|By Dr. Agnes Coutinho, MSc Exercise Physiology, PhD Endocrinology,Researcher, Kinesiologist
&Professor of Fitness & Health /Humber College/Guelph U
A recent article on the CTV News website discussed a study which found that “people with
a glucose-tolerance problem – a driver of diabetes and cardiovascular disease – can cut
the risk of heart attack or stroke by simply walking an additional 2,000 steps per day.”
Most people already know that walking is beneficial for heart health, however, some
might not be aware that the activity of urban poling (also known as Nordic walking),
with a twist to regular walking where one walks with the addition of specialized poles,
has greater health and fitness benefits than regular walking! Here are some quick facts:
What is Urban Poling?
Urban poling is one of the fastest growing forms of fitness and rehab in Canada. It
involves walking with a set of poles specifically designed for this activity, which you
plant on the ground after you swing your arms forward to “propel” yourself further
with each step. Adding the poles to your walk engages your core muscles in a way
that regular walking does not. By simply walking 1 mile with the poles, you will
achieve 1800 abdominal muscle contractions (!) and since walking with the poles
engages 90% of your muscles, you will burn 20 – 46% more calories, than if you
walked without poles. Since walking with the poles engages parts of your body that
regular walking does not, such as your arms, shoulders, back and especially your
core muscles, you will achieve both a cardiovascular and a resistance workout all
in one walk!
Why Are Many Canadians Choosing Urban Poling?
Urban Poling Inc. is the leading provider of walking poles in Canada, specializing
in poles that can be used both for fitness and rehab (the ACTIVATOR poles).
Urban poles are the only poles on the market that are co-designed by an
Occupational Therapist and fitness educator Mandy Shintani (MSc Gerontology),
one of the founders of Urban Poling Inc.. All of the Urbanpoles have a unique
ergonomic handle designed to provide maximum comfort and safety while activating
the core muscles, as well as 3 different anti-vibration systems build in to eliminate
reverberations through the body that could result from the poles hitting the ground.
However, what sets Urban Poling Inc. apart most is the ongoing commitment to
education (through specific programs and certifications) as well as the supply of
not only the best poles, but also ongoing support of walking programs on an
individual level, as well as in communities and health/wellness centers across
The use of poles has been proven effective both for fall prevention as well as
cardiovascular rehabilitation. Currently, there are a number of hospitals across
Canada which recommend the Urbanpoles as part of a discharge packages for
patients who have experienced a cardiac event or stroke. In addition,
physiotherapists and doctors are prescribing the ACTIVATOR poles in the place
of canes and walkers, and they are also being included in the discharge suggestions
for those who have undergone hip or knee surgery as well as spinal stenosis. A
study published at the end of 2013 by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute,
concluded that walking with poles is superior to standard cardiac rehab, even for
those following mild to moderate heart failure.
There are a growing number of medical publications highlighting the health
related benefits of walking with poles. A recent review summarized the benefits
of this activity and highlighted the protective and beneficial effects on: weight
management, cardiac health, peripheral arterial disease, diabetes. It also showed
evidence for benefits for patients with, Parkinson’s disease, COPD, Fibromyalgia
and general pain as well as those undergoing breast cancer rehabilitation. For
heart patients specifically, and also those interested in preventing heart disease,
in addition to the obvious benefits of weight loss (reduction of both total fat mass
and waist circumference), walking with poles has been shown to lower blood pressure,
improve blood cholesterol levels, plus increase peak aerobic activity and exercise
capacity (with greater benefit compared to walking without poles). Other studies
report benefits in mental health and improvements in general quality of life.
So, what do you think? – why not get UP and walk to get the most out of each
step you take!
- Chomiuk et al. (2013) The influence of systematic pulse-limited
physical exercise on the parameters of the cardiovascular system
in patients over 65 years of age. Arch Med Sci 9(2): 201-209
- Keast et al. (2013)Randomized trial of Nordic walking in patients
with moderate to severe heart failure.Can J Cardiol.29(11):1470-6
- Suijra et al. (2009) Physical activity of depressed patients and
their motivation to exercise: Nordic Walking in family practice.
Int J Rehabil Res. 32(2):132-8
- Tschentscher et al. (2013) Health Benefits of Nordic Walking A
Systematic Review. Am J Prev Med. 44(1):76-84
- Urban Poling Inc. (ed. 2014) The Urban Poling Nordic Walking
Instructor Certification Level One. Printed originally in 2006.
URBAN POLING IS A PROUD SUPPORTER OF THE WALK OF LIFE.
THE CARDIAC HEALTH FOUNDATION OF CANADA AND URBAN POLING
ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO IMPROVE THE CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
OF CANADIANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
WALK OF LIFE – 30th Anniversary Special
Urban Poling is an amazing from of physical activity, targeting
core muscles while providing an excellent cardiovascular workout.
Purchase a pair of Urban Poles between now and the WALK OF LIFE
and receive 15% off your online purchase. 10% will be donated to the
Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada.
- Join the Urban Poling Team on May 25th 2014 and pole with
us to raise funds for the WALK OF LIFE.www.urbanpoling.com
Promo code: WALKOFLIFE
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