“Urban Poling” has arrived in the district as a new way to get people up and moving.
It is a combination between cross-country skiing for the upper body and walking for the lower body, explained Aimee Beazley, the Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living program worker with the United Native Friendship Centre here.
“There’s definitely a technique to ‘poling,’” she remarked. “It’s not like you can just go and grab a set of poles and walk.”
When using the proper technique, you’re using 90 percent of your body’s muscles, noted Beazley, while expending 46 percent more calories than regular walking.
Through the UNFC, there are two programs going with urban poling—one Wednesdays at 2 p.m. for a 55+ group and the other Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. for anyone else who is interested.
The groups meet to start their walk at the pavilion across from La Verendrye Hospital on Front Street.
“I’m basically doing it because I like to be outdoors and I like to be active,” said Gloria Bergner, who is a part of the 55+ group.
“It’s something new—it’s the ‘in’ thing now, so [I decided to] give it a try it for a while,” she added, noting it’s not extremely physical but still good exercise for those interested in doing it for health.
Beazley said she first became interested in “Urban Poling” as an activity geared for the 55+ crowd, which is why she went to Thunder Bay in June to take a course to become an instructor.
“I’m a runner so I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” she admitted. “But when I went there, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the workout that you get when doing it.
“We went for our walk and, seriously, within 20 minutes I was sweating,” she recalled.
She also said her instructor at the time told them they could be expected to be stopped while doing the activity by people curious about what they were doing.
“It’s still walking,” Beazley stressed. [But] when you’re just walking, you’re using your muscles just from the waist down.
“When you’re ‘poling,’ you’re using your muscles basically from your neck down.
“So, basically, you’re using your core—you’re using your arms, you’re using your legs, your glutes, everything.”
After taking the course, Beazley said she was “pumped” because she knew it would be something residents in this district would be interested in.
Holding a workshop in Emo on Sept. 17, Beazley ended up selling 20 sets of poles to those interested in taking it up.
Some participants in the program have their own poles, she noted, while she also has poles participants can use.
The poles also fold up so they can be taken anywhere—and can be used both indoors and outdoors, on trails, snow, and “anywhere,” Beazley enthused.
“The more people we can get, the better,” she added, encouraging people to try it out.
“It’s for any age, it’s for any fitness level, anybody can do it,” she remarked, pointing out that runners can use the poles as part of their cross-training.
Or there are many people in the community who go on daily walks—and “poling” easily can change up their exercise regime.
“People who [walk] every day for the past 15 years or whatever, [they] get to that plateau,” she explained.
“So now these walkers can grab a set of poles and it’s just going to bring their walk to that next level, where they’re going to notice a difference in their workouts and their bodies,” she said.