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Walking Is A Wonder Drug

Walking Is A Wonder Drug

The number one form of physical activity in Canada and indeed, globally, is walking. It is so enjoyable. It requires no skill acquisition. We have been walking since we were toddlers. You can just step outside and off you go, with the only required equipment being a good pair of walking shoes. No membership fees are required. If it were a drug, it would be making headlines in the print media. It would be a leading topic on TV news because of its illness preventing power, because of its health-restoring potential, because it is more powerful than most drugs for improving mental health. But there is no multi-national corporation selling it so walking is not in the spotlight. Because it is free and doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription, it is hugely under-rated as an effective treatment for so many illnesses. However, google “walking is a wonder drug” and you will see lots of evidence-based articles, from presentations to the Canadian Senate by Green Communities Canada to publications from the Harvard Medical School.

“After four million years of development and improvement, our bodies have been fine-tuned to walk. Evolution has made the ability to walk a priority. Not only have we had to walk for survival – to pick fruit or reach the river, but our bodies have also needed to walk to continue to function normally. In fact, when we stop walking for any length of time, our bodies start to go into decline.” – Walking for Health, Dr. William Bird & Veronica Reynolds


The Additional Benefits of Urban Poling/Nordic Walking

If walking is indeed a wonder drug, then Urban Poling/Nordic walking is the extra, extra strength dose, multiplying and adding to the mental and physical health benefits:

  1. It turns a walk into a full-body workout, utilizing virtually every muscle in your body. This includes all the core muscles of your trunk. When you walk 1 km, you will be contracting your abdominals with every step you take. You take over 1,000 steps when walking a kilometre which means you will contract your abs over 1,000 times by planting the pole with every step you take, pushing on the ledges of your ergonomically designed Urban Poles and powerfully propelling yourself forward.

  2. Because you are using virtually every muscle in your body when Nordic walking, the oxygen consumption and caloric expenditure are increased, compared to walking. On average, the increase in the amount of calories burned compared to simple walking is 20%. Reference:
  3. Regular physical activity helps to regulate blood glucose and increase insulin sensitivity. The more muscles that are used, the greater will be the benefits. This makes Nordic walking one of the best forms of fitness for diabetics and pre-diabetics as it uses 90% of the body’s muscles, providing aerobic and strength training at the same time. It has the potential to slow the progress of type 2 diabetes, reduce the use of medication and even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
  4. The gentle nature of the activity, plus the increased caloric expenditure generated, make it an ideal activity to complement a weight management program.
  5. When utilizing correct technique, the significant downward forces on the poles transfers significant weight from the lower body to the upper body, reducing the stress on the knees, hips and lower back. This frequently results in a lessening or elimination of pain symptoms, making Nordic walking an ideal activity for persons with arthritis, those recovering from lower body injuries and/or surgery and overweight individuals.
  6. When using Nordic walking technique during hiking, it results in less fatigue to the legs and buttocks muscles and more work for the upper body, allowing people to hike longer in comfort. Because the arms and hands are being used, it lessens or prevents the swelling of the hands and fingers that is common on long hiking days. This happens because of the increased blood flow to the extremities caused by the increased cardio activity, but poor return of blood from the hands because they are not being used.
  7. Walking with poles provides people with four points of contact with the ground. This markedly increases stability on all sorts of terrain, 4 seasons of the year. Think of walking with poles as providing humans with 4-wheel drive. This benefit makes Nordic walking the perfect activity for older adults and persons with mobility/balance issues including Parkinson’s, MS, and people recovering from stroke and traumatic head and spinal injury as well as hikers tackling challenging terrain.
  8. Nordic walking promotes excellent posture, combatting the “banana posture” so prevalent today due to prolonged sitting in front of screens.
  9. Because of its excellent aerobic conditioning potential and strength training potential, it is an excellent cross-training activity for athletes. Indeed, Nordic walking originated as off-season training for competitive cross country skiers!
  10. Nordic walking gets people outside, where they can also experience the health enhancing, immune system boosting, mental health improving benefits of immersion in nature – walking amongst trees, walking alongside water, enjoying wonderful scenery, seeing wildlife and wildflowers, hearing the sounds of nature, smelling the intoxicating smells of nature, the texture of natural surfaces underfoot, the thrill of experiencing sunrises, sunsets and starts, to name a few.

What to wear & bring (Spring, Summer, Fall):

  1. Wear comfy casual clothes.
  2. Bring a warm extra layer & rain jacket, just in case.
  3. Running shoes are fine while light trail or hiking shoes provide even more support and are ideal.
  4. Please no flip-flops or sandals.
  5. Leave purses at home. A small backpack is a great bring-along.
  6. Don't forget your water, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, insect repellent and your camera.

What to wear & bring (Winter):

  1. Wear a long sleeve t-shirt/thermal underwear top plus 1 or 2 layers (i.e.: light fleece top, heavier fleece top) & a wind/waterproof shell. Heavy winter parkas and snow pants are usually too warm.
  2. Wear winter boots or lined hiking boots. Icers, which go over your footwear to prevent slipping, are provided when necessary.
  3. Leave purses at home. A small backpack is a great bring-along.
  4. Bring water, gloves/mitts, a hat/headband, scarf/buff/neck warmer, tissues/handkerchief, sunglasses and don't forget your camera!

Reserve OnLine:

It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Simply click the "Book Now" button, select your preferred date to check availability, fill in your personal details and then make a secure payment via credit card. The system will automatically send you a confirmation of your session with the relevant details.

Liability Waiver:

Liability waivers are a necessary part of any commercial activity experience. I recommend that you take the time now to review this legal document that you will be required to sign before we start our clinic or walk together:

View the Waiver

Your Health & Physical Activity Readiness:

We ask guests who are experiencing cold symptoms and symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home and practice self-isolation under the direction of the appropriate governing body. For almost everyone, the benefits of physical activity far outweigh any risks. For some individuals, special advice from a Qualified Exercise or health care provider is advisable before becoming more active. This questionnaire is intended for all ages – to help move you along the path to becoming more physically active.

Please review this Questionnaire if you have concerns about your health or fitness level for participating in Nordic walking.

Cancellation Policy:

Full refunds are given if a cancellation is received 24 hours or more prior to the clinic or tour date. No refunds are given with less than 24 hours notice. Clinics/tours go rain or shine. If the weather is extreme, then it may be cancelled with a full refund given.

Malcolm Hotel

Canmore Public Parking


Parking is available on-street or in public lots throughout Canmore. It is a good idea to arrive early on busy days to locate suitable parking.

Malcolm Hotel - Onsite


Restrooms are available at the Malcolm hotel in the lobby.

Canmore Public Restrooms


Public restrooms are available within a short walk:

Canmore Public Restrooms - Trailheads


Public pit toilets are available at all trailheads.

Canmore Various

Where to meet:

Starting locations will vary seasonally with instructions included in your booking confirmation.


Parking options will vary by location with details included in your booking confirmation.

Tour Canmore

Various Canmore Trailheads

Canmore Walking Tour 1.5 Hour

Canmore Walking Tour 3 Sisters

Hikes Cognito Form

Winter Hikes Cognito Form

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