Walking has been shown to be a simple and effective exercise choice for individuals with Parkinson’s. Current research confirms that the use of Nordic walking poles provides many benefits over and above the basic aerobic workout of walking. I’ve been enjoying introducing the Parkinson’s Support Group along with a class of 20 here in Green Valley to Nordic Walking this winter.
Benefits of Poles for Parkinson’s include:
1. Improved posture due to greater activation of back and core muscles
2. Promotes longer strides with better foot clearance, less shuffling and risk of falls
3. More intentional use of arms leads to increased arm swing and symmetrical movements of the whole body
4. Increased stability on uneven surfaces due to a wider base of support
5. Up to 30% increased cardiovascular fitness with better oxygenation
6. Decreased fatigue – a low rate of perceived exertion while walking with poles
7. Less pain – poles provide off-loading and support of lower joints (back, knees, hips)
8. More confidence while walking and moving
9. The rhythm of the poles and the all body workout is very soothing to the body and mind, resulting in less depression and anxiety
There is a technique associated with Nordic walking that is different from hiking. It begins with an upright posture and then stepping and swinging opposite arm and leg with the poles in a slight backward angle instead of up in front of your body. Most walkers immediately realize they are standing taller and more upright with each step. As each stage of Parkinson’s brings new challenges the use of the poles can be modified to help support balance and maintain mobility as needed.
Nordic walking poles are different from hiking poles. It is beneficial to use a Nordic walking pole for safe and effective results. There are choices of poles with straps, (ex. LEKI Spins) or without straps, (ex. UrbanPoling Activator). The poles can also be used both standing and seated for stretching and strength exercises.
Nordic walking vs Pole walking – differences in poles
Just to get you excited about Nordic walking as a new way to move with Parkinson’s
uk video with Parkinson’s group walking
If you enjoy podcasts, Mary Tweed and her Walking on Air programs are very good!
Walking On Air podcast – Nordic walking and Parkinson’s
Nordic Walking Introductory Programs for Parkinson’s Support Groups offered by Linda Lemke, certified Nordic Walking and Urban Poling Instructor. Demo poles will be provided for use during the presentations. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.