Walking with trekking poles & Parkinson’s Disease

         It’s that time of year again. The start of a new year, a time where you make resolutions for the year ahead of you and set goals to improve your health, career, relationships and try something new. In particular, if you are an individual with Parkinson’s Disease, you know the importance of exercise for your health and may be looking to make exercise a priority for 2017. When looking to begin an exercise program, walking is a great place to start and provides a variety of ways to challenge yourself. A walking program can be progressed by increasing distance, increasing speed, varying terrain and using additional exercise equipment. A tool we utilize in the clinic is trekking poles and here is some information to help learn more about the their use with walking.

Benefits of walking with trekking poles

Walking for exercise can be an effective way to get an aerobic workout, but by using trekking poles, you can find even more health benefits. Specific to Parkinson’s disease, the benefits are:

Active use of your upper body – the use of trekking poles provides the opportunity to engage your upper body beyond what would occur while with walking without poles. By pushing off on the poles with your arms, you increase the amount of trunk rotation and range of motion used, your posture becomes more upright, and your upper body strength improves.

Balance support – trekking poles can be used for balance support, increasing your confidence and your ability to walk at a faster pace. This can allow you to increase your walking speed and get a more challenging workout. You may then be able to focus on other challenges while walking, including taking longer strides and  increasing the distance walked.

Increased effort – scientific studies have found that using trekking poles increases your level of effort, increases your heart rate, and causes you to burn @15% more calories compared to normal walking

A prop for stretching – the trekking poles can be used as a prop for stretches prior to and after a walk, allowing for increased flexibility and improved posture

FUN! – adding in a new twist on your walking routine can be energizing and give you the spark to keep your exercise routine exciting.
When looking to start using trekking poles as part of your exercise routine, reach out to your Physical Therapist or a community exercise program to:

Learn how to size the trekking poles for maximal efficiency and comfort

Learn how to walk properly using trekking poles, proper form and technique.

Learn new skills: learn how to use the trekking poles to ascend/descend curbs and stairs, climb and descend hills
Start 2017 off strong, set your goals for exercise and try something new!



02 Jan, 2017

Physical Therapy


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