for Whole Body "Fresh Air" Health
With the weather warming up, we are promoting one of the best, and easiest, outdoor workouts anywhere - pole walking!
Think this is only for those of a “certain age”? THINK AGAIN!
If you haven't tried this efficient “fresh air” way to build whole body strength, put this on your 2022 to-do list. Pole walking is one of the most versatile outdoor exercise programs you will find, and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. If you can walk - you can pole walk!
Using the simple assistance of poles (much like in cross country skiing) you can walk further, climb hills easier, travel faster, and avoid the joint stresses created in high impact exercise such as running.
Use pole walking as a whole body fitness activity to:
Build core strength - Feel up to 1000 abdominal contractions per kilometre, every time you push off with poles!
Reduce stress on hips, knees and ankles – Avoid the joint stress of high impact activities like running by offloading your legs to distribute forces more evenly between the upper and lower body,
Strengthen your upper body - Poling uses up to 75% of the muscles in your body, including those hard-to-get-at arm and shoulder areas.
Improve posture - Strengthening the core and upper back lets you stand and sit taller, with less strain on the neck and shoulders.
Burn calories - Poling uses up to 46% more than walking on it's own.
Balance blood sugar levels - Research has shown that exercise such as brisk walking helps your muscles use glucose effectively and increases insulin sensitivity, which can help lower blood sugar levels.
Stress release - Poling provides a meditative rhythm that calms the nervous system and lifts your mood.
What is “Pilates” Pole Walking?
You can apply the same movement principles we use in Pilates to achieve healthy movement while pole walking. Like Pilates, we recommend that you seek qualified instruction as you learn a new form of exercise. Efficient technique is important when doing any repetitive movement to achieve optimal muscle balance and avoid injuries. Here’s why technique counts when learning to pole walk:
You are learning to “walk with four legs instead of two”
With poles, you are weight bearing on all four limbs – using your arms like another pair of legs. Mastering a fluid cross-patterning of the upper and lower body with a few simple cues and a bit of practice will have you pole walking like a pro (and not like those unfortunate people you may have seen using them more like canes for support).
You are activating your arms
Incorporating accurate shoulder mechanics avoids straining the arms and shoulders. This involves moving the upper arm and scapulae optimally in relation to each other, rather than simply swinging your forearm from the elbow.
Gripping the poles too tightly can aggravate the forearm and wrists, so choose ergonomically designed poles (without straps) that encourage transferring weight from the arm into the shoulder and upper back. Poles with straps are more difficult to use and may result in excess tension in the arms, shoulders and neck. Look for poles that have a handle that allows you to engage the outside of the hand and arm as you press down.
You will discover your “power stride”
The same walking cues we teach with Pilates apply to pole walking, only more so! The assistance of the poles provides extra power that can lengthen and strengthen your stride. Gradually increase your stride length and travel distance as you will be using muscles more intensely and in a bigger range of motion. It can be helpful to have your gait assessed to develop personalized cues that can help you walk with more balanced and efficient muscle patterning.
You can personalize your pole walking!
You can adjust the intensity of your pole walking sessions in many ways, either by modifying your pace, or by learning more advanced pole walking techniques such as “pole running” or the double pole "canter" (a VPC exclusive).
The VPC can show you how to pole walk with confidence – the Pilates way!
Join a class or book a private session with Mairin Wilde to discover the joy of “four-legged walking”.
Bring your own poles or purchase the UrbanX pole from the VPC, which we believe is a superior pole walking product. We also have “loaners” for you to try in a private session before you buy.