Category Archives: Balance Walking

Pole walking can give you a great lift

The obvious question upon spotting someone walking along with poles in their hands – for those who are not aware that enthusiasts claim it burns 46 per cent more calories than normal walking – is why?

“We do get funny looks when we’re out walking,” admits Helen Beckley, 32. “Safety in numbers – we’re all looking mad together, and we enjoy it, so we don’t mind. But if I got a dirham for every time someone passing me said: ‘Oh, you’ve forgotten the snow,’ I’d be very rich!”

Beckley became the UAE’s first qualified Nordic Walking instructor two years ago and works with ProActive sports company, which runs twice-weekly Nordic Walking sessions on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.

“It originated from cross-­country skiing and it’s what cross-country skiers do in the off-season,” she says, “so people associate it with snow.”

Nordic Walking is not to be confused with trekking, hill walking or trail running, which use different poles and techniques. Nordic walking poles are gripped and released so as to give the upper-body muscles a workout at the same time as the legs.

“The poles help to propel the walker along,” explains Beckley. “It means you work harder than usual, yet the support given by the poles makes it feel easier.”

Beckley alternates her routes each week and varies the focus of the sessions too.

“Sometimes we’ll find some slopes – hills would probably be a bit of an exaggeration – to go up and down. I always try to include a bit of strength work as well so we might stop and do some press-ups or triceps dips on the benches en route.”

In Dubai, British expatriate Joanna Macdonald, 53, leads groups pole-walking – or “soul walking” as she likes to call it. Whereas Beckley’s groups are run primarily as a way for people to get fit, Macdonald set up Keenfit Middle East in Dubai seven years ago.

“Previously, I was head of corporate affairs for HSBC and then Barclays, I had two young children and I worked 24/7. The miracles of life were passing me by,” she recalls. “I had an epiphany, and decided to change my priorities. Running Keenfit walking groups was a wonderful way to meet people again. When you’re walking, you let go and talk about things. People keep their eyes down when they first start. I tell them to acknowledge people who walk by with their eyes, because you feel so much happier by making eye contact.”

Macdonald’s Canadian Keenfit walking poles, which she sells for Dh250, come with three different toggles at the bottom so they can be adjusted for sand, flat paths and fields.

Since launching the business, Macdonald has helped to establish Keenfit-affiliated groups as far away as Africa. A representative of the Saudi National Guard, who learnt to pole-walk with Macdonald in Dubai, now has his troops doing it in Jeddah.

“Pole-walking is a great stepping stone to get back to exercise for people who carry a lot of weight or haven’t been flexible for a long time,” says Macdonald. “The poles aren’t just there to give you extra cardio, they’re also there to support you so you’re walking in perfect alignment. Like yoga, pole-walking helps to create balance.”

Balance With Benefits

balancewalkinglabel picture    Balance With Benefits

This is an article published in the CMTA Magazine and written by JOSEPH GREGORY STILWELL, DPM, FACFAS, read about all the Benefits of Balance Walking…

Imagine being a four-legged animal, using Nordic walking poles to prowl city streets with the strength and balance of a big cat on a savannah. Now imagine using Nordic walking poles to participate in yoga and Pilates. Imagine walking outside, breathing deeply, chest wide and spine lifted tall.

Exercise walking? Some of us just want to increase our confidence on stairs, step gracefully over a curb or get help with a weak ankle or painful back. Nordic walking poles have a patented three-piece strap that allows the user to open the palm of the hand and push downward into the poles, lifting the rib cage and giving the lungs plenty of room for expansion. A whole hour can be spent using the poles for bending, stretching or squatting—all exercises that help with balance.

Those of us with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease are used to walking a little differently. We may “lurch” when fatigued, the result of our upper bodies favoring one side or another as we walk. With a set of walking poles, though, we become rhythmic, smooth and mostly pain-free. While few of us can achieve the physical therapists’ ideal of symmetry between the two halves of the body, with walking poles we can function as if our length, strength and flexibility were equal throughout our bodies.

