Arthritis Month with Rick Phillips

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.

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