"It's fun. It's easy to learn. It's low impact, and it reaches all age groups."

Occupational therapist Mandy Shintani is talking about Nordic Walking, a fitness activity which is also known as urban poling.

Think cross country skiing without the skis, or the snow. It started in Europe for Nordic athletes training in the off-season, but it's now being used as an every-day low-impact work-out.

"A lot of people who used to jog, but can no longer jog because they find that it is just too hard on their lower joints, and they want just something more that's just a little bit more of a cardiovascular work out compared to walking," said Shintani.

By using both the upper and lower body, urban poling targets more muscles than regular walking.

The average pollers, according to Shintani, are women in their thirties and forties, who are interested in losing weight around the waist line or intent on core muscle strengthening

The poles are fitted with a rubber boot at the end and come with measurements on the side to match an individual's height.

"It always makes it a little bit easier if you start two inches shorter, but as time goes on you'll probably lengthen the poll out, to the point to where you can do the technique effectively," said Shintani.

For maximum results, keep the poles close to your sides and point them diagonally backwards. Make sure your arms and shoulders stay relaxed, keeping your arms and elbows straight.

"When you apply pressure to the base of this ergonomic handle, with a strait arm, you actually engage 1,800 contractions per mile in your abdominal muscles, 900 in your lats, your also contracting it in terms of your pecks. Your back muscles, and also your arms," Shintani said.

When you get the hang of it, urban poling can be a great alternative to regular walking and an even better work-out.

"You gain 25 percent more of a cardiovascular work out, and compared to regular walking, you're burning between 20 to 46 percent more calories."

For more information on Nordic Walking: WWW.URBANPOLING.COM

With a report by CTV British Columbia's Dr. Rhonda Low.