That WALKING WITH POLES burns 20 - 46% MORE CALORIES than without poles?

By Dr. Agnes Coutinho, MSc Exercise Physiology, PhD Endocrinology,Researcher, Kinesiologist &Professor of Fitness & Health /Humber College/Guelph U

A recent article on the CTV News website discussed a study which found that “people with a glucose-tolerance problem – a driver of diabetes and cardiovascular disease – can cut the risk of heart attack or stroke by simply walking an additional 2,000 steps per day.” http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/2-000-extra-steps-a-day-could-cut-heart-disease-risk-study-1.1602032 Most people already know that walking is beneficial for heart health, however, some might not be aware that the activity of urban poling (also known as Nordic walking), with a twist to regular walking where one walks with the addition of specialized poles, has greater health and fitness benefits than regular walking! Here are some quick facts:

What is Urban Poling?

Urban poling is one of the fastest growing forms of fitness and rehab in Canada. It involves walking with a set of poles specifically designed for this activity, which you plant on the ground after you swing your arms forward to “propel” yourself further with each step. Adding the poles to your walk engages your core muscles in a way that regular walking does not. By simply walking 1 mile with the poles, you will achieve 1800 abdominal muscle contractions (!) and since walking with the poles engages 90% of your muscles, you will burn 20 - 46% more calories, than if you walked without poles. Since walking with the poles engages parts of your body that regular walking does not, such as your arms, shoulders, back and especially your core muscles, you will achieve both a cardiovascular and a resistance workout all in one walk!

Why Are Many Canadians Choosing Urban Poling?

Urban Poling Inc. is the leading provider of walking poles in Canada, specializing in poles that can be used both for fitness and rehab (the ACTIVATOR poles). Urban poles are the only poles on the market that are co-designed by an Occupational Therapist and fitness educator Mandy Shintani (MSc Gerontology), one of the founders of Urban Poling Inc.. All of the Urbanpoles have a uniqueergonomic handle designed to provide maximum comfort and safety while activating the core muscles, as well as 3 different anti-vibration systems build in to eliminate reverberations through the body that could result from the poles hitting the ground. However, what sets Urban Poling Inc. apart most is the ongoing commitment to education (through specific programs and certifications) as well as the supply of not only the best poles, but also ongoing support of walking programs on an individual level, as well as in communities and health/wellness centers across the country.

The use of poles has been proven effective both for fall prevention as well as cardiovascular rehabilitation. Currently, there are a number of hospitals across Canada which recommend the Urbanpoles as part of a discharge packages for patients who have experienced a cardiac event or stroke. In addition, physiotherapists and doctors are prescribing the ACTIVATOR poles in the place of canes and walkers, and they are also being included in the discharge suggestions for those who have undergone hip or knee surgery as well as spinal stenosis. A study published at the end of 2013 by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, concluded that walking with poles is superior to standard cardiac rehab, even for those following mild to moderate heart failure.

There are a growing number of medical publications highlighting the health related benefits of walking with poles. A recent review summarized the benefits of this activity and highlighted the protective and beneficial effects on: weight management, cardiac health, peripheral arterial disease, diabetes. It also showed evidence for benefits for patients with, Parkinson’s disease, COPD, Fibromyalgia and general pain as well as those undergoing breast cancer rehabilitation. For heart patients specifically, and also those interested in preventing heart disease, in addition to the obvious benefits of weight loss (reduction of both total fat mass and waist circumference), walking with poles has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood cholesterol levels, plus increase peak aerobic activity and exercise capacity (with greater benefit compared to walking without poles). Other studies report benefits in mental health and improvements in general quality of life.

So, what do you think? - why not get UP and walk to get the most out of each step you take!


  • Chomiuk et al. (2013) The influence of systematic pulse-limited physical exercise on the parameters of the cardiovascular system in patients over 65 years of age. Arch Med Sci 9(2): 201-209
  • Keast et al. (2013)Randomized trial of Nordic walking in patients with moderate to severe heart failure.Can J Cardiol.29(11):1470-6
  • Suijra et al. (2009) Physical activity of depressed patients and their motivation to exercise: Nordic Walking in family practice. Int J Rehabil Res. 32(2):132-8
  • Tschentscher et al. (2013) Health Benefits of Nordic Walking A Systematic Review. Am J Prev Med. 44(1):76-84
  • Urban Poling Inc. (ed. 2014) The Urban Poling Nordic Walking Instructor Certification Level One. Printed originally in 2006.


WALK OF LIFE - 30th Anniversary Special

Urban Poling is an amazing from of physical activity, targeting core muscles while providing an excellent cardiovascular workout. Purchase a pair of Urban Poles between now and the WALK OF LIFE and receive 15% off your online purchase. 10% will be donated to the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada.

  • Join the Urban Poling Team on May 25th 2014 and pole with us to raise funds for the WALK OF LIFE. www.urbanpoling.com
    Promo code: WALKOFLIFE

The articles, on the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada website, are presented with the understanding that the Foundation is providing information only and not rendering medical advice. Please check with your family physician, specialist or health care professional before implementing any of the ideas expressed in these articles.