Walking, fast or otherwise

Those of you who walk for exercise, can you walk longer by using a cane or nordic poles? A friend let me try out his nordic poles the other day and another friend got me an adjustable cane. Both felt awkward. How long does it take to get comfortable and is it worth the investment of time? I can't do my old dance workout anymore, at least on many days.

Thank you!

15 Replies

  • Hi Beckey- I have given the poles several tryouts and still am not comfortable with them. I can't seem to get comfortable with them or get a good rhythm going and now my shoulder hurts which may or may not be related. I think they are beneficial if one can make the adjustment because they helped my posture and made me take longer strides. I'll try them again when my shoulder quits hurting...carefully. I use a walking stick for hiking but its not much help on level places. Good luck with this!

  • Thanks!

  • You need to be taught the correct technique to use Nordic poles and it takes a bit practice. It's Good for many reason in that it is a whole body workout when done correctly.

  • Beckey - l love my Leki walking poles. Couldn't get through my walk without them. Great sense of balance. Been using them for 3 years. I find I glide along with them.

    Of course you have to find what works for you. Such an individualistic disease.

    I walk mainly in a local park. If I walk at a mall I only use one walking stick to give me a sense of balance.

  • I'mi use Leki poles too.

    I bought them with the last wage I received before my contract was terminated due to ill health. Expensive, yet worth every penny. I use one more than two, only because I have a small dog I walk.

    They also make me feel more inclusive as so many other people use them too.

    Good luck getting used to yours xx

  • Poppy how do you manage your dog? I pictured when I first got mine we would take lots of brisk, energetic walks. No such luck! He wants to go slow and examine every centimeter of sidewalk (which I've come to think of as "doggie facebook." I do more standing than walking!

  • I have a dog like yours. Mine must be a vegetarian as she stops and tastes every plant, most not edible.

    I have a little luck with a special collar that gets her attention as she gets transfixed by a squirrel in a tree.

    I love that dog (Josie). I guess this has nothing to do with PD. Maybe that's a good thing.



  • Beckey, what Hikoi and Attyj say.

    A mistake I made early on was to land the poles far ahead of me. Things clicked when I learned to land a pole equal with where the forward foot is about to land on the opposite side. This gets you a sense of pushing-off rather than pulling forward and engages more of your body than just your arms (and aching shoulder.) Sticks also keep me more vertical rather than doing that forward lean.

    In addition to covering more territory with 'em than w/o them, sticks've been great for getting me to rotate the torso more, and they can restore some semblance of swivel. (Emphasis on 'semblance' there....) Hope you can make them work.

  • i love the nordic poles. takes a bit to get used to, but if u keep at it, u will soon get used to them. they are really good for your heart rate too bc u r using your arms as well...

  • Too get the best out of the poles, you should really go on an introductory Nordic walking course as there is a specific technique - it may be that you are holding them like traditional poles whereas the Nordic poles are held at an angle in a sort of pushing off way -. Nordic walking started as a summer exercise for cross country skiers. Age UK do free courses - there may be one nearby. I don't know how old you have to be. Several county councils do intro. courses as well

  • I agree with all replies so far. Nordic Poles are good because they encourage arm swing, upright posture and bigger stride. They also give a more total workout. However the technique is important and needs to be correct. I recommend a Nordic walking group or course. YouTube has some instructional videos too. It does take time to get the technique but is worth the persistence!

  • I am still able to XX Ski so the poles are similar, I take it. I haven't tried walking with them yet.

  • Agree with comments about technique and instruction for Nordic Walking. But there is also another design of pole called 'Exerstrider Stability' that requires a different technique. They are designed to aid balance and have a different grip, good for anyone with hand function difficulties.

  • Hi Becky. I am very impresssed with everbody who is looking for ways of walking better or easier, and also those who want to walk faster. My feeling is that walking fast produces the GDNF in our brains and the GDNF repairs those damaged brain cells or replaces those damaged brain cells. That is, in my opinion, and the reason why we should all be doing fast walking.

    The other reason for using nordic poles is to give us a feeling of balance and safety. Both of those reasons sound good to me.

    But if you are able to walk fast and you feel safe walking fast then you don't need to use nordic poles!

    Good luck to all of you doing the walking, you are on the right track.


  • I've been lucky that in the first 10 years after diagnosis my walking was barely affected (4mph, 10 mile walks common), but over the last year in addition to my forward stoop I've developed a side ways tilt, which gives me back pain after about 5 miles. Dystonia?

    Anyway, last week I thought I'd try Nordic walking in the hope it might improve my posture, both forward and back and side to side. So, I picked up my old cross-country ski poles, and off I went. Great fun. But a pity that you can't slide down hill for free!

    Does anyone know the relationship between the length of Nordic walking poles as compared with cross-country ski poles?


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