Are Walking / Trekking / Hiking Poles Good For You?
I was asked recently if walking sticks were beneficial. My reply was “Absolutely!!” there are many benefits. Some are very evident and some not so evident. Also as with many other topics, there are those that are opposed to them. You really need to try them and then decide for yourself if their good for you.
Myself I prefer the Cold Steel Walkabout. I use them mainly for support and the added benefit of achieving a workout. Allow me to explain! Walking poles work your arms, shoulders, chest and upper back muscles through a functional range of motion as you walk — which can help you turn your daily walk into a full-body workout. This activity is sometimes called Nordic walking.
Most walking poles have rubber tips that grab the pavement and wrist straps that secure the poles to your arms. With one walking pole in each hand, you grip the handles and push off with each stride. Sturdier walking poles designed for hiking are known as hiking or trekking poles.
Consider the benefits of walking poles:
- The arm movement associated with walking poles adds intensity to your aerobic workout, which helps you burn more calories.
- Walking poles improve balance and stability.
- Walking poles help you maintain proper posture, especially in the upper back, and may help to strengthen upper back muscles.
- Walking poles take some of the load off your lower back, hips and knees, which may be helpful if you have arthritis or back problems.
- Walking with poles may improve your mood.
After a certain age, or perhaps after a fall or an injury, walking without assistance becomes difficult. Often, after walking for a while, we feel a bit weak or insecure. We find ourselves needing something to rest on. It looks like it’s time to get a walking aid such as a walking cane or a walking stick.
A walking stick or walking cane is a device used primarily to aid walking, provide postural stability or support, or assist in maintaining a good posture, but some designs also serve as a fashion accessory, or are used for self-defense.
Walking sticks come in many shapes and sizes and some have become collector's items. People with disabilities may use some kinds of walking sticks as a crutch. The walking stick has also historically been known to be used as a defensive or offensive weapon and may conceal a knife or sword – as in a sword stick.
Hikers use walking sticks, also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles, or hiking sticks, for a wide variety of purposes: to clear spider webs or to part thick bushes or grass obscuring their trail; as a support when going uphill or as a brake when going downhill; as a balance point when crossing streams, swamps, or other rough terrain; to feel for obstacles in the path; to test mud and puddles for depth; to enhance the cadence of striding, and as a defense against wild animals.