Staying physically active during our present COVID-19 season can be challenging with gyms, fitness and recreation centres closed. Many of our favourite parks and trails are closed also. However, as long as we are not under complete lockdown, as long as people are not sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19 and maintain the government mandated 2 metres of separation at all times, getting and staying active outdoors in your neighbourhood is still being encouraged and may be key to staying healthy.
Urban poling, Canada’s unique Nordic walking technique, is an activity that shines in our present circumstances. First of all, it is ideally suited to walking in your neighbourhood, whatever the walking surface is. If it is a paved or concrete surface or loose gravel, the poles are used with their rubber shock absorbing tips on. If it is still snowy where you live, or your trails are packed dirt or grassy, then remove the rubber tips and use the carbide end on the poles. Urban poling is like taking the gym with you for a walk. You work virtually every muscle in your body, everything from the neck down, maximizing the effectiveness of every walking minute. As an example of how effective this activity is, when you walk a kilometre, you take at least 1000 steps. With every single step you take, you contract your abdominal muscles. It is pretty simple math to figure out that when you walk a kilometre, you contract your abdominals at least 1000 times. Given that tidbit of information, why would you EVER want to walk without poles? Not only does pole walking turn a walk into a total body workout, you burn on average 20% more calories, have enhanced stability and Nordic walking can help to improve your posture.
Using the correct Nordic walking technique is important to get the most out of this activity. Many people have the misconception that Nordic walking poles are no different than hiking poles and the way you use them is the same. However, there is a very specific technique for Urban poling that involves keeping your arm straight, swinging it from the shoulder joint, planting the pole on about a 45 degree angle behind you and pressing downwards and backwards on the specially designed ledge of the pole handle to powerfully propel you forward. The arm action is very similar to cross-country skiing, but without the skis. Urban Poling Inc.has some simple-to-follow instructional videos you can watch. A quick one minute overview of the technique can be seen HERE. More detailed instructions on how set up your poles correctly and how to perfect this technique are available via a short video HERE (scroll down to How to Do the Urban poling Technique).
Do not make the mistake of picking up a cheap and vastly inferior product that you will regret in very short order. Urban Poling Inc. poles not only have the unique ledge built into the handle, but the handles are strapless to avoid a serious thumb injury that is very common should you fall while strapped in to poles. Urban Poles also feature a superior locking system for fixing the adjustable 2 or 3 sections at the correct height, which will fluctuate depending on the terrain you are on. Urban Poles have built-in shock absorbing and anti-vibration features that make them so smooth and comfortable to use on hard surfaces like paved recreation pathways, sidewalks and rocky surfaces. I still have my original pair of poles purchases 12 years ago for $99.99. That brings the cost of the poles down to $8 per year and to 7 cents per month. I use the poles many, many times per month, bringing the cost per use to a mere fraction of a penny! My Urban Poles are used everywhere from city streets to hiking mountain peaks. They are my constant companions on snowshoeing trips and I even prefer to use them for downhill skiing, as I have had the painful skier’s thumb injury twice from falling while strapped in to the poles.
Urban Poles can be used for indoor walking as well, with the boot tips on. They can also be used in performing an endless variety of stretching and strengthening exercises. Here is a small sampling to get you started: 10 Urban Poling Desk Exercises.
With your poles in hand and set up to the correct length, if you do a quick measurement, you will find the combined distance of your extended straight arm and your pole will be close to 6 ft or very close to 2 metres…. Perfect for evaluating the size of your personal space while out and about! Don’t let spring showers deter you. Dress for the occasion and find some puddles to jump in! Being outdoors is wonderful for improving your state of mind, for stimulating your brain cells and for flooding your bloodstream with endorphins, the “happy hormones.”
Research has shown that being active, in nature, boosts your immune system. Get outside and let the “plant, push and propel” action of Urban Poling propel you to health and happiness.
Urban Poles can be ordered on-line and will ship to your home within a matter of days. Use the discount code ABCMJ on regularly priced on-line items to earn a 10% discount. Now is the time to UP your fitness routine!