Studies indicate 85 per cent of adult Canadians are already walking as a main form of exercise. The question is, will they keep it up? Experts at Origin Active Lifestyle Communities place walking at the top of the list of ways for seniors to keep fit, and with this in mind are taking steps to certify staff in their retirement facilities across Canada in Nordic Pole walking.
We wanted to provide a form of exercise that everyone can relate to and are not intimidated to try, said Carrie Erickson-Lawes, National Manager of Life Enrichment Programs at Origin. Pole walking is a more effective way of walking. Its better for posture and balance, it engages more muscles and using the poles can increase a cardiovascular workout by as much as 28 per cent.
Origin has partnered with Urban Poling Inc, a Canadian-based company to train and certify Origin fitness staff. Branded as the Power Stride program, pole walking will be added to Origins roster of trademarked programs to keep seniors living a healthy, active lifestyle.
Poling has a huge psychological benefit for seniors who commonly fear falling. The poles provide added stability and slowly builds confidence, said Lawes.
Origin experts stress the need for proper form to achieve the maximum fitness benefits of poling.
- Keep an eye on posture. Ensure a straight spine, tucked tummy, eyes forward, lowered chin and shoulders relaxed.
- Keep a relaxed grip. This will prevent muscle strain.
- Be aware of uncoordinated arm and leg movement. Beginners often plant the left pole as the left leg is swinging forward. Though this is not a natural walking motion, it is a common result of over-thinking poling technique. Stop and start over with the poles dragging behind. Exaggerate the arm movements again until the technique becomes more natural.
- Enjoy! The most important aspect of poling is the ability to have fun while getting some exercise.