The Benefits of Urban Poling

The Benefits of Walking with Urban Poles

Perhaps you’ve seen people in your neighbourhood walking around using a set of poles that look like cross country ski poles, and maybe you’ve wondered why they would use them. Urban poles, or you may have also heard the term Nordic poles, are a versatile tool that provide benefits for people dealing with an injury or painful joints as well as for improving general health/fitness.

Urban poles can be a great tool to help support healthy active aging by helping people to improve their walking and keep them walking.  We know that walking has so many health benefits but perhaps due to joint pain or balance issues, walking for a prolonged period or walking at a brisk pace is challenging. 

Some of the Benefits of Urban Poling include…..

  • Improve balance
    • The poles can be used as a gait aid similar to a cane or walker by offering more points of contact to help you maintain balance. 
  • Improved walking speed
    • When you want to walk more briskly to achieve more of the fitness benefits of walking, the urban poles may help to improve your confidence to increase your walking speed with the added support.
  • Off loading
    • There is increasing evidence in the research that shows that walking with urban poles can unload the stress on painful hips and knees while walking.

Walking with urban poles can help those experiencing hip, knee and back pain, osteoarthritis, or who are preparing for or recovering from joint replacement surgery. 

  • Posture
    • When walking with a cane or walker there can be tendency to slouch forward.  Walking with urban poles helps to promote upright posture.
  • Full body workout
    • When used with proper technique they increase the amount of muscle used when walking. They increase activation of postural, core and arm muscles and provide bone building benefit through the wrists and arms (big bonus for those with Osteoporosis or Osteopenia!). It’s a double (maybe even triple!) whammy - using Urban Poles gives you all the benefits of walking plus a core and upper body workout all in one! 


You will also get 25% more of a cardiovascular workout when walking with the poles compared to walking without poles.  You may feel muscles in your arms that you haven’t felt in a while!

Urban poles are not just for walking!

In addition to the support and muscle building components urban poles add to walking, they can also be used for a variety of exercises. This is particularly helpful if you don’t have access to gyms and other fitness facilities.

You can use your poles for

  • balance exercise
  • lower body strengthening
  • upper body strengthening
  • core stability
  • stretching
  • improving mobility.


One piece of equipment that can be used for multiple purposes!

Who will benefit from walking with Urban Poles?

Anyone dealing with the following conditions and more…..

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Balance issues
  • Pre and Post Joint replacements
  • Stroke recovery
  • Parkinsons
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • General fitness

Urban Poles can be a great tool for anyone looking to improve their fitness and well being - they’re not strictly a tool for rehabilitation. 

How do I learn to use Urban poles?

The key to getting all of the benefits from the poles is using the proper technique - and that’s where we come in!

There are two different techniques that can be used, each serving its own purpose. Different techniques will work better for different people based on their goals and their unique situation. 

Several of our clinicians at Fit for Life Physiotherapy have completed the Urban Poles training course and are here to provide you with the tips, tricks and feedback you need so you can get the most benefit out of using the poles .

If you’re interested in learning how to use the poles, call the clinic at (905)333-3488 to set up your one on one appointment. We have poles here so you can try them out before purchasing. We will help you master the technique and can create a personalized program that will keep you feeling great and moving well!

Interested but have more questions?

Call the clinic at (905)333-3488 and we can arrange a free 15 minute consultation with one of our Physiotherapists or our Kinesiologist to answer your questions!