Power up your walking workouts with a set of poles

Image courtesy of Urban Poling.

Image courtesy of Urban Poling.

Having led fitness classes for over 25 years, people often ask me what I do to stay active and fit. Although I enjoy all kinds of fitness classes and active pursuits, I’m also an avid walker. It really is my preferred way to get around, and having a dog to walk pushes me out the door and provides me with great company in every season.

Years ago, I met another walker in a Toronto park who was using poles – not to lean on for support, but to increase the value of his daily walks. Our conversation sparked my interested in Nordic walking and saw my introduction to a company called Urban Poling on the west coast from whom I purchased a couple of sets of poles.

Here’s why I now encourage all walkers, particularly those who want to increase their fitness and challenge themselves, to invest in poles and use them regularly:

Here’s why I now encourage all walkers, particularly those who want to increase their fitness and challenge themselves, to invest in poles and use them regularly:

When compared to regular walking (without poles), Nordic walking:

  1. Provides a 25% increase in cardiovascular activity because it engages approximately 90% of the muscles in your body as opposed to 40% with regular walking.
  2. Burns 20-45% more calories than regular walking and can support weight loss and maintenance.
  3. Engages your arm, core and back muscles, offering upper body benefits you can’t achieve with regular walking.
  4. Helps you build a stronger core, improving your posture and balance. In fact, for every mile you walk, your abdominal muscles will contract about 1800 times.
  5. Is a low impact activity that can redirect some of the stress of weight bearing activity from the lower body, to the upper body and core muscles.
  6. Increases range of motion, and decreases pain in neck and shoulders – a blessing since so many people, with desk jobs in particular, experience chronic pain in these areas.

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