ACTIVATOR compared to other devices

Patented ACTIVATOR Poles are revolutionizing rehabilitation and being used extensively in all continuum’s of health care.  See a comparison below of the ACTIVATOR Poles compared to (or in conjunction) to passive mobility devices such as canes and to reduce/delay the use of crutches and even walkers* (under the assessment of rehab professional or physician).

They have been instrumental in promoting an upright posture and a functional walking pattern compared to canes and walkers. In my opinion they facilitate rehabilitation and return patients to optimal function faster.”
Dr. Charles G. Fisher MD MHSc FRCSC, Past President of the Canadian Spine Society

Activator Poles compared other devices 

ACTIVATOR® Poles Canes Forearm crutches 4 wheeled walkers
Support Bilateral Unilateral Bilateral Bilateral
Weight bearing 200 lbs/pole (90.7 kg) Varies 300+ lbs (136 kg) 300+ lbs (136 kg)
Stability 2 contact points 1 contact point 2 contact points 4 contact points
Posture Upright Leaning to one side Leaning forward May promote kyphotic posture
Arm swing Normal Limited arm swing on affected side Bilateral arm swing static
Gait pattern Functional Leaning to one side Smaller stride Smaller stride & shuffle
Core strength Increases Limited engagement of core muscles Limited engagement of core muscles Limited engagement of core muscles
Wrist position (stress) Neutral Extended Extended Extended
Rest option Seat
Basket Yes
Portability Easy-collapses & 3 lbs (1.36 kg) Easy Moderate Difficult
Cost <109.99 to 149.99 <100.00 60.00 – 180.00 200.00 – 400.00
Research 8 current/recent studies on Activator Poles
Self-image Ability Disability Disability Disability
Activator Walker cane forearm crutches walker

*As with any new rehabilitation or exercise program, please check with your physician or therapist prior to use of the ACTIVATOR or Urban Poles. If you are already using a cane, crutches or walker (or you would benefit from a device for walking), therapy or exercise may be required for improving core strength, balance and co-ordination prior to use of the poles.

*This chart outlines a comparison to other devices. Therapists should always follow their own assessment results and professional judgement to determine the suitability of poles for clients.  Based on the assessment, it may be more appropriate for your client to use their cane, crutches and/or walker as their primary mobility device and use the ACTIVATOR Poles for treatment sessions and/or as part of a regular exercise program.

ACTIVATOR Poles vs other poles

ACTIVATOR Poles Nordic Walking/Hiking Poles
Straps Strapless to reduce the risk of injury – Knobloch et al., 2006 Straps
Grip Ergonomic CoreGrip Thin handle
Wrist position (stress) Neutral Extended
Weight bearing & locking system button lock – 200 lbs/pole (90 kg)

twist lock: 40-90 lbs/pole (18 – 41 kg)

Flip lock: 120 lbs/pole ( 55 kg)

Core Strengthening downward pressure on CoreGrip ledge downward pressure on strap
Anti-Vibration 3 features (tip, grip, ferrule) May or may not
Tips large bell-shaped rubber tips to keep poles vertical for max stability & off loading no tips, small tips, or boot tips for position on a diagonal
Adjustable ACTIVATOR Poles – 4 to 6 ft  & New ACTIVATOR2 Poles – up to 6 ft 4″ may or may not be adjustable

Visit Research & Health to see 8 independent recent/current studies specifically on the ACTIVATOR Poles and a summary of more current Nordic walking studies (250+ studies listed on PubMed).


Going downhill

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

Tips from the Best