Why Harvard Health is Praising the Benefits of Walking With Poles!

Walking is touted as “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug," writes Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a Harvard Health article. In it, he explains how walking reduces joint pain, decreases the desire to eat sweets, and counters genes promoting weight gain¾among other benefits.   

We can all agree that walking is good for us but If you are ever in doubt, look at  Manhattanites and how their walking lifestyles allows them to burn more calories than commuting by car. Aside from the physical benefits of walking, it’s also been proven that walking gives people a mental boost and can even increase creative output by 60% according to a study done at Stanford University. 

As with all good things, walking can be made even better. That is why Harvard Health recently published an article on the benefits of Nordic walking. The poling techniques used for Nordic walking are almost identical to those used in cross country skiing. 

By adding poles to your walk, both your upper and lower body receive a vigorous workout. According to a US News and World Report article, you can burn up to 40% more calories by Nordic walking than by regular walking alone.  By using more muscles in your routine, you build muscle strength in both your lower and upper body and reduce fat at a faster rate¾while still gaining all the other benefits of walking¾a healthier heart, reduced cancer risk, and a vital mental boost. 

More than a Stroll in the Park 

Pole walking was invented by athletes to train in the off season. Like some may believe, you can’t just pick up a set of poles and start walking¾there is a certain technique to it. In the beginning, you do require some concentration and effort, however, soon enough the walk becomes natural to most people. 

The first technique is the single pole, which requires you to move your arms and legs simultaneously. For example, you place your right leg forward while simultaneously planting your right pole down, and then you place your left leg forward while simultaneously planting your left pole down. (Easy breezy).  

The second technique is called the double pole. Downhill skiers will recognize this as poling, whereby you put both poles in front of you then take two steps.  

For both techniques you’ll need to learn how to adjust the poles to the proper length for your height, how to grip the handles properly and how to ensure the boot tips are facing the proper direction. 

Sounds simple, right? Give it a try and see why you’re burning all those calories so quickly in the fitness game!  Beyond burning a minimum of 20% more calories with every step, you activate your core muscles about 1800 times per mile. Now that’s something to write home about! 

Physical Therapy Goes Outdoors 

From helping clients with Parkinson’s disease to rehabilitating a bad knee, walking poles can help with both balance and stability issues, while also offloading pressure or excess weight from joints. Walking poles are ideal for many people undergoing physical therapy, with the approval of their doctor. 

Research done by leading Nordic walking pole company, Urban Poling Inc, showed that individuals over 80 years of age showed an improvement in balance as measured by the BERG balance test and no falls were reported during the 12-week period of course study. The improvement in the BERG balance test and reduction in the number of falls were not maintained upon completion of the program. Although the sample size was small, this project suggests that pole walking can be used as an appropriate intervention to maintain functional independence and to prevent falls in the elderly.  Along with improved balance and weight alleviation, pole waking also allows rehabbers to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. 

Social Hour  

Working out at a gym has its merits but socializing as you work out isn’t typically one of them. In contrast, pole walking, much like skiing, screams social activity. There are many clubs and groups that meet at parks in almost every city in North America and Europe to share their experience together. Nordic walking is a activity that allows you to get out and explore and there’s nothing quite like embarking on new ventures with friends.   

The benefits of walking have helped humans maintain their health since the dawn of mankind. Much research has been done to prove that walking is good for us and it’s been a doctor approved exercise regimen for years. Now researchers are seeing the benefits of turning a walk into a full body workout, which is why the prestigious Harvard Health published articles toting the advantages too!  

Our New Line – Activator® & Urban Poles! 

For all these reasons and more – we are thrilled to share our newest addition to our product line, the globally recognized and award winning Activator® & Urban Poles! Specialized and uniquely designed poles like the Activator® & Urban Poles have been designed through the lens of an Occupational therapist with unique features that support safety & efficacy of use.  For improved comfort and maximum effectiveness these poles are the best on the market.  Ease of Use Approved by the Arthritis Foundation to be better than other poles for those living with Arthritis, the unique features and benefits are unparalleled.  We look forward to hearing your feedback! Send us an email with how these poles have helped you UP your game with respect to health and fitness and you’ll be entered in win a prize pack filled with UPI goodies!! Happy Trails everyone! 

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