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Active Living with Walking Poles (Urban Poling)

Posted by admin on February 2, 2020 in Health and exercise, Nordixx Pole Walking, Pole Walking |

It is not uncommon to see someone strolling past with a cane, having to rely on it for balance and stability. But don’t be surprised if you see someone zip past you on the street, propelled by specialized walking poles. This is exactly what participating in a fitness activity called Urban Poling (aka Nordic walking) looks like. Just think of cross-country skiing (minus the skis) in an urban setting!

ACTIVATOR poles are a specialized kind of walking pole designed by a Canadian occupational therapist specifically for rehabilitation and active living. It continues to gain popularity among people looking to prevent falls by staying active. One of these individuals is Bob Lewis, who describes himself as follows:

I am 61, overweight and have Type 2 diabetes and [have] twisted my ankle a few times. Now, with the ACTIVATOR poles, I have no problems with balance, sore feet, or going downhill. I enjoy walking because I don’t have my fears of injury.”

Interestingly, perhaps the most valuable aspect of the poles is that they have a look and feel that represents active living in a way that traditional assistive devices, like canes, do not. Fourteen years since the development of the Activator Poles, many have embraced it as just that – a tool to promote active living. Letty Kurucz agrees with this perception of walking poles. She recalls that when her orthopaedic surgeon recommended a cane for her painful knee joint, she felt depressed and discouraged, perceiving herself as disabled at the age 42 and unable to be actively manage her weight. She felt helpless until she saw someone urban poling. At that moment, she recalls that one word came to mind: “Ability.”

You might be wondering about the benefits of walking with these specialized poles? That’s what Urban Poling Inc. founder and occupational therapist Mandy Shintani wondered after a neighbour from Sweden attributed the health of Scandinavians to their culture of walking and in particular, Nordic walking. Mandy was surprised to find independent research studies showing numerous benefits of pole walking in key factors related to preventing falls (as of December 2019, there are 280+ listed on PubMed!). For example: improving core strength, stability, posture, balance and also confidence for walking. Walking with poles offers these benefits because it engages approximately 90% of a walker’s muscles. Walkers actively swing their arms and shoulders while pressing down on the ledge of the poles’ handles with each step. Doing so contracts the core ab muscles giving the walker a full-body workout.

Conditions like osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, ABI and MS typically produce a stooped posture and a shuffling gait pattern, which are two factors that increase the risk of falls. ACTIVATOR poles support good posture by providing bilateral support while encouraging the walker to stay upright and lift their feet. 

Unfortunately, wintertime presents more challenges for walking due to rough and slippery roadside conditions. As a result, many older adults sometimes report feeling trapped in their homes. While walking on ice is not recommended, there are a few strategies for walking more safely in the winter. For example, taking off the rubber tip from the ACTIVATOR poles and using the carbide steel tip underneath, and also walking with supportive footwear and good treads.

With safety in mind, Mandy developed the ACTIVATOR poles with several features to improve balance and weight-bearing capacity. To learn about the research on the patented ACTIVATOR Poles and the walking technique designed for improving balance, go to www.urbanpoling.com

Whether you love walking and are looking for a way to make the most out of your walks or seeking a solution for fall prevention for your clients, one thing is for sure: adding a set of specialized poles to your walk might just be the answer!

For more information contact:

Dolly Mehta, BSc, MSc, MMgt, Health Promotion and Sales Manager, Urban Poling Inc.





T: 416.319.1900 | T: 1.877.499.7999 | F: 604.990-7715 urbanpoling.com



Health Promotion, Urban Poling Inc., 416-319-1900 www.urbanpoling.com


Posted by admin on January 19, 2020 in Community, Health and exercise |

Urban Poling is excited to be partnering with Mosaic Home Care Services in hosting a free round-table discussion on Winter Walking Safety on January 28 @ 10:30 am at the Armour Heights Armour Heights Presbyterian Church (Community Café)! Please join us to learn all about valuable winter walking and fall prevention safety tips while walking […]

Pictures & a Testimonial from Mosaic’s Winter Holiday Celebration–Special Guest Ori Dagan and

Posted by admin on January 5, 2020 in Community, Community Centres, Events, Holidays - Christmas, Winter Holiday Event |

Here are some pictures from our Winter Holiday Celebration headlined by Ori Dagan. “Award-winning jazz singer, songwriter and recording artist Ori Dagan is taking jazz to new and exciting places. His rich baritone voice and impressive abilities as an improviser produce an instantly recognizable sound. In live performance, he surrounds himself with Canada’s finest musicians, […]

Supporting identity and its opportunity for expression may be a better way of looking at falls risks.

Posted by admin on December 12, 2019 in Falls, Health and exercise, Person Centered Care |

Person centered home care requires sensitivity to the character, identity, wishes and abilities of the person:  Much care provision is still overly focused on completing set tasks, on illness, “age” and the many risks posed by daily living.  Person centered home care is dependent on close collaborative relationships sensitive to the person, their preferences, their […]

REMEMBERING THE PAST AND THE PRESENT (Dina Campeis on November and the Danish term Hygge)

Posted by admin on October 12, 2019 in Keynote |

November. It’s the one month of the year that seems dreary. The days are shorter. The leaves have fallen and the grass is brown. And the cold wind and rain seem to blow right through you. It’s time to cozy up! Pull out the soft blankets and candles (battery-operated candles are fine). If you have […]

What is Music Therapy? By Dorothy M. Davies, BMT, MA, MTA, NMT Fellow

Posted by admin on August 26, 2019 in Life and art, Music and healing |

You don’t need to be a musician to benefit from music therapy. My name is Dorothy Davies and I am an accredited music therapist with advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy. In this article, I will be answering some common questions related to music therapy, including: ● Do I have to know how to sing […]

Exploring your community? Why not MAP IT?

Posted by admin on July 4, 2019 in Community, Mapping, Social and isolation, Third Places |

If you want to remain socially active and connected you might want to take a look at your local community and perhaps then at yourself. Map produced by Community Cafe Member How walkable or bikeable, how friendly, how sociable, how inclusive and how active is your local community? What makes your community tick? How much […]

Mall wide Seniors’ Month event at Mosaic and the Shops on Steeles and 404: Music, Dance and Theatre in Appreciation of Seniors and community

Posted by admin on June 17, 2019 in Community, Community Theatre, Dance, Social and isolation, Third Places |

June 14th was a day for celebrating, for connection, for interests, activities, inclusiveness, multi-cultural engagement and community. It was also a day for showing how we can transform places where people go to transact to one where we can also connect, bump into one another and experience. At Mosaic, with the help of the management […]

Elder Abuse Awareness Day–June 15th

Posted by admin on June 13, 2019 in Elder Abuse & Awareness |

What events are happening in your local area? World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15th.  There are many events happening in and around your communities designed to engage people in awareness and prevention of financial, emotional, physical and sexual abuse of older adults specifically.  A good website for information can be found at Elder […]

On Creating a community or ““My knitting group has broken up,” said mom on the telephone….”

Posted by admin on May 13, 2019 in Community, Creative, Knitting Groups, Mid town |

“My knitting group has broken up,” said mom on the telephone, “but I may have found a new group to join.  We got a flyer at the condo about a knitting group at the CNIB that’s open to the community.” “You should go,” I said.  “Winter is coming and you’ll need something to do. Besides […]

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