Walking poles offer people with CMT not just a way to get and stay fit, but also a training aid for walking and balance. Medical studies on “pole walking” uniformly show better breathing, less stress on joints, and other significant advantages over running, including more calories burned in less time. In a related note, evidence has been mounting that using a tempo like a simple musical rhythm helps with neurological re-training. Walking with poles at a basic metronome-like pace results in smoother nerve conduction. For urban or hard surface walking, a rubber tip can be placed on the end of each pole. This allows one to truly push into the pole, lift the spine and propel the legs forward. These high-traction rubber tips help keep one from sliding when performing a leg up stretch or pushing the body into a lifted twist using the arms and shoulders.

The beauty of using two Nordic-style poles when walking is that as your legs get tired and foot drop or ankle rolling gets worse, the poles can be “push-pulled” to use the stronger muscles of the shoulders and trunk to take stress off the tired legs and feet. Plus, you can always stop and do some stretches, deep knee bends or twists with the poles to bring a spring to your step.

My wife and son and I recently pole-walked through the Loop area of Chicago. It was a joy to be able to gaze upward at the tall buildings with confidence that our poles would keep us upright, stable and able to lean back to peruse the beautiful architecture. The same technique works in wooded areas or parks where we can admire the tree tops, listen to nature’s sounds and even muse at the clouds—much like being a kid again.


Interested in implementing Dr. Greg’s recommendations and getting

Nordic fit? Balance Walking will donate $30 to the CMTA for each

set of poles sold. The CMTA and your body will both thank you!

Visit and enter the coupon code “CMTA”

to get started! A free motivational book is included in your order.


CMTA Advisory Board member Dr. Greg Stilwell demonstrating the body alignment Balance Walking Poles promote.

Neuropathy and Walking

If you avoid walking, because each step is painful due to foot neuropathy, learn more now. Balance Walking is a safe, easy, low-impact exercise that you can perform with your doctor’s approval.

Reasons to add poles to your walk:
– improves blood circulation and oxygen levels
-helps to reduce stress up to 30% on joints and there are 33 joints in each foot.
-reduces cramps and rigidity caused by contracted muscles
-strengthens weak muscles and improves range of motion
-if you have trouble balancing, this is like walking with four points of contact instead of two.

Balance Walking Poles often enable those suffering from Neuropathy to walk more confidently, longer, with reduced pain and reduced or even corrected foot drag.

WARNING: Avoid harmful repetitive weight-bearing exercises and do not exercise for prolonged periods of time, instead try walking for about ten minutes every hour. This is important because “damaged nerves can regenerate as long as the cells that make them up are still alive. By performing regular exercise you can facilitate this process, minimize the adverse impact of foot neuropathy and regain a better quality of life.”1

This hour mark is of additional importance, because if the body stays in a seated position for 60 minutes it results in half the circulation to the legs being cut-off. Set an alarm to remind yourself to get up after 50 minutes, because a study from Indiana University shows if you get up your circulation will not be impaired at all. “The study participants who walked for five minutes for each hour
of sitting saw their arterial function stay the same.”2

If this is not enough information to scare you straight out of your chair add a “90% drop in a circulating blood enzyme called lipase, that is responsible for breaking down fat. In addition, electrical activity in our leg muscles radically decrease the longer we sit.”3 When transitioning the body from sitting to standing, take a minute to point and flex your feet to get the blood flowing all the way down. Increasing circulation to the feet is a beneficial thing to do in the morning, before getting out of bed. Start your day on the right foot.

References: 1. “Does Exercise help Neuropathy of the Feet
2. Indiana University study released on Sept. 8, 2014 “Short walk breaks
found to reverse negative effects of prolonged sitting”
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25th Annual Walk/Race for the Cure


Balance Walking is proud to support the Susan G. Komen-Atlanta mission to enable women to detect and survive breast cancer. Balance Walking is donating $20 to Komen-Atlanta for every set of poles sold- just type “donate” in the message box  found on this link

Come join us and help support research to prevent and cure breast cancer. Together we can make the end of breast cancer a reality. We are offering free training sessions every Wednesday at noon, from now until May 9th – Race Day. Let’s get ready together, to make the one mile or five mile walk. Just come by Balance Walkings Corporate office before 12 on Wednesdays at 104 Interstate North Parkway East, Atlanta, 30339, or join our group.

