Exercise and pole walking

I finally got around to trying the poles when I was hiking. I think I prefer my trusty old walking stick to the poles, although I did find them helpful when I hit flat ground again. They are a wonderful way to keep rhythm in one's walk and to keep moving forward. I have noticed that a majority of the hikers in my age group, late middle age or early old age, are using the poles when they hike. Most of my PD effect is on my right side so the walking stick held in my right hand works pretty well for me when hiking, but when I'm in town walking I definitely like the poles.

11 Replies

  • Hi Enidah. It is interesting hearing about the poles.

    I found, many years ago, that Pd. affects many of the movements we make that we don't have to think about. Walking is one of them. We don't have to think about moving our legs when we walk, our brain does that for us.

    Here comes the snag! When we get Pd, our brain struggles to communicate with our limbs and the result is that some of us start to shuffle and stumble. What I found was that I was able to CONSCIUOSLY take longer strides and to support the weight of my body on the toes of the back foot, while walking. That got rid of the shuffle. SIMPLE!

    You have to CONSCIOUSLY WORK your poles and maybe even your legs as well, because they have to be coordinated. Whatever works, use it!


  • I find I can move so quickly with the poles, that I get a decent cardio workout. It is fun, too , to be so mobile & to be able to keep up with non pd sufferers! Love the poles.

  • There are two sorts of walking poles which are used quite differently. I'm presuming you're talking about what Europeans call Nordic Walking Poles, rather than the hiking poles. Nordic Poles are held at roughly 45 degs angle, the tips remain behind you and they are used with a straight arm ideally, to push yourself forward. On the other hand, Hiking poles take your weight more. Since I took up Nordic Walking my stance is more upright and using the poles correctly forces me to swing my arms from the shoulder. It also encourages a longer stride and increases upper body strength.

  • Do you use them in the city? I live downtown so I would be self conscious walking around with poles...should I be?

  • I live in a small town in UK. I took my husband out with me the first time in case anyone laughed at me, now I don't care. One man asked me where the snow was once, otherwise people just admire my grit determination to do my three miles whatever the weather!

  • Thank you for this information. I just found the booklet that came with the poles and it says Nordic walking. I didn't realize there were different kinds. Now I will definitely read the booklet and watch the disc.

  • There's quite a special technique. I've been learning with a one to one instructor. There are lots of videos on YouTube too. I find it hard to keep my arms straight and swinging from the shoulder. I hope your poles are adjustable. I had mine too long at first. Good luck

  • I appreciate your response and admire your determination ❤️

  • Thank you for all your responses. I use Exerstrider poles. The first time I used them in town I decided to not be self conscious. Since I've gotten older, and especially since I've gotten PD, I care less and less what people think. I also have gotten the, where is the snow, comment. The poles are a wonderful way to walk consciously and I am learning to use them while walking very fast. At first I found this almost impossible. With hiking they are especially useful coming down, to give more support. They came with a booklet and a disc, I should track those down and watch the disc. I'm terrible about reading instructions.

  • I love my leki walking poles. I use them mainly in the neighboring park. I also use them in a shopping mall as it gets quite cold here in Wisconsin. Great for balance.

  • Enidah, thanks for posting about the poles. I think you've encouraged me to give them a try, once the weather warms up.

You may also like...