Globe and Mail
June 20, 2011 | By Nadia
Take Walking Up a Notch
The activity exploded across Europe in the 1990s and has grown to the point where today more than 20 per cent of Finns and about 10-15 million Germans regularly pole walk.
“I’ve never been an athlete,” says Ms. Keene, who lives in Toronto and heads out pole walking five or six times a week. “I’ve always enjoyed walking but now, using the poles, I really get a workout. I’m in good shape. My doctor is impressed.”
Dr. Schwanbeck has been a pole walking advocate for more than 25 years. Aside from pole walking being a form of exercise ideal for people of any age, Dr. Schwanbeck says it also has medical benefits.
Anyone who suffers from diabetes, who’s overweight or has high blood pressure and has been encouraged by their physician to exercise, improves at much faster rates pole walking than by simple walking, says Dr. Schwanbeck.
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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