WORLD RECORD HOLDER & FITNESS EXPERT
THE SIMPLE, SMARTER WAY TO ENHANCE HEALTH/ FITNESS.
FITNESS EXPERT MICHAEL 'WALKING WIZARD' GATES WANTS TO GET THE WORLD MOVING TO HALT THE ALARMING DECLINE IN HEALTH AND FITNESS AFFECTING SO MANY IN OUR COMMUNITIES , THE RISING RISK OF CARDIAC DISEASE AND DIABETES II AND TO COMBAT THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC ENGULFING AUSTRALIA, NOW THE WORLD'S FATTEST NATION.
"Pole walking is the answer because here we have a simple, inexpensive, fun /feel good way to tackle a very serious problem, the nation's declining health and spiralling associated costs amongst our adults, with our children particularly at risk of prematurely developing major lifestyle-linked illnesses," says Michael, the first person ever to pole walk 2,000 km from Melbourne to Brisbane in 22 days.
"By involving the arms through using the specially-designed poles, walkers increase their training effect significantly as every muscle in your body works."
Director of Community Fitness Australia, Michael is the driving force behind setting the standards for pole walking education, both nationally and internationally. Government Health Departments in Queensland and New South Wales have backed his pole walking pilot programs, implementing them in regional Community health and fitness programs.
He earned the title of "Walking Wizard" when he pole-walked from Melbourne to Brisbane to raise funds for Children First!, a Catholic Mission project for children at risk throughout the world and CareFlight Australia , which provides medical trauma and retrieval services. He also holds the world record for Pole Walking 24 hours non-stop in a Charity Challenge Pole Walk for Premature Babies and Childhood Early Intervention.
"Many regularly walk for their health, but not all actually achieve an effective training results zone . Pole Walking gives similar results to the more strenuous activities of jogging or working out in the gym but yields these results without the risk or strain all in one total body workout , with every major muscle group in the body with the heart, lungs and vascular system being exercised. As well, there are also stretching, toning and mobility programs involving the poles."
On his epic 2,000 km Pole walk Michael also found time to address children and parents in schools, emphasising the importance of physical activity and sensible eating.
"Polewalking is the feelgood fun, friendly and functional physical activity , practised in the great outdoors, the way to get our communities moving, to enjoy life more and live healthier in the simplest, most efficient and cost effective manner. I don't believe in suffering to get fit! It's got to be fun with the feel good factor and not a feeling of being flogged.
"My main focus is setting up community-based Walking Clubs, both nationally and internationally, for all people, irrespective of age, ability and gender. I was born to move people of all ages to a greater level in their life by empowering them with movement, motivation and mentoring them and pole walking is the world's best all-gain, no-pain physical activity."
Pole walking can be done anytime, anywhere, by anyone, from professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts to the elderly, the young, children and families, regardless of fitness or health levels. The physical activity has also proven beneficial for those with diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, Parkinson's , victims of stroke , those with balance issues, and heart problems.
An internationally accredited Pole Walking Master Coach, Michael studied the pole walking technique in Finland , where it originated in the l930s as summer fitness conditioning for cross-country skiers. The breakthrough and increasing popularity came in the late l990s when international scientific research proved the benefits .
For more than 20 years Michael has been passionate about raising community awareness about the importance of physical activity. He leads community pole walking groups regularly and says, "First people Try-It they Love-It and now they Live-It",turning up, rain or shine." The pole walking technique is easily mastered to achieve the maximum benefit through the correct rhythm, body rotation , stride length and arm /upper body movements (580 words)