Do you use walking poles or have you seen other people using them and perhaps you are curious if they might be a good option for you?
Urban poling, also called Nordic walking is increasing in popularity in North America as more people discover the many health benefits that using them have:
- Engages 75% of your muscles
- Burns 20% more calories than walking without poles
- Activates your core muscles as you push off with your poles
- Strengthens and tones your arms and shoulders
- Promotes upright walking posture
- Assists with balance so you are able to walk faster without worrying about losing your balanceReduces stress on your hip and knee joints
There are two walking pole techniques, depending on your needs:
- Urban poling/Nordic walking for fitness uses poles with smaller tips on the ends and involves keeping your arms straight and making large, pendulum-like arm swings with your arms and planting the poles on the ground behind you. This technique is used by people looking to increase the intensity of their walking.
- Activator/rehab poling uses poles that are specially designed to increase stability and reduce the pressure on your back and leg joints. When using these poles your arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle and the poles are planted in front of your body to give you more support. This technique is ideal if you are recovering from knee or hip replacement surgery, have arthritis, or have a condition that affects your balance.
Using walking poles as a substitute for a walker or cane helps to keep you more upright and allows you to use a more functional walking pattern.
There are some great videos on how to correctly use the different walking poles at this site: www.urbanpoling.com.
If you are interested in learning more about using walking poles, you can ask your Physiotherapist if they think that adding walking poles to your exercise routine might be a good idea for you.
P.S. Let us know how you’re doing with your walking or if you have any other tips or tricks to share, we would love to hear from you!