August! Finishing vacations…some go back to school… some are glad others are going back to school…end of summer does not mean end of outdoor activities.
Try trekking/walking poles to enhance your typical walking or hiking activity. If you have stability issues, medical issues, knee and/hip replacements trekking poles are a wonderful stabilizing tools as well as increasing the muscle usage in your upper body and core, higher cardiovascular return and less compression on your knees, ankles and feet. I now use them for 3 of my clients-1 with MS, 1- who has had knee and hip replacement, 1-senior. All are receiving increased balance, stability and calorie usage. I am even using trekking poles when I walk and hike now! Love them.
Trekking and Walking Pole benefits
Trekking poles are an essential tool for hiking and mountaineering but did you know how good they were for walking? Here we give ten reasons to use trekking poles and discusses how to overcome their limitations.
- Trekking poles, like ski poles, allow your arms to help propel you forward and upward. Whether walking on flat ground or up steep hills, poles can help to increase your average speed.
- Poles reduce the impact on your legs, knees, ankles, and feet. This is especially true when going downhill. A 1999 study in The Journal of Sports Medicine found that trekking poles can reduce compressive force on the knees by up to 25 percent.
- Trekking poles can be used to deflect back country nuisances. They can push away thorny blackberries and swipe away spider webs that cross trails– which can make help to you more comfortable.
- Walking with poles can help you establish and maintain a consistent rhythm, which can increase your speed. This is especially true on flatter, non-technical terrain.
- The extra two points of contact significantly increase your traction on slippery surfaces like mud, snow, and loose rock.
- Poles help you maintain balance in difficult terrain such as during river crossings, on tree root-strewn trails, and on slippery bog bridges. Staying balanced in turn helps you move more quickly and more easily.
- Poles can act as a probe to give you more information than you can get with your eyes. Use them to learn more about puddles, melting snow bridges, and quicksand.
- They can help to defend against attacks from dogs, bears and other wildlife. Swing them overhead to make yourself look bigger or throw them like a spear.
- Trekking poles help to alleviate some of the weight you carry. For example, if you have a heavy pack on or are over weight, and you take a short break, leaning on the poles will make you more comfortable.
- Trekking poles can be used for things other than trekking. They save the weight of bringing dedicated tent poles; pitching a shelter with trekking poles can save up to two pounds. (Trekking poles are also much stronger and more rigid than tent poles, so they’re less likely to break in high winds. The help to create safer shelters.) Poles can also double as a medical splint and can serve as ultralight packrafting paddles.
The Europeans have been using trekking poles for years as part of their trail and ultra-distance race strategies. They understand the added value in engaging your arms on steeper ascents and when you are starting to really drag. Trekking poles have started to make a dent in American ultras, but generally only in the longer mountain races.
Walking with poles is an exercise that is easy on the joints and gives you a great workout. Walking poles began to appear in the news in 1988 but are still relatively uncommon. You can enjoy the benefits of increased upper body strength and improved balance by adding walking poles to your daily walk. Tom Rutlin, creator of the Exerstride Nordic Walking method, is credited with bringing the first commercial walking poles to the United States.
Get a Total Body Workout
Brisk walking is an effective workout that works your heart and develops strong leg muscles. However, walking by itself does not tone your upper body. Walking poles work your arms, shoulders, chest and upper back muscles through a full range of motion as you walk. The effort you use swinging the poles transforms your daily walk into a total body workout. The motion you use is similar to that of cross-country skiing.
Build Your Balance
A 2009 study published in the Clinical Rehabilitation journal compared groups of men who walked with poles with those who did not. The study found that lower body endurance and dynamic balance were significantly better in the Nordic Walking group in comparison with the walking training and control groups. You improve your balance while walking with poles because the walking poles force you to move with good posture in an upright position, which trains your body and properly aligns your spine while in motion. This correct walking posture will improve your balance over time.
Sneak in Some Core Strengthening
Walking with poles also strengthens your core abdominal muscles, which are the muscles you use to lift, bend over and support yourself as you walk. When you use walking poles, you engage your abdominal muscles every time you lift and plant the poles in front of you and as you bring the poles back to front. This keeps your core muscles engaged throughout your entire walk. You will not only feel the difference as you exercise, but over time you may also see a difference in the appearance of your abdominal muscles.
Boost Your Calories Burned
According to a study published in 2002 edition of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, walking with poles significantly increased the amount of oxygen the participants used and the number of calories they burned. Walking without poles burns approximately 200 calories per half an hour, but by adding poles to your workout, you will increase the rate you burn calories, which gives you a more efficient workout for your time. If losing weight is one of your goals, walking with poles may help you reach your goal weight more quickly.