Sore hips and knees appreciate our poles
February 12, 2016 | By Urban Poling
Urban Poling Inc.
877-499-7999 / 604-990-7712
There’s nothing that kills fun faster than an achy hip or a wonky knee. Luckily, you can now enjoy an active lifestyle without stressing your joints. Urban poling—the contemporary version of classic European Nordic walking—has you covered.
The urban poling workout—which uses two ergonomic walking poles to propel you forward—exercises your entire body combining the simplicity of walking with the multiple health and fitness benefits of cross-country skiing.
“My knees usually throb and swell when I exercise,” says Linda Rosen, a 62-year-old research consultant from Calgary. Decades of mountaineering with a heavy backpack, combined with a series of sports injuries and painful osteoarthritis, had taken a toll on her knees when she discovered the urban poling workout.
“Walking with the poles is easier on my knees than the fast walking I was doing on a treadmill,” says Rosen.
Health professionals across the country couldn’t agree more. Physiotherapists, occupational therapists and physicians frequently utilize urban poling as a joint protection strategy for clients with arthritis in their hips and knees and for those who are rehabilitating from hip and knee replacements.
“We recommend urban poling to take the load off their joints,” says Wendy Watson, a physiotherapist educator who works with osteoarthritis clients at Vancouver Coastal Health. “We also like the poles because they activate the core and upper body muscles that make people stand straighter and with better posture. And for people with arthritis in their fingers, the handles on the urban poling style of Nordic walking poles are bigger in circumference so it’s easy to grip them.”
Perhaps most importantly, Watson finds that the walking poles allow her clients to walk further and with less pain. And staying active is important when you have arthritis.
“Regular physical activity helps people with arthritis control their weight, helps maintain the range of motion of their joints, and strengthens the muscles that support joints,” says occupational therapist Mandy Shintani, who is also managing director of Urban Poling Inc., a Vancouver-based company that designs and distributes walking poles and certifies health and fitness professionals. “Without regular exercise, arthritic joints become progressively stiffer, muscles become weaker and body weight begins to creep up.”
For people who typically walk with a cane—which can cause people to hunch forward and to one side—both Watson and Shintani recommend walking poles while walking for exercise.
And for people with severe balance and stability issues walking poles with large bell-shaped tips, such as the Urban Poling Activator poles, provide even more stability and security.
Watson’s job finds that people are usually more open to using walking poles than a cane. “They feel they’ll look old or disabled with a cane,” she says. “But the poles look sporty, and people associate them with health and fitness.”
ABOUT URBAN POLING INC.:
Vancouver-based Urban Poling Inc. distributes and designs five styles of high performance Nordic walking poles, all with ergonomic and easy-to-manage strapless handles. It is the largest Nordic walking pole distributor in Canada and offers the only Nordic walking instructor training program recognized by Canada’s nine largest fitness and health organizations. Urban Poling sells its products through retailers and online and has certified 2,500+ instructors. For more information, visit www.urbanpoling.com.
For moderately steep slopes, simply decrease the pressure on the base of the handles or drag your poles behind you. For steep slopes, keep your poles upright and in front and out to the side slightly, so if you do fall you won’t land on your poles. Bend your knees and elbows, and slow down any momentum. For long descents, it may be helpful to lengthen the poles.
–Barb Gormley, Director of Education