How to use a Hiking Pole
What are Hiking Poles?
Hiking poles are designed primarily to give you stability and confidence while walking. A set of poles can be useful on regular exercise walks, and a must have if you plan to take a hike on rough terrains or tackle rocky mountain trails.
Benefits of Hiking
Hiking is good for the mind
The views, the fresh air, the smells, and the sounds of nature are very soothing to the human psyche. Have something weighing on you? Go hiking to clear your head. Need a fresh outlook? Go on that trek, and by the time you get back home, you will be teaming up with new ideas. Walking combats symptoms of stress and anxiety and aids creativity.
Hiking is good for the body
Walking is good for weight loss- It does so by burning calories. You also lower the risk of heart disease and improve blood sugar levels and blood pressure by walking. Your bones, muscles in the lower legs will thank you for it. Walking straight with the help of a hiking pole strengthens your core and improves your balance.
How Hiking Poles Help
Whether to use or not use a hiking pole for trekking boils down to personal preference. Research seems to be on the side of to use, especially if you intend to nordic walk.
Hiking poles also help with:
- Walking in a more upright posture, for better breathing and less back pain
- Getting you an upper body workout with the legs workout
- Strengthening and building back, shoulder, neck, and arms muscles
- Better body and pack weight distribution
- Better grip and balance on uneven terrain
- Protect your knees from the impact of downhill walking
- Reduce fatigue and improve endurance
Types of Hiking Poles
Nordic walk Hiking poles
The strap a Nordic walk hiking pole has a separate thumb loop and goes from the wrist to the palm. Nordic poles are lightweight adapted ski poles: they are more sporty and better suited for smoother terrain. They come in collapsible or non-collapsible lengths. Because of their design, you should consider your hand size when purchasing.
Trekking /Hiking Poles
Trekking poles are more suited for uneven and rocky terrain or trail. They have a loop that goes around the wrist, to ensure the pole does not drop if you were to release your grip. The grips of trekking poles are designed to better fit in hand. There are collapsible and non-collapsible version too. A sturdy, foldable hiking stick is essential gear for any avid traveler.
How to Use a Hiking Pole
Preparation: Correct pole length is the starting point. Using an even surface as a reference point, the best length to hold your poles is the tip touching the ground when your elbow is at 90 degrees.
Strap up by passing each hand through the loop to grip the pole handle, and you are ready the go!
How to Hold the Poles: The grip should be relaxed. All you need is to hold the pole between your thumb and forefinger. The shape of the grip will guide your hand in the direction of the hold.
Arm and Leg coordination: Start by a normal walk, dragging the poles behind you.Then bring your arms up to the side and they should have already found the correct rhythm to walk with the hiking poles. If more stability is needed, plant the tip of the poles lightly. If you need to pick up the pace, involve the shoulders to plant the poles slightly behind you for propulsion.
Uphill and Downhill poling: The motion you will be targeting going uphill is a little push. For this shortening the length of your poles will help. Keep the poles close to your body, not ahead. Push, step up and move forward.
To go downhill increase the length of your poles. The target is to give yourself a break from falling forward. Move downhill by planting poles slightly ahead of you, taking small steps, with soft knees. Poles should never get behind you downhill or downstairs.
While making a turn: Poles should always be at your sides.
To sit or stand up: For these two actions, grip poles without straps. To sit, place poles to your side and lower yourself. To stand, position tips angled backward and rise.
Other Suggestions for Improving Your Hiking
Want a perfect hike? There are a plethora of things you can do. You can invest in different types of tips and feet sets for the poles.
Hiking poles come in different sizes.Make sure you get the right size for your height.
Walking socks and shoes, waterproof boots, and jackets are valuable assets for your hiking gear.
About the author:
Mike Cutler writes on active senior lifestyles and is a healthy lifestyle Blogger as well as product tester for Earth Trek Gear. He lives with his family in Reno NV and enjoys going to the Sierra Nevada mountains for hiking and family activities.