Later that day, Pam and I headed to Exerstrider, a maker of new walking poles. Pam received a set in the mail as a new product submission weeks ago and, truthfully, we had no idea the right way to use them. Fortunately, we were able to get a full how-to training from the Exerstrider creator, Tom Rutlin. Although he said himself to be in his late 50s, Tom easily looked 20 years younger with a trim waist, upbeat attitude and energetic personality. He credits his youthful appearance and attitude to the poles.
You don't use the poles like hiking poles. Instead, you push off with them from slightly behind you, alternating your arm and leg movement.
It's fair to say that Pam and I didn't quite "get it" at first. It took us several treks down the exhibit hall floor aisle, including one with Tom himself between the two of us, humming a common marching tune to get us to "stop thinking" so much. Once we got it, we both could feel how the poles help engage your upper body -- and thankfully I feel like we can use the poles without humming "When the Saints Go Marching In" (although Tom is quite musically gifted). --Jennipher