“Mobility Walking” is a walking technique where the poles are used for stability and balance during the majority of the walking activity.
Mobility Walking techniques can also be used while Nordic Walking or on a Hiking trail when you need to modify your pole technique for stability and balance while crossing uneven terrain or on unstable walking surfaces. This is a temporary change in technique in response to the conditions and does not require special poles.
“Mobility Walking” for Stability and Balance may an appropriate activity for many individuals, including:
- Those with stability and balance challenges due to injury or illness
- Individuals who are in need of assistance in maintaining proper upright/ upper body posture during walking activities
- Those desiring to reduce weight on lower joints due to permanent or temporary condition, such as knee surgery
- Walkers with limited endurance due to illness or inactivity
- People with other medical conditions that seek to increase their physical activity
Mobility Poles walkers can walk with greater confidence, they can walk with a more symmetrical pattern and gait than with other walking devides, and they can enjoy increased freedom and participate in a fun activity with many health benefits.
Mobility Pole Walking
First talk to your physician or physical therapist about the use of poles for your specific condition. As a mobility coach I can assist you in providing walking pole information to your medical professional to help in his recommendations.
Once cleared by your physician, meet with an experienced physical therapist or walking coach who can discuss pole types and features to find the best choice for you! Try them out and practice walking with them to identify the correct technique and pole type for your walking needs. Learn how to listen to your body and adjust your technique to meet your needs.
Mobility Pole Selection – Hand Grip
Many walkers prefer the strapless grip system as offered by Exerstrider. Others may prefer the glove-style strap system as offered on a typical Nordic Walking pole such as Leki. Try both out and determine the appropriate one for your walking style.
A Trekking pole may also provide you appropriate stability and balance provided you are using the correct technique, but ensure your walking pole “holding force” is appropriate for balance and stability, light-weight trekking poles may not be suitable.
Important to remember : Don’t maintain a tight grip on the poles the entire time. Select poles that allow you to squeeze on the push phase and release on the forward swing.
Walkers need to relax their hand when the pole is in the forward swing phase of walking while still maintaining control of the pole, and then re-grip in the push phase of walking.
Maintaining a tight grip on the poles can increase stress on the hands, arms and shoulders, potentially increase blood pressure, and may also fatigue the muscles faster.
Mobility Pole Selection – Walking Foot
Most Nordic Walking poles come with a tapered foot, which allows you to walk with the poles at an angle to the ground, pushing the walker forward. This is the correct foot type for use in fitness walking or nordic trail walking, but may not be appropriate when the primary pole use is for stability and balance.
In using walking poles for stability and balance, the pole is used in a more vertical position. Select a foot that offers the best connection to the ground for your walking style and typical walking surfaces. Exerstrider offers a bell-shaped Balance tip that offers the largest foot on the market. These tips are unique to Exerstrider and may not fit walking poles from other manufacturers.
Most other walking pole manufacturer’s such as Leki offer a Trekking pole tip that may need your needs for mobility walking. This is a smaller tip than the above Balance tip, but may meet your needs for balance and stability.
Make sure to select a tip from the same manufacturer as your walking poles, not all tips are interchangeable from brand to brand.
Additional information on pole selection can also be found here
Mobility Pole Walking is not for everyone, check with your physician or physical therapist to ensure that walking with poles are appropriate for you. Improper use of poles or straps can result in shoulder, hand or other injuries or aggravated existing conditions, work with a qualified walking coach to learn proper techniques.