September 25, 2020

BY WESLEY BUTLER

People with diabetes should consider using Nordic poles when they walk, because scientific studies have proven that they reduce insulin resistance, resulting in lower doses of medication being needed.

According to Nordixx Pole Walking Canada, Nordic pole walking also burns up to 46 per cent more calories than regular walking, helps to eliminate back, shoulder and neck pain, and lowers high blood pressure.

And, oxygen uptake, heart rate and energy expenditure goes up approximately 20 per cent when walking with poles.

“Nordic poles engage 90 per cent of your body muscles, so you’ll see a 20 to 30 per cent increase in cardio,” said Ron Baines, president of Dynamic Strides Inc., a company that sells Nordic poles. “Those numbers will be different for everyone, but that’s usually the result.”

Nordic pole walking has become an effective tool in cardiovascular, orthopedic and cancer rehabilitation. It also delivers therapeutic benefits for people with health issues and chronic diseases.

Baines recommends using Nordic poles every time someone exercises, because they can strengthen body muscles after one use, and can be used by anyone. A basic pair costs $64.95, and a pair with detachable hand straps costs $79.95.

“People are very pleased with the poles,” said Baines. “Once they learn how to use them, they’re well on their way.”

Dynamic Strides Inc. was founded in July 2011 by Baines and his wife, Valerie Armada, a Nordic pole walking instructor and nutrition specialist.

Armada became interested in Nordic poles after seeing two women walking with them six years ago. She didn’t know what they were at first, but she eventually discovered their purpose and decided to teach others how to use them.

For people who want to become certified Nordic pole walking instructors, Dynamic Strides offers two types of training sessions, one for instructors and one for group leaders. Group leader sessions are usually held for three hours depending on the number of people, and instructor sessions are held for six hours. These sessions are more in-depth, providing background information on Nordic poles.

An introductory session consists of about 25 minutes of teaching, followed by a one-hour group walk. Afterwards, Baines and Armada offer tips to people who may be struggling with the poles.

“In just a year and a half, Nordic pole walking has become popular in our region,” said Armada. “People love them because they’re easy to use and good for your health.”

This past summer, Dynamic Strides Inc. sponsored an event in Thunder Bay that attempted to break a world record for the most people walking with Nordic poles at once. Although the goal of having more than 1,026 people wasn’t reached, Armada was still pleased at the number of people who attended.

“There were times when people would make fun of Nordic poles, saying we forgot our skis and snow was coming,” she said. “But that’s slowly changing as they learn their benefits.”