Urban Poling: A Family Affair
January 13, 2015 | By Nadia
After taking my Urban Poling Instructor Course with Barb Gormley in 2008, it wasn’t long before my poles became appendages of my arms. In the great outdoors, they really did come with me just about everywhere, so much so that leaving home without them felt like driving in a car without doing up your seatbelt! As a person with a physical education background and a career in health and fitness and a bad knee, I instantly recognized ALL the benefits that poling had to offer. Why would I ever want to walk without them?
My husband Colin soon became proficient and we took our poles to far flung destinations in Europe and South America, the Grand Canyon, the sand dunes of Death Valley, and Canada from coast to coast. I enjoyed walking around Manhattan with my poles and the Lake District of England but I think our favourite trips were snowshoe trips, when the extra stability while floundering in deep snow was crucial to staying upright. We LOVE the winter no matter how cold it gets. Colin has been such a good sport, offering to model with me in Urban Poling photos for my business, time and time again. Our Urban Poles have been part of many unforgettable adventures.
My mother-in-law was an incredibly fit and active lady well into her eighties. She was delighted when given a pair of Fitness Series poles about five years ago. For her, they were trendy new fitness equipment and she enjoyed displaying them on walks around Montreal. When a series of accidents a year ago left her with a shuffling gait and using a cane, I suggested she try the ACTIVATOR poles for more stability and balance. She called several times to thank me saying “I could not live without them now and I will never go back to using a cane again.” Her trip from home to Green Ave to run errands went from taking her 20 minutes to 15 minutes and she was once again walking confidently, nice and tall with the posture of a much younger woman, and without a shuffle. Her doctors and therapists were amazed and impressed.
As for the younger generation, my son and his girlfriend have long loved how they assist them on the steep ascents and descents of the trails in the Rocky Mountains where we now live. Two days after their wedding on Sept 14th, 2014, I organized an amazing hike to the summit of the local mountain, Ha Ling, as a post-wedding activity for the many out-of-province guests, many who were avid hikers. As it turns out, those who took the challenge and accompanied my husband and I were the bride and groom, the brides Mom and Dad, her two sisters, and my two step sons. Truly a family affair. And guess what? We all had our poles!
Alberta Ambassador and Master Trainer
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