Stay Active – Breast Cancer Rehab with Urban Poling
October 1, 2014 | By Nadia
[October 1, 2014] When breast cancer survivor Sue Imeson was faced with the common cardiovascular complications of treatment and recovery, she took to Urban Poling as her favourite method of treatment for a complete body workout. “By including Urban Poling in my walking routine, it also helped to relieve the congested feeling in my arm,” Imeson explained of her recovery method in breast cancer rehabilitation.
Many cancer clients are finding Urban Poling provides a greater workout compared to walking alone, as the poles use 90% of your muscles, and are effective at core strengthening. Not to mention the poles are a lot of fun, and easy to incorporate in to busy treatment schedules.
Gabriella Valente began Urban Poling when she was diagnosed with lymphoma. The scary diagnosis was accompanied by some sage advice from her doctor. “Lose weight, exercise and don’t think of yourself as a patient.” As the lymphoma transformed aggressively, Valente sought the rehabilitative effects of Urban Poling. In the midst of her treatment she was walking more than three kilometers a day. “I found as I went on that it calmed me down and became a form of meditation and my stamina actually improved through treatment.”
According to Dr. Agnes Coutinho (Phd), research shows walking with poles vs. walking without poles helps to boost self-esteem, improve sleep and energy levels, as well as lower depression and anxiety, while helping with pain management for cancer clients. More specifically, for breast cancer survivors, the use of Urban poles can help to restore and improve mobility of the arm and shoulder post-surgery, reduce pain and help regain independent living (Sprod et al 2005). Other researchers report reduced swelling and tightness in the arm (Jonsson et al 2014) improved postural balance (Hanuszkiewicz et al 2014).
The ACTIVATOR poles designed for greater stability compared to other poles may be more appropriate for clients with a neuropathy in the feet (numbness, tingling, pain) as they help provide assistance for balance and add stability or post abdominal, chest or surgery as the poles encourage an upright and aligned posture and help to minimize rounded shoulders.
With her chemotherapy finished in March, Valente has just recently been given an all-clear diagnosis, which has continued to invigorate her goal of staying in touch with her body, adding a more vigorous urban poling routine, and is back to doing Pilates exercises and yoga. “A year of my life was taken from me to an extent, but positives do come from it,” says Valente.
The most important aspect of Nordic walking is to just enjoy yourself. After a while, the technique will become second nature and you will feel confident, efficient, and ready to take on the world!
– Mandy Shintani, OT