How Balance Walking Can Help Fitness and Living with CMT | Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association

How Balance Walking Can Help Fitness and Living with CMT

The start of a new year brings resolutions to work on becoming more fit. It can be exciting to start something new, but by mid-January, many of us are asking whether our goals are reasonable and our expectations on target.

This is especially important when living with a condition that can add challenges to starting or maintaining a fitness program. One tool that can help with some of those challenges is Balance Walking with Nordic walking poles—a great way to not only get and stay fit, but to make getting around much easier overall.

Dr. Greg Stilwell

CMTA Advisory Board member Dr. Greg Stilwell demonstrating his Nordic walking stance

Balance Walking poles can help people with CMT get fit, while aiding with regular walking and overall balance. As says podiatrist and CMTA Advisory Board member Joseph Gregory Stilwell, DPM, FACFAS, wrote in Balance Walking for CMT, “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.” He also shared evidence noting that “using a tempo like a simple musical rhythm helps with neurological re-training.”

These poles—which are inexpensive and easy to use—offer other benefits, including:

  • The ability to help smooth nerve conduction
  • The ability to be “push-pulled” to use the stronger shoulder and trunk muscles and relieve the stress of tired legs and feet
  • A 3-piece strap that allows the user to push down with an open palm to lift the rib cage and increase the room for lung expansion
  • The ability to add rubber tips that help prevent slipping and balance walking on a variety of surfaces

Dr. Stillwell recommended the true Nordic poles with the “fancy Velcro wrist strap” and recommends testing different poles to see whether the one-piece fixed or two piece adjustable models will work best. While adjustable models collapse for easy transport, you want to test the locks on the adjusting mechanisms. He reported good results with both models.

Other reasons to add Balance Walking poles to your walk:

  • Burn calories at a faster pace than ordinary walking
  • Make walking feel easier overall
  • Keep the body aligned and the core engaged
  • Maintain the heart rate in the fat-burning zone
  • Improve posture

They can also help you work through pain, motivating you to exercise through discomfort. Other advantages of adding poles include:

  • Reduced impact on your joints and feet
  • Helping to prevent lower body issues due to foot challenges
  • Distributing weight among four points of contact rather than just two feet to increase and improve balance

View the Balance Walking for CMT videos here.

To learn more about Balance Walking and purchase Nordic Walking poles, visit www.balancewalking.com. If you are a member, please use the code CMTA when ordering. Balance Walking is honored to partner with CMTA to serve the Charcot-Marie-Tooth community, so you’ll receive a 10 percent discount, and Balance Walking will donate a percentage of every sale to the CMTA.

You’ll also need proper footwear for walking, so set yourself up for success with comfortable shoes and customized foot supports. Find your nearest Foot Solutions store at www.footsolutions.com. You will get a full holistic foot analysis, expert fitting and knowledgeable recommendations for CMT-friendly footwear for fitness, work and other occasions.