Start Your Group Today
Join Our Group Today – Contact

Adding poles to a walk is beneficial for everyone, because it engages almost all the muscles in the body including the core. Balance Walking has the increased benefit, for Breast Cancer Survivors, of rebuilding the muscles in the chest that can decrease after surgery. Survivors who added poles to their walk, increased their upper body strength up to 47%. The poles increase the good in the body like cardiovascular performance, calorie burn, alignment and good posture. The poles decrease the negatives like the perceived level of exertion, stress on joints, while alleviating tension in neck and shoulders.

Try to walk and move every hour or two. This keeps the oxygen levels high, which will keep your energy levels up. If you are able to walk in an area with trees – hiking is ideal.

Balance Walking poles are a tangible reminder to get up and move your body.

Remember to Walk

If you have a desk job, you could be sitting 12 hours a day. Add it up for yourself, you sit on your way to work, you sit at your computer, you sit at lunch and sit some more on the drive home.  Once you are home do you sit and watch television, or work on your home computer? It could be OVER 12 hours a day.

“Of course, health studies conclude that people should sit less, and get up and move around. After one hour of sitting, “the production of enzymes that burn fat declines by as much as 90 percent.” Extended sitting slows the body’s metabolism affecting things like (good cholesterol) HDL levels in our bodies. Research shows that this lack of physical activity is directly tied to six percent of the impact for heart diseases, seven percent for type 2 diabetes, and 10 percent for breast cancer, or colon cancer. You might already know that the death rate associated with obesity in the United States is now 35 million. But do you know what it is in relationship to Tobacco? Just 3.5 million. The New York Times reported on another study, published last year in the journal Circulation that looked at nearly 9,000 Australians and found that for each additional hour of television a person sat and watched per day, the risk of dying rose by 11 percent. In that article, a doctor is quoted as saying that excessive sitting, which he defines as nine hours a day, is a lethal activity.”

Reports are now saying that an hour or two in the gym does not compensate the body, in fact a hard work out may cause more stress on the body. What are the best things you can do for yourself? Take a walk every 2 hours, drink plenty of good quality water from a natural spring and eat whole foods.

All of us want to do something healthy during our day, even if its just to taking a walk. The greatest find for 1000s of new Balance Walkers is that by adding Poles, we have discovered the facts are you can achieve much more in less time than regular walking. There are countless Walking Poles studies on the Web showing the positive influence of the poles medically and physically. With the Balance Walking Book as a guide to the other Wellness Pillars we know that the small healthy changes over time will last a life time. Change your health ONE step and ONE bite at a time.

We know walking is good for us, but sometimes we forget to do it. Balance Walking poles are a tangible reminder to move your body. A set of poles by your computer, or leaning against the television, will remind you to take a walk.

Great parks to grab your poles and go

Healthy Habits Made in 3 Weeks

It takes only 21 days to create a habit. After that amount of time, your body will do the habit daily on auto-pilot, it will be a part of your working profile. Walk 7 days a week for 3 weeks and you will consider yourself a walker.

Our bodies work so hard for us…how about lending a helping hand. Give your body what it needs and it will give you the energy level you desire. I have seen and felt what walking every day can do for me, start a new habit for yourself today. When you have walked for 21 days send me a note on Facebook and let me know the differences you see and feel.

Enjoy Every Step

These shoes are made for walking

Ill-fitting shoes can cause your feet problems, so find a fit expert to help you find the right shoe for your foot, and the correct fitting left shoe for your other foot. Everyone has two different size feet, and Foot Solutions has experience accommodating both feet.

Shoes for Walking

Wear properly fitted athletic shoes when you go for a walk. Shoes that are too tight are not only uncomfortable, but they can damage your feet. Foot Solutions carries a variety of good running shoes, that can prevent heel pain and other foot problems.