Wednesday Workout Tip: Try Urban Poling
Now, now, get your mind out of the gutter…:)
Urban poling is synonomous with nordic walking. This activity entails the use of two ski-type poles when you walk/jog/hike (see video link below) that assist with balance and joint unloading (reducing stress on the ol’ joints).
Urban poling is a more recent addition to North American’s activity options. It is extremely popular in Scandinavia and Germany. With an increase in popularity, research in this area has also flourished looking at specific populations afflicted with particular mobility issues.
While some researchers argue that urban poling reduces stress/strain on the knee joints, others will argue it does no such thing. However, researchers looked at walking distance in patients with intermittent claudication (click here for study). This symptom is typically a result of plaque build up in the peripheral arteries. During period of prolonged exercise these individuals will feel muscle pain, ache, fatigue that is soon remedied by a period of rest. Exercise is an excellent treatment strategy for individuals with intermittent claudication and poling appears to increase walking distance and time.
Nordic walking has been posited to increase energy expenditure above walking alone due to the necessary use of your upper body and core. Moreover, research is being conducted to determine whether urban poling is an effective strategy for alleviating chronic low back pain.
Regardless, urban poling is fun. It can be performed in a group or individually. If you have balance problems or just like more support when walking – urban poling is definitely for you. I recommend you give it a go. This video provides a more detailed explanation of urban poling and its benefits.