The authors examined the effects of a 12-week pole walking program on function and well-being in 123 older adults aged 60 years and older, recruited by community organizations. The results showed a significant improvement in the participants' upper and lower limb strength in the experimental groups compared with those in the control groups (p < .05) and a significant deterioration in the walking speed and grip strength in women in the control groups compared with those in the experimental groups (p < .05). Although not statistically significant, the results also showed a trend toward greater improvement in global cognitive function in the participants in the experimental groups (p = .076). These results suggest that a pole walking program provided in natural conditions can improve physical capabilities in older adults. Other studies are warranted to further explore the impact of pole walking programs on older adults offered in such conditions, especially their impact on cognitive functions.
Keywords: community-based research; older people; program evaluation; walking with poles.