As a health and fitness coach who encourages my clients to walk on a daily basis, I’m always looking for ways to spice up a walking routine. Whether it be adding weights or experimenting with intervals, it’s important to to find ways to keep walking engaging so that you’re able to maintain your motivation and stay committed.
Joyce Shulman, author of "Walk Your Way to Better" and founder of the 99 Walks app, invited me to be a guest on her podcast last year. She is also a big advocate of walking and encourages women to walk every day.
When Joyce told me that she was getting ready to launch walking sticks called “Jetti Poles,” I was very intrigued. She explained that they weren’t hiking sticks (which I’ve used before on hikes to help make the walk easier!). Instead, these poles were created to enhance your walk and make it an even better workout, without being too taxing. The walking sticks increase calorie expenditure while simultaneously easing stress on the joints and providing stability. Plus, there are about a dozen different exercises that you can perform with Jetti Poles.
Knowing how much my clients and members of our Start TODAY Facebook group love to walk for exercise, I was excited to test them out and report back.
How much do Jetti Poles cost?
Jetti Poles cost $59.95 a pair including free shipping and a one-month membership to 99 Walks, a fitness app and community with indoor and outdoor walking classes led by Jetti-certified coaches. After the first month, the 99 Walks app costs $15.99/month and gives you access to audio classes on the app that include over a dozen different exercises using the poles — plus an extensive library of walking classes, podcasts and meditations. Each week, there are five different classes offered that help members transform a walk into a full-body workout using the Jetti Poles. Each class is different, but they all start with nine exercises that are referred to as the “Jetti Nine,” including “Carry the Tray and Serve the Appies,” and the classic “Public Toilet Seat Avoider.” These sound fun!
What are "Jetti" walking poles?
Jetti Poles are a little over one pound each. They include grips at different points throughout, giving you a few different options on how to hold them. The bottoms of the poles are durable, making them perfect for roads and trails, and of course, you can walk with them on grass and sidewalks, too. The poles come in three standard sizes and special custom sizes, so they’re available for all walkers.
If you like to walk as part of your workout, Jetti Poles are a great way to add a bit of resistance and facilitate a full-body workout. The lift up with each step creates a strength-training challenge for the arms and shoulders because you’re lifting a little over one pound every time you take a step. You’re also able to hold onto the poles for stability to perform body weight exercises, like lunges.
I tried it: Working out with walking poles
I took my Jetti Poles on my morning walk every other day for a week and maybe it’s the hot pink color (my favorite!) or the novelty of taking the tool along with me, but I was smiling ear to ear while walking with these poles. It made my walk more fun and gave my mind something else to focus on beyond just my lower body.
I also added in some strength training with the poles. I held onto them to ensure my form was perfect in my squats and lunges. I lifted them up overhead a few times to stretch my arms and back. I liked inventing my own ways to use the poles and they were a fun new workout tool I could play with.
The audio classes in the 99 Walks hadn't yet launched in the app when I first started using the poles. Before they were available, I did enjoy taking the poles out on my own and listening to music or podcasts while I walked. So a membership to the app is definitely not required to utilize the poles.
Once the classes were available, I did really enjoy learning new ways to use the poles. I started with the class in the app that called "Jetti Outdoor Level 1" led by the founder. The first move was the breaststroke: Keeping the poles planted on the ground, I held on to the tops and then moved my arms into the breaststroke motion as if I was swimming. I felt the stretch in my chest and shoulders. It was really fun! Next we did a calf stretch while holding onto the poles — I’d never stretched my calves that way before, but it was so helpful to use the poles for balance. Then, we held on to the poles halfway down using the middle grip and started walking. Joyce called it a “suitcase carry.” You walk and hold the poles as if you are carrying a suitcase in each hand. Honestly, I can’t believe how innovative these exercises are! I loved how they helped me stretch, but also strengthen, my body.
What I liked about using walking poles
I liked how lightweight the walking poles were and how they served two purposes: intensifying my walk, while also making me feel more balanced and stable. I liked holding on to the sticks to work my arms a little more (lifting one pound in each hand really does work the shoulders and arms, but not enough to be sore the next day, which I appreciated!)
I liked how versatile and easy-to-use the poles were, too. They aren't flimsy like some walking sticks designed just for stability; I felt like I was using a solid piece of workout equipment when I held on to them to do bodyweight-strength exercises.
I loved doing lunges in place while holding the poles. I felt like my form was better when using the poles for stability. Normally when I do strength training inside I look in a mirror to make sure I’m in proper alignment, so doing it outside is a little more challenging. But the poles actually made me feel more stable without resting all of my weight on them like I would if I was holding onto something bigger like a tree or a table for support.
Finally, I love that the 99 Walks app is including Jetti Pole classes now! I loved the walking classes in the app and now this is going to be another way to “step it up” with an instructor-led class.
What I didn’t like about walking poles
At first, I felt self-conscious with people looking at me and judging, wondering why I was using walking sticks. I actually just held them in my hands and walked normally for a few minutes before I built up the confidence to try them. Honestly, I was totally in my head — something that I encourage my clients (and myself!) not to do! But once I got over the slight embarrassment, which lasted for one block, I started smiling and having fun with them.
I would recommend this to:
- People who walk every day and want to keep it interesting.
- Anyone who holds on to the treadmill while walking indoors and wants the same stability outside.
- People who want to make walking a slightly more intense, full-body workout.
- Anyone who likes trying out new fitness gadgets.