By Dana Paperman
For Senior Voice 

Seward and walking poles: A beautiful match


July 1, 2020

Courtesy Seward Senior Center

Seward seniors meet daily outside the senior center, rain or shine, for walking for wellness. Walking poles are provided by the center, with funding support from the State of Alaska Div. of Senior and Disabilities Services. Left to right: Cindy Elkland, Rachel Dow (leader), Katie Turnbull, Diane Harmon and Rita Selden.

With senior centers closed during the coronavirus pandemic, senior centers have been forced to make adjustments to their supported fitness programs, whether via ZOOM classes or taking activities outside into the open air. Fortunately, summer has arrived with blue skies, intermittent rain in some neighborhoods, and the aroma of leaves bursting with new life. Daily walking can bring new life to seniors, as they are now coming out of forced self-isolation, in search of reconnecting with their community and getting the most out of their day. Walking will improve your outlook on life, improve energy levels and can even help ease the pain of arthritis, by increasing the blood flow and lubricating the joints.

Why walk with poles? Walking poles work your arms, shoulders, chest and upper back muscles through a functional range of motion as you walk - which can help you turn your daily walk into a full-body workout. This activity is sometimes called Nordic walking.

Most walking poles have rubber tips that grab the pavement and wrist straps that secure the poles to your arms. With one walking pole in each hand, you grip the handles and push off with each stride, helping maintain proper posture. Sturdier walking poles designed for hiking are known as hiking or trekking poles.

Dana Paperman is the Seward Senior Citizens, Inc. executive Director.


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