Active Living with Parkinson’s

Summarized by Dr. Agnes Coutinho MSc PhD

Health professionals are recommending the ACTIVATOR™ poles for Parkinson’s clients as research studies clearly show walking with poles is an effective, safe and enjoyable physical activity*. Physical activity, such as walking with poles, can improve motor skills, balance and gait quality, as well as protect and enhance brain function**. Clients with Parkinson’s and participants of Parkinson’s-specialized programs agree, and report that, using the ACTIVATOR™ poles promotes greater independence and improves quality of life. Our ACTIVATOR poles have even helped our customers achieve the SuperWalk.

I was steered to use the Activators by my Parkinson’s physiotherapist and I am very pleased that she did. My gait has improved and I have reduced my time to complete my walks by some 30-50%, so now I am focusing on going greater distance. My therapist has remarked that I am no longer shuffling.
– Keith

Research Benefits

Evidence based studies on Parkinson’s clearly identify poling, with the proper training, as a healthy mode of physical activity suited for improving quality of life. Walking poles offer proven beneficial effects on general key health parameters, including:

  • Increased balance & stability
  • Improved posture
  • Increased core strength
  • Increased walking tolerance
  • Increased independence in activities
  • Increased confidence
  • Decreased stress, anxiety and depression


*Nordic walking improves mobility in Parkinson’s disease (van Eijkeren et al 2008)
Impact of physical exercise on reaction time in patients with Parkinson’s disease-data from the Berlin BIG Study. (Ebersbach et al 2014)
**PubMed published research relating to Nordic walking and Parkinson’s

I have noticed an unbelievable change in my Parkinson’s clients – their confidence increases as soon as they have the poles in their hands, they walk taller and straighter and it has been a great tool for gait retraining in terms of increasing their stride and walking tolerance. The best part is that they started smiling during our sessions!
Jessica Lewgood, Exercise Therapist

ACTIVATOR Poles recommend by Health Professionals

CTV news clip featuring Harry McMurtry using ACTIVATOR poles on his 500 Miles for Parkinson’s.

ACTIVATOR™ Poles were designed by a Canadian therapist with the following unique features for mobility.

  • Ergonomic CoreGrip (patent pending) for weight-bearing and core strengthening
  • Strapless for injury prevention
  • Secure button locking system offers greater weight bearing capacity compared to turning lock systems
  • The bell shaped tips provide stability
  • Carbide steel tip for winter walking
  • 3 Anti-vibration features minimizing stress on joints.

Consult your physician or therapist before using the poles if you currently use a cane or walker, have any medical condition which affects your balance, stability, grip strength, vision, depth judgement or co-ordination, or if you are currently recovering from injury or surgery.

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Going uphill

Keep your poles more upright and in front of you. Lean forward slightly, and use the poles to help push you up the hill. If necessary, bend your elbows, but remember to transition back to the straight arm technique at the top of the hill
Barb Gormley, Director of Education

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