Lutheran SeniorLife Rehabilitation Services Expands Use of Urban Poles

99-year-old Joan Gill uses urban polesThe Rehabilitation Services of Lutheran SeniorLife recently expanded its use of urban poles across the system as a way to improve the overall health and safety of patients and residents.

Nordic walking or also referred to as “urban poles” is a low-impact, full-body workout. According to a recent Harvard Medical school blog, walking with urban poles burns more calories and works more muscles than conventional walking. According to Dr. Aaron Baggish, director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center, Nordic walking combines cardiovascular exercise with a vigorous muscle workout for your shoulders, arms, core, and legs.

“When you walk without poles, you activate muscles below the waist. When you add Nordic poles, you activate all of the muscles of the upper body as well,” explains Dr. Baggish. “You’re engaging 80% to 90% of your muscles, as opposed to 50%, providing a substantial calorie-burning benefit.”Joan Gill uses urban poles to exercise

Director of Rehabilitation Services, Christine Namey of the Lutheran SeniorLife Passavant Community recognizes the benefits of urban poles and is thrilled to expand services. “We have witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of urban poles in our therapy department. It helps patients become more stable and stronger over time. By adding poles to our fitness classes, residents will have the opportunity to challenge themselves and improve their overall health and fitness.”

“Using poles involves more than just exercising the arms and legs, it involves the upper body,” explained Nancy Thenthongkham (BELOW, Left), physical therapist assistant. “The poles also provide patients with more support while helping them improve their stability, balance, and confidence while they walk.”

Nancy Thenthongkham, physical therapist assistant, explains how to use urban poles

Thenthongkham, who recently became certified as an instructor to teach the correct technique in the use of urban poles, recognizes the benefits for residents. “Poles improve posture, strengthen a person’s core, improve balance, and increase confidence,” explained Thenthongkham.

Thenthongkham offers classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Passavant Community. In a recent class, 99-year-old Joan Gill (ABOVE), demonstrated the use of the poles as she pretended to kayak through the center. “Watch out,” she exclaimed, “I am moving…”

Indeed, Gill is moving, and with the use of urban poles continues to live an Abundant Life.