April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month! Over 19 research studies have been completed on the effects of Nordic Walking on Parkinson’s Disease. These studies clearly identify poling, with the proper training, as a healthy mode of physical activity suited for improving quality of life. Walking poles offer proven health benefits which may include increased balance & stability, improved posture, increased core strength, increased walking tolerance, increased independence in daily activities, improved confidence, and decreased stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Nordic walking improves your coordination! Nordic walking requires you to use both sides of your brain to maintain an opposite arm and opposite leg swing. This is key for individuals with Parkinson’s, as they require balance and stability to feel secure when walking. Difficulties with balance and walking are linked to changes in the brain caused by Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, PD affects the basal ganglia, the part of the brain which is essential to balance.
- Nordic walking is a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Nordic walking requires the use of almost 90% of the muscles in the body! This means that it can burn up to 46% more calories than walking alone. This is important for individuals with Parkinson’s! Exercise promotes and vitally maintains balance, mobility, and activities of daily living. Exercise and physical activity can also improve many symptoms of PD and slow the progression of the disease.
- Walking with poles decreases strain on joints! A symptom of PD is joint pain, Nordic walking is an excellent form of exercise that won’t create pain in joints while walking. Our ergonomic core grip handles have a ledge which when pushed into it off-loads from joints with every step.
- Nordic walking is great for your posture. For individuals with Parkinson’s the body adjusts to changes in the brain affecting balance and coordination, this impacts posture. Nordic walking required a tall posture when walking, in combination with 4 points of contact to promote balance and stability it limits and prevents stooping. Stooping can lead to ‘bent spin syndrome’ which can lead to further health problems and mobility issues. Nordic walking is a great way to practice good posture and prevent these issues.
- It is safer than regular walking! Poles provide 2 additional points of contact when walking. This provides the user with balance, stability, and support when they walk which boosts confidence. Since Parkinson’s disease affects balance and coordination individuals with PD are at a greater risk of falling. Adding poles can reduce their chances of falling while walking.
- It Social! Nordic walking is an excellent way to stay social and explore the beauty of your backyard! Pole walking requires some space so you can continue to maintain a physical distance while you walk with your pals. Group exercise promoted bonding and a sense of community!
Health professionals are recommending the ACTIVATOR℗ Poles for Parkinson’s clients as research studies clearly show walking with poles is an effective, safe, and enjoyable physical activity. Physical activity, such as walking with poles, may improve motor skills, balance, and gait quality, as well as supporting mental health. Clients with Parkinson’s and participants of Parkinson’s-specialized programs agree, and report that using the ACTIVATOR℗ Poles promotes greater independence and improves the quality of life. ACTIVATOR Poles have even helped our customers participate in Walk Events with Parkinson’s associations.