• Marilyn Farnworth

Want to make strides toward greater fitness? Try urban poling

All it takes is a set of poles to turbocharge your daily walk

EDITOR'S NOTE: It’s strongly recommended that you consult with your physician before beginning this or any exercise program.


It’s simple: If you can walk you can urban pole. Why not go for an invigorating walk outside with your poles to get some fresh air and sunshine at the same time? It is beneficial for all ages and levels of fitness, including people with hip or knee replacements.

Urban poling/nordic walking helps you burn more calories, engages your core muscles and your upper body, while reducing impact on your lower joints and enhancing your body’s natural fat burning capabilities.

Walking with urban poles gives you more than 1800 abdominal contractions per mile and increases your caloric output up to 45 per cent over regular walking. It uses 90 per cent of your muscles including chest, upper body, core and arms, especially your triceps. It also improves your posture. Why not maximize your time? Thirty minutes of urban poling equals 50 minutes of walking.

The strapless ergonomic handle design combined with the proper Rutlin technique — named after U.S. urban poling pioneer Tom Rutlin who emphasizes a comfortable, natural tempo and stride length — will help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals faster, easier and with less effort. The poles are also adjustable to different heights.

It’s advisable to take classes that incorporate proper technique, warm up and cool down exercises with the poles, as well as stimulating social walks outside. Make sure you dress appropriately for the weather, wear comfortable walking shoes, suntan lotion, and bring your water bottle. Urban poles are usually supplied for the classes but can also be purchased from urbanpoling.com ( a Canadian company) or your instructor.

I’m a certified urban poling instructor and have been teaching for more than 20 years. After injuring my knee, regular running was no longer an option, so I had to find an alternative cardio activity. I fell in love with urban poling immediately and never looked back.

I use my poles daily and find it a great way to combat osteoporosis, stay fit, tone my triceps, reduce the stress on my joints and improve my posture. My students are always amazed at what a difference it makes and how much easier it is to walk uphill and downhill. You can take your poles with you when you travel, or you can just walk out your front door. In these stressful COVID times, urban poling has been my salvation. Why not give it a try too? If you have any questions, call or text me at 519-733-6924.

This short video offers a brief introduction to urban poling equipment and techniques.

Marilyn Farnworth is a Kingsville fitness and yoga instructor.

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