The benefits of using trekking poles

Many walkers swear by them, while others swear they are annoying. Walking sticks seem to divide the walking community, but today more and more people are picking up their canes and enjoying the benefits. Studies show that there are many recommendations for using trekking (or hiking) poles or crutches if you plan to go on a walking vacation, especially if your daily walks are long or hilly, or both.

Why use trekking poles?

Using crampons has been shown to reduce the cumulative stress on your feet, legs, knees and back by sharing the load more evenly throughout your body. This is especially true when carrying a heavy backpack.
Hiking poles can also.
Protect your knees, especially when walking on steep hills.
Improve your strength and endurance when walking uphill.
Help maintain balance on uneven trails.
Improve posture, making walkers more upright while walking, which in turn helps with breathing.
Increases speed, especially on downhills.
Provides additional stability.
Reduces fatigue and improves endurance.
Burns more calories by providing an upper body workout and leg workout.
Strengthens the muscles that support the spine.
Tones the muscles in the arms, shoulders and neck.

Get the right pole length

Most cane manufacturers provide guidelines for the correct length for your height. Some walkers say to adjust the poles to the terrain. Thus, descending poles are set longer and ascending poles are set shorter. Some poles have long handles, so walkers can move the handles up and down depending on the terrain. As a general rule, the length of the pole should allow your hand to gently hold the handle while your arm is at a right angle to the ground. This means that your forearm is parallel to the ground and bent at the elbow.


Why walking pole wrist straps?

The shoulder strap is a useful addition to the pole, allowing you to walk with a looser grip and more ease. To take full advantage of the straps, place your hand up through the straps, forming a large O-shape with your thumb and forefinger. Then slide your hand down along the handle of the bar. This means that when you apply downward pressure to propel yourself forward, it comes not from your firm grip on the handle of the pole, but from the tension applied between your wrist and the straps. Thus, as you stride along the poles, the movement of your wrists, arms and entire body becomes extended.

Colorful aluminum pole

What to look for when climbing

The price range for poles will suit all budgets. You can purchase a pair of poles for as low as $10 or over $100. But the most important aspects are comfort (especially the handle) and durability.  

Travel with your cane

If you plan to travel abroad or need to use public transportation to go for a walk, make sure you can shorten or fold the poles when you travel. Poles are easier to carry if you can pack them in your travel bag or attach them in a shortened form to the outside of your canvas backpack.


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