13 Nov Power up your walking workouts with a set of poles
Having led fitness classes for over 25 years, people often ask me what I do to stay active and fit. Although I enjoy all kinds of fitness classes and active pursuits, I’m also an avid walker. It really is my preferred way to get around, and having a dog to walk pushes me out the door and provides me with great company in every season.
Years ago, I met another walker in a Toronto park who was using poles – not to lean on for support, but to increase the value of his daily walks. Our conversation sparked my interested in Nordic walking and saw my introduction to a company called Urban Poling on the west coast from whom I purchased a couple of sets of poles.
Here’s why I now encourage all walkers, particularly those who want to increase their fitness and challenge themselves, to invest in poles and use them regularly:
When compared to regular walking (without poles), Nordic walking:
- Provides a 25% increase in cardiovascular activity because it engages approximately 90% of the muscles in your body as opposed to 40% with regular walking.
- Burns 20-45% more calories than regular walking and can support weight loss and maintenance.
- Engages your arm, core and back muscles, offering upper body benefits you can’t achieve with regular walking.
- Helps you build a stronger core, improving your posture and balance. In fact, for every mile you walk, your abdominal muscles will contract about 1800 times.
- Is a low impact activity that can redirect some of the stress of weight bearing activity from the lower body, to the upper body and core muscles.
- Increases range of motion, and decreases pain in neck and shoulders – a blessing since so many people, with desk jobs in particular, experience chronic pain in these areas.
*Image courtesy of Urban Poling