Use it or lose it. We all have heard the phrase. This is especially true for older people who slow down and become increasingly less active — either due to illness, injury or just the natural aging process — and therefore lose mobility, strength and independence. Nordic Walking is no total fountain of youth, but it does show real promise in enabling the elderly to keep on using it so that they won’t lose it.
Peggy Buchanan, IDEA Health & Fitness 1997 Fitness Instructor of the Year and spokesperson on older adult fitness, conducted the first eight-week pilot study with 13 subjects averaging 87 years of age. This group, small to be sure but nevertheless enlightening and encouraging, traded in their canes and walkers for Exerstrider fitness walking poles. She observed, “People with canes and walkers tend to see themselves as ‘invalids,’ but the same people with walking poles more often feel like ‘athletes.’ Those who traded in both walkers and canes immediately began walking with a more upright posture and their gate pattern went from a ‘shuffle’ to a more normal walking gait.”
She continued, “The psychological benefits may have been just as important as the physical benefits.”Using walking poles can aid in providing balance, confidence and relief for painful joints, and at the same time they can also help build upper-body muscles and aid in preventing bone loss, as walking becomes a total-body, weight-bearing activity.” As a result, Nordic Walkers have an increased self-image and also because Nordic Walking is fun and also feels secure, pole users tend to remain more active, which in turn makes them stronger and more agile — and all that jazz.
To address the needs of this market Exerstrider ‘s new Activator Medisport Edition is the company’s first adjustable-length pole since it was established in 1988. This pole utilizes the same type of “snap button/hole length adjustment” mechanism commonly used on canes and walkers. Physical therapists are familiar with it, and people with limited land strength can manage it too. Other features familiar to Exerstrider users are the strapless/safety ergonomic grips and boot-shaped Cushiongrip rubber caps (plus an optional bell-shaped balance tip for people with balance issues).
Exerstrider was a pioneer in bringing fitness walking with poles to North America, and it is again ont he forefront of meeting the Nordic Walking needs of a totally different demographic group.