I purchased a pair of walking poles. Yeah, I know, big deal. But this is a big deal. So let me tell you my story. Most people who know me know that I have diabetes. What they do not know is that I have Neuropathy. Neuropathy is a nerve condition thought to be brought on by sustained high blood sugar.
Whatever the cause of the neuropathy, after 46 years as a person with Type 1 Diabetes I have Neuropathy. The primary way the neuropathy has impacted me is that I have lost feeling in my feet; my balance has left me. Walking (especially lengthier walks outside) just became almost impossible. Since my balance was disrupted I weaved around the path like a comic Weeble people. Sheryl (my beautiful wife) was mostly unable to walk with me because of my stumbling and weaving, and while I could walk, the effort was too much. Mix in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis and walking was not enjoyable.
Getting my walk on
A friend (Cathy Kramer, who writes The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo) introduced me to Urban Poling. Urban poling manufactures high-quality walking poles. After reading Cathy’s description of her experience of using Urban Poles, I was intrigued, and then the more I thought of it, I was willing to take a chance with the hope of walking with Sheryl once again.
Because I am over 6′ I decided to purchase the Activator 2 poles. These poles are fully adjustable, and I felt they could grow with me as I learned more about the sport. My poles arrived in early December, and I wanted to get right to it. I watched the helpful videos on the Urban Poling website so I could learn how to begin. Unfortunately, my first walk was a disaster. I did not have the poles adjusted correctly, and my technique was off. On that walk, I must have looked like a deranged Weeble people with two sticks.
I spent the next two walks, adjusting my poles and learning how to use them. I had to catch the rhythm of my hands and arms working together with my feet. But once I was able to walk in cadence left arm / right foot, right arm / left foot, I was able to keep a steady pace using these poles to the best advantage.
Walking was fun again
Those who know me know rhythm is not my thing. But I got it and since December 9, 2020 (it is January 8, 2021, today), we have walked at least 45 minutes almost every day. As I have worked at it, my strength and sure-footedness have grown and grown. The best I have done is 2 miles on a local trail. That would have been unimaginable even two years ago.
But with my new poles, I am walking faster, straighter, and with far more stamina. I cannot tell you the difference these poles have made in my life. I love that the Urban Poles website has instructions, walking tips, and even classes to maximize the experience.
My poles came with bell tips, which added stability as I was leaning to use them. But I quickly wanted the boot tips, which are fitness tips. They make me faster, and I use less effort to go straight. But on those days that might have a little ice on the path, I switch back to the bell tips and enjoy the wonderful stability. All urban poles also have standard carbon tips for use in snow.
I also love that the poles use incredible wide ledge handgrips without straps that make the poles safer in case of instability and an antivibration core that makes walking more comfortable. I was so impressed; I arranged to acquire the accessory combo right away. This package included the boot tips, carrying bag, and some extra items for snow, which I likely will not use, and I received the Pole Clips, so I can hang the poles in my garage fully extended and ready to use.
I love my Urban Poles; they are amazing. Thank you, Cathy Kramer for introducing me and thank you to Urban Poles for making an exceptional product.