Older adults with mobility impairment, gait abnormality, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other health conditions rely on canes to facilitate movement similar to that of unassisted walking. Although walking canes are used widely by seniors, they are not always the best option.
Disadvantages of canes
Cane users tend to have shoulder issues from leaning on it too heavily. They bend forward and walk, which affects their posture and leads to a number of other ailments. Cane users end up walking with unnatural stride lengths, where they can take short steps over time.
A walking stick might be beneficial
Unlike canes, walking sticks don’t give seniors that “senior” look. They are also believed to strengthen users’ muscles by exercising their arms more naturally. A walking stick facilitates the bicep muscle to hold the body in an upright position, therefore not causing any undue strain on the shoulder. Walking sticks are ideal for individuals having shoulder problems from using canes.
A walking stick corrects the issues of leaning forward and taking short steps by encouraging the person to stand upright, have correct posture, and walk with a normal stride. However, walking sticks are meant for higher functioning individuals who want to reap the exercise benefit of walking.
Nordic walking knows no boundaries
Nordic walking is a form of fitness walking, which can be undertaken by people of different age groups. Specially designed poles known as Nordic walking poles are used to perform this fitness activity. Nordic walking came into existence two decades ago.
Nordic walkers in contrast to regular walkers walk with greater intensity and receive fitness building stimulation for the chest, abdominals, shoulders, arms, spinal, and other important muscles that could result in an increased heart rate for a given pace.
Nordic walking poles are available in various forms, such as one-piece poles, poles of varying lengths, telescoping poles of adjustable length, and non-adjustable shaft versions. Nordic walking poles are also equipped with a range of wrist straps and grips. The concept of trekking poles and Nordic walking poles has been derived from that of ski poles.
Get nifty with rollators and gait trainers
Rollators are four wheeled walkers suitable for higher-functioning individuals who don’t have to rely on the walker to bear weight. These types of walkers propel with ease, which are often equipped with baskets and seats. However, rollators are not recommended for individuals with cognitive impairment or balance issues.
Gait trainers are walking aids designed to help people with posture and stability during walking. They are used to improve walking ability, develop a healthier gait and enhance weight-bearing strength. A gait trainer is equipped with accessories such as forearm platform, trunk support, pelvic stabilizer, and guide bar.
The scope of these mobility devices is expected to increase with the technological advancements. Haptic technology is one such embedded technology that is driving the future of mobility devices. The inventions of newer composites with lighter weight and greater strength are also modifying these walking aids and their fabrication.