ACTIVATOR Program Course

ACTIVATOR Program Course

ACTIVATOR Course for health professionals

Thank you for taking the ACTIVATOR® Program Course.  My name is Mandy Shintani, I am an occupational therapist and gerontologist and developer of the patented ACTIVATOR® poles.  I will be your presenter.  There are 4 main objectives you will achieve by completing this course.
  1. Gain knowledge about the benefits and research on Nordic walking and the 10 current
    independent studies on the ACTIVATOR poles for rehabilitation.
  2. Become skilled in teaching the ACTIVATOR® & Urban Poling/Nordic walking technique.
  3. Gain competency in using poles for seated, standing & pre-gait exercises as well as specific conditions.
  4. Learn about guidelines to safety and effectively structure group exercise programs using poles.

The course has been divided into 8 sections and will take approximately 2 to 4 hours to complete.  You can stop the course at any point and resume at a later time and re-watch any of the sections.  You will need your ACTIVATOR® Poles to practice during the sections on adjusting, technique and exercises.   Your manual should be open to easily access or it may be easier to print your manual (see ACTIVATOR® Course Manual button below). At the start of each section there are 3 questions.  Write down your answers while listening to the videos and reviewing your manual to help you apply the content to your practice sessions and to prepare for the quiz. At end of each section, there is a section of recommended reading in the manual.  After successfully completing the quiz, you will receive a email which has a link to download your certificate of completion.  

Handouts, Posters and Marketing:   Click here to enter into our Private Website for Therapists and Fitness Instructors

Professional/Wholesale Pricing for rehab professionals and instructors: 
CANADA:  contact for Wholesale pricing or access to our wholesale online shopping page. 
USA:  contact for USA Distributors
AUS: contact LEEF Independent Living Solutions or polewalkingAustralia

How Your Clients can Purchase ACTIVATOR or Urban Poles:  Not interested in carrying stock? Then your clients can buy online at or AMAZON for Canada and USA or in Canada at one of our local retailers, click on FIND a RETAILER on our website. 

Thank you for taking the ACTIVATOR® Program Course and we would greatly appreciate 
your feedback on this course (see 2 minute Survey button below)! 

Resources and special links:

Course Sections:


  1. What do you think are the possible benefits are of using poles for rehab?
  2. Why is there a more positive perception of using poles vs other devices?
  3. When watching the video of Harry McMurtry, please write down your observations of Harry’s gait and posture when walking without poles and with the ACTIVATOR® Poles.


  1. What are the researched benefits of walking poles for those with Parkinson’s?
  2. What are the researched benefits of walking poles for older adults?
  3. What are the benefits of using poles compared to canes & to reduce the use of walkers (when approved by a rehab professional)?

ACTIVATOR® Poles should only be prescribed for walker users under the assessment and guidance of a rehab professional.  You may assess it is more appropriate for your client to use their cane and/or walker as their primary mobility devices and use ACTIVATOR® Poles for exercise sessions, gait retraining or daily walking programs.

Update: 2020 – ACTIVATOR® Poles are available in the UK, Ireland, USA and Australia.  2% of 4Life Pole sales goes to cancer wellness programs in Canada & USA.  


Manual – Read chapter on Research on Nordic walking and 10 studies on ACTIVATOR poles.

Links to abstracts on Nordic walking research can be accessed under under “Research” or 299 studies on Nordic walking on


  1. Why is the function of the CoreGrip®?
  2. What is the function of the bell-shaped tip?
  3. What is the locking system & weight-bearing capacity of each ACTIVATOR® Pole?


Manual – Read chapter on ACTIVATOR® Poles


  1. What are the 4 steps of the ACTIVATOR® technique?
  2. After trying the ACTIVATOR® technique, think about how this device differs from traditional walking devices such as a cane.  What observations did you make?
  3. Some clients may have a negative perception towards traditional mobility devices; how do you think your clients will respond to using ACTIVATOR® poles?


Manual – Read chapter on ACTIVATOR® Technique

ACTIVATOR® Poles come with a User Guide and your clients can watch video instructions at under “Getting Started”

Questions: When would you recommend the ACTIVATOR® Poles & technique vs. the Urban Poles & technique? After watching this chapter, determine if and why Urban Poling could provide a better outcome for some of your clients. What are the five steps of the Urban Poling technique? How can you use the poles in the winter time to prevent falls?


Manual – Review section on Designing an Exercise Program and Appendix A -If you are using the ACTIVATOR® Poles to do the Urban Poling technique, you also should lengthen the poles about 2 inch/5 cm so you can easily maintain a straight arm (vs the ACTIVATOR® technique where your elbow is bent) and also as you become more proficient.  Manual – Read chapter on Urban Poling Videos are available on under “Getting Started”
In this section, review the sections that are specific to your clinical practice or are of interest. Questions:
  1. What are the benefits associated with the conditions that you reviewed?
  2. What general contraindications may prevent ACTIVATOR® poles from being appropriate?
  3. Can you think of 3 clients that would benefit from using ACTIVATOR® poles?
Note:  Although some clients in these videos are using the Urban Poles (Series 300, 4Life or Adventure Poles), we recommend the ACTIVATOR poles for any clients with conditions affecting balance.


Active Living Webinar Series – see recorded webinars with guest speakers on under “Education” More information on Specific Conditions can be found on under Education

Specific Conditions – Extra Content

In this section you will have access to extra content.  Guest speakers comprising of leading international therapists, researchers and diabetic educators will discuss how to use the ACTIVATOR® and/or Urban poles with specific conditions and/or new research.  These excerpts were edited from the live ACTIVATOR® webinar series.

Note: Although some clients in the videos are using the Urban Poles (Series 300, 4Life or Adventure Poles), we recommend that clients with conditions use the ACTIVATOR® Poles as the weight bearing capacity is 200 lb/90 kg per pole and switch to using the boot shape tips for the Urban Poling technique.  ACTIVATOR poles fit clients up to 6 ft/183 cm and recommended user weight is 250 lb/114 kg.  The ACTIVATOR® 2 are for clients who are over 6 ‘ to 6’ 4″/193 kg and up to 320 lb/145 kg or who want poles that collapse shorter for travel.



Active Living with Breast Cancer 

Dr. Sharon Czerniec (AUS) discusses benefits, precautions and exercises with ACTIVATOR® or Urban Poles for breast cancer.  

Active Living with Spinal Stenosis

Physiotherapist Hilary Jebson (CAD) discusses a trial on the ACTIVATOR® poles with spinal stenosis at the acute spinal unit at her hospital and guidelines on using walking poles with this condition.


Sports Injuries

Physiotherapist, D’Arcy Boulton discusses how he uses the ACTIVATOR and Urban Poles for treating sports injuries.  

Active Rehab for Traumatic Spinal Injuries

Physiotherapist Kristine Plourde (CAD) describes 2 case studies of using the ACTIVATOR® poles with clients with traumatic spinal injuries.


For this final section, which includes client assessment and considerations for group exercises, open the manual and follow along with the presentation.


  1. What are the 5 functional assessment exercises for the ACTIVATOR® poles?
  2. What considerations should be taken into account for lower level clients?
  3. Where can you refer your clients to to purchase ACTIVATOR® poles?

Thank you for taking the ACTIVATOR® Course. We would greatly appreciate it if you would take our easy, 2-minute survey, as we are always looking for ways to improve!

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