Could walking poles help me get more out of my daily walk?

Answer From Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.

Walking poles work your arms, shoulders, chest and upper back muscles through a functional range of motion as you walk — which can help you turn your daily walk into a full-body workout. This activity is sometimes called Nordic walking.

Most walking poles have rubber tips that grab the pavement and wrist straps that secure the poles to your arms. With one walking pole in each hand, you grip the handles and push off with each stride. Sturdier walking poles designed for hiking are known as hiking or trekking poles.

Consider the benefits of walking poles:

  • The arm movement associated with walking poles adds intensity to your aerobic workout, which helps you burn more calories.
  • Walking poles improve balance and stability.
  • Walking poles help you maintain proper posture, especially in the upper back, and may help to strengthen upper back muscles.
  • Walking poles take some of the load off your lower back, hips and knees, which may be helpful if you have arthritis or back problems.
  • Walking with poles may improve your mood.

Walking poles in various fixed or adjustable lengths are available online and in many sporting goods stores.

Nov. 29, 2017 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. 10,000 steps
  2. 5K training schedule
  3. Exercise warm-up
  4. Aerobic exercise
  5. Aerobic exercise: What's the best frequency for workouts?
  6. Air pollution and exercise
  7. Ankle weights for fitness walkers
  8. Barefoot running shoes
  9. Buying athletic shoes? Check your arch
  10. Buying new workout shoes? Get the right fit
  11. Choose the right walking shoes
  12. Cycle your way to better health
  13. Do you need to warm up before you exercise?
  14. Elliptical machines: Better than treadmills?
  15. Exercise: Are you working hard enough?
  16. Exercise for weight loss: Calories burned in 1 hour
  17. Exercise: How much do I need?
  18. Exercise intensity
  19. Exercising: Does taking the stairs count?
  20. Exercising? Take it up a notch
  21. Focus on fit when shoe shopping
  22. Walking schedule
  23. Healthy heart for life: Avoiding heart disease
  24. How much exercise do you need?
  25. Interval Training
  26. Kids and exercise
  27. Vary your cardiovascular workouts
  28. Exercise and opioids
  29. Interval training
  30. Should people with atrial fibrillation participate in physical activity?
  31. Aquatic exercises
  32. Step it up with an activity tracker
  33. The real secret to a healthy heart
  34. Time for new walking shoes?
  35. Tired of walking alone? Team up!
  36. Walking for fitness: Overcoming setbacks
  37. Walking for fitness: Staying motivated
  38. Walking for fitness: Warm up, cool down
  39. Walking group
  40. Walking and trackers
  41. Walking shoes
  42. Walking for fitness
  43. Walking with ankle weights? Stop!
  44. Want a strong brain? Exercise!
  45. Want to get more active? Try an activity tracker
  46. Want to maximize your daily walk?
  47. Weighted hula hoops: Hoopla or good exercise?
  48. What's in an athletic shoe?
  49. Whole-body vibration
  50. HIIT at any age
  51. What is Zumba?