Step 1: Adjust the Poles
A comfortable walk requires well-adjusted poles.
Turn the top half of the pole in the opposite direction as the bottom half of the pole, just enough for the pole to slide (about a half counter-clockwise turn), and adjust it to the correct height by pulling up or pushing down the top half. You can identify the correct height by holding the pole by the handle while it is upright on the floor and bending your elbow to a 90 degree angle. Once you are finished, tighten the pole adjuster by turning the bottom half of the pole clockwise.
NOTE: If you plan to walk off-road, you should lengthen your poles by about 2 inches and remove the rubber tip.
NOTE: Do not over turn the poles or they will not be able to tighten.
Once you have adjusted your poles, insert your thumbs into the smaller hole and your fingers into the larger hole of each wrist strap and velcro them firmly but comfortably. You can identify which hand each pole is for by finding either the letter “L” or the letter “R” inside the hand grip.
Step 2: Set Your Posture
Balance Walking incorrectly does you no good.
Keep your body upright and make sure not to lean forward. Relax your shoulders and arms. Then, loosen your grip on the poles and hang your hands down by your sides. Balance Walking is a calming activity – don’t unnecessarily tighten your body or force your body to do anything. Casually start walking without gripping your poles – just drag them behind you. Walk about ten yards to get a feeling for your new posture. Once you feel ready, grasp your poles loosely and gently swing your arms while walking to get a feel for the motions.
NOTE: The pole tips should not extend past the front of your feet as you walk. You are not reaching out – you are just swinging your arms. Do this for several minutes until you feel comfortable with the motion. If at any time you feel out of rhythm, go back to dragging the poles for several steps.
Step 3: Walk!
Begin the experience of Balance Walking.
Once you get the hang of getting into your posture, it’s time to begin Balance Walking. As you move a pole forward, plant and push off. At this point, the pole should be just above the ground and planted approximately one foot behind your lead foot. Your arms should be slightly bent at the elbows, not fully extended. Walk like this until you feel very comfortable with your rhythm and stride. Don’t think, just do it! It is a very natural movement and most people get the feel of it quickly.
Mastering the grip-and-release technique is an important part of the process in order for you to achieve the full effect from your Balance Walking workout. The pole is held with a comfortable and loose grip, which should start to tighten just before you move the pole forward and plant it through the pushoff. You then release the grip as the pole moves behind you. This takes a little getting used to for most people, but it will come naturally eventually