Are you looking for a workout that engages 90% of your body’s muscles and is easy to do, even if you’re not athletic? Nordic walking – also called urban poling is that workout. While popular in Europe, it’s been slow to catch on in North America. I’m doing my bit to change that.
On occasion I use poles for hiking, but it’s usually been because of an injury or I know I’ll be crossing streams or descending gnarly, steep slopes. Walking with poles has never been the basis of a workout – though it will be now.
In September I did a full day hike along Pocaterra Ridge in Kananaskis Country with a number of women. Mandy Johnson, a Canmore resident and urban poling master trainer was along on that hike. She brought a pair of urban poles for me to try that are specifically designed for the sport and then gave me a quick lesson on how to use them.
For starters, the poles are lightweight and comfortable. The hand grip is different from a traditional pole in that it has a place to rest your hand at the side – which also acts in such a way that you can press down on the pole and activate your core. Trust me, it’s easy and despite my love of the outdoors, I am usually awful at catching onto anything new.
You can easily adjust the length of the poles. The bottom of the pole has a miniature rubber hiking boot on it that works well on city streets but can be easily removed for hiking in more natural conditions. There are no straps to avoid injuries and I doubt you’ll miss them. Poles are marked with an R and an L – referring to right and left poles.
For a guide on how to use the poles visit the website here for instructions. (It will take 5 minutes for you to become a pro.)
What can Nordic walking /urban poling do for your body because in the end that’s what matters?
- If you keep at it you will develop abs of steel – or at least aluminum. According to the urban poling website you can count on 1,000 abdominal contractions for every kilometre you walk.
- You can wear shortsleeves again as you’ll be sculpting your arms and shoulders.
- Count on burning up to 46% more calories compared to walking. (No wonder I was so hungry after a six hour hike on Pocaterra Ridge.)
- The pole helps take the weight off your hips and knees so you’re likely to have less pain.
Where can you buy urban poles?
Check out the interactive map on the website to see where you can buy poles close to you. Or shop online here. The adventure series poles I have retail for $Cdn119.99.
URBAN POLES GIVEAWAY – Januray 1, 2018
I have one pair of urban poles (adventure series) to give away that would be suitable for anyone weighing up to 225 pounds. To enter please leave a comment on the blog telling me where you’d walk with these poles. The giveaway closes at 6PM MT, January 8, 2018. I will randomly pick a winner at that time and notify the winner who will have 24 hours to respond.
For even more information about these poles visit Canmore based Active by Nature. You can even sign up for a Nordic walking trip to Europe.
Note: The winner of the poles is Barb Marshall. Thanks to all who entered.