exercise invented in Finland, and with FinnFest coming up, it seems only natural to make an event out of it.

      â??One thing the Copper Countryâ??s really know for is how we pride ourselves on coming together, and what better reason to come together than to welcome people to FinnFest and set a world record,â?? said FinnFest board member, David Maki.

      The two-mile, world-record-setting walk will take place the Saturday of FinnFest as a stroll through Hancock and Houghton, headed up by two Biggest Loser contestants.

      After FinnFest is over, the benefits continue.

      â??I work a lot of hours, I sit at my office all day, I need to lose a whole bunch of weight, and this gets me up and moving, and I enjoy it more than just plain walking,â?? VanDyke said. â??If I enjoy it more and appreciate more, Iâ??ll keep at it better.â??

      If youâ??ve never tried Nordic walking or donâ??t know much about it, it has long-term health benefits. It helps improve your posture and your cardiovascular health.

      â??Iâ??m seeing things that Iâ??ve never seen before on my normal walking routes because I was looking down at the ground in front of me,â?? VanDyke added.

      For those who are interested in participating but donâ??t have poles, they can be purchased at the Finnish American Heritage Center or rented the day of the event at FinnFest.