If you’ve never heard of urban pole walking, today’s your lucky day. It’s basically walking outside with trekking poles that resemble ski poles. The poles are adjustable for different heights, have hand straps, rubber feet and are collapsible for travel.
Pole walking is a huge fitness craze in Europe and has taken off in North America as well. Some work places have even taken on pole walking as a staff activity to boost productivity. We think it’s a perfect complement to Pilates.
It’s smart and efficient
When used optimally, pole walking is a great way to incorporate upper body muscles into your daily walk and turns it into a total body workout. Because of this, more muscles are recruited in less time. You burn 46% more calories than regular walking, boost endurance and feel more energized when you’re done.
It gets results – helps posture, balance and breathing
Walking with poles helps boost posture by keeping the body upright while working the arms and legs and torso in a way to support good posture. The poles also help keep the body symmetrical and in good alignment from head to toe, which helps with balance. When the body is upright, breathing automatically improves giving you a chance to increase lung capacity and get more oxygen into your system.
It’s has proven benefits for so many physical conditions
There’s been research done into the benefits of pole walking for the following conditions: arthritis, osteoporosis, weight loss, postural improvement, back pain, neck and shoulder tension, stress relief, spend time with people, balance, breast cancer, arm lymphedema, fibromyalgia, cardiac, Parkinson’s, older adults, knee joints, mental health and menopause.
To look up the research summaries and learn more, check out http://urbanpoling.com/education/research/
Not only is pole walking great for the body, but it’s so healthy for the psyche. We spend many of our days cooped up inside and pole walking allows us to get outside, reconnect with nature and breathe fresh air.
Maintaining the ability to walk is key to survival and enjoying life. It’s also a natural, rhythmical activity that can be calming to the nervous system. This helps decrease stress, boost and balance energy.
It keeps you “in tune” to your body
Using walking poles can help you “listen to your body”. The feedback from the poles can also build awareness for where your spine, hips, upper body, head and feet are moving in space. Knowing where you are in space is critical for balance and mobility.
It’s a great source of cardio
Although Pilates can be a great workout and help with posture, it often lacks in the cardio department. Pole walking helps you build endurance and get your heart rate up without adding strain or feeling like you’re working to exhaustion.
It’s so easy, there’s no reason not to: low cost, simple to learn and you can do it anywhere
All you need for pole walking is a pair of comfortable walking shoes, clothes you can move in an walking poles. In the beginning, it’s important to get lessons to build proper technique. After that, you’re all set and ready to go off on your own.
Learning to pole walking technique may take a few sessions, but with practice is easy to pick up speed. What’s great is that you can go pole walking anywhere from city streets to a park and get huge benefits from it.
It’s fun and social
Pole walking is a great excuse to get out and move with friends. It can also be a great way to make new friends. It’s great for all ages and fitness levels, so you can even turn it into a family activity!
Pole walking at Body Harmonics
We believe in the power of pole walking and have been running pole walking sessions for a number of years at our Body Harmonics studios. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our website at bodyharmonics.ca or give our front desk a call at 416.482.4884.
Author: Larisa Makuch
Larisa Makuch is a Pilates & Movement teacher, teacher trainer and ELDOA instructor. She draws on her experiences to create innovative teaching and business strategies. Larisa has a Body Harmonics Comprehensive Pilates diploma, several Specialist diplomas and a BA.
“For me it’s all about helping people move better, feel better and build their confidence each and every day. I especially enjoy those ‘aha’ moments when clients and colleagues make discoveries that translate into more freedom, more joy and less pain in their lives.”