10 Reasons to Try Urban Poling for Parkinson’s
Published: October 12, 2022

Written by Tim Hague Sr., Founder and Executive Director of U-Turn Parkinson’s

I was personally first introduced to ‘pole walking’ at a Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery retreat I had the pleasure of speaking at. This was not the first time I had seen this, what was to me, a strange phenomenon that left me wondering if the user had lost their skis or were they severely handicapped. Of course, this dim witted response on my part was quickly put to rest.

 The benefits

If you are looking for a more intense workout over regular walking? Pole walking burns more calories, tones your core and at the same time takes pressure off your lower joints.  It’s versatile for hiking, winter walking & snowshoeing. And, of course, these beautiful, warm summer days we have been having! During the retreat I learned firsthand how effective this pole of walking can be when I pulled a low abdominal muscling trying to ‘race’ another participant. When done correctly, which is very easy to learn, pole walking can be effective as an additional tool in our arsenal of exercises.

Here are 10 reasons to try urban poling.

  • 1. It whittles your waist – Your abs tighten each time you push off with your poles. That’s the equivalent of 1,000 abdominal contractions every kilometre or 1,800 each mile!

  • 2. Your knees and hips will thank you – The poles let you offload weight from your hips and knees into your upper body. You can walk further, faster or even pain-free.

  • 3. It revs up the calorie burning – Research proves it over and over again: urban poling burns up to 20 to 46% more calories than standard walking. Wow!

  • 4. It sculpts your arms and shoulders – Urban poling uses 75 percent of your muscles—especially those underused upper body muscles. Hello short sleeves!

  • 5. It helps balance your blood sugar – The full-body urban poling workout helps keep blood sugars in a healthy range.

  • 6. You’ll straighten up and feel more confident – Your upper back muscles (the ones that pull your shoulders back) tighten each time you plant your poles and press down on the ergonomic handles.

  • 7. It’s a fun social workout – Invite your friends, your parents & your kids to enjoy all the health benefits with you.

  • 8. It’s an amazing stress buster – The smooth rhythmic action provides a distraction from everyday concerns and lifts your mood.

  • 9. You can adjust the intensity – Urban poling is an energizing activity that can be enjoyed by people of any age and athletic ability. Just press on the ergonomic handles with more or less intensity to modify your pace.

  • 10. It’s a great running alternative – Hit the trails or your neighbourhood sidewalks on your own or with a gang of friends. Urban poling offers the same year-round fresh-air experience as running—but without jarring and jostling your joints.

Get involved with Pole Walking at U-Turn Parkinson’s!

In partnership with Active Aging in Manitoba, we have held two demonstration classes this summer and fall.  We hope that with adequate interest from the community, to launch a regular pole walking class in the near future. Stay tuned for more information or reach out to to express interest.