How To Use Trekking Poles?
Trekking poles and hiking staffs are standard equipment for many walkers, hikers, trekkers, backpackers and snowshoers. The reasons why are simple: They enhance your stability and provide support on all types of terrain.
Select the Right Poles
Consider what kind of hikes you expect to take, your fitness level, your height and weight and your tolerance for having to lock and unlock the poles for changes in terrain. Your trekking poles should make your experience more enjoyable and not become a nuisance.
When asking any hiking professional how to use trekking poles, you’ll likely get a variety of answers because they’re valuable in a number of ways. Consider the many ways these can benefit your treking experiences and you may have a different answer as well.
Improve Your Hike – Make Hills Easier
Hiking uphill can be challenging for your legs and lungs. Poles help you to engage the upper body muscles and relieve some of the stress from the legs. It’s all about exerting leverage when you push off with the poles and move up a slope more efficiently.
You should become accustomed to using the poles as part of your natural stride. As you step with one foot, plant the pole on the opposite side of your body and push as you move ahead.
Using the poles to maintain your balance on uneven ground, rather than just stabilizing your body with just your legs, will save significant energy, as well. Be sure your hands are through the straps when you grip the pole for added leverage.
Save Your Knees on the Downhill
Your knees will thank you for bringing trekking poles along on your next hiking, especially if a steep descent is involved. By absorbing the shock with your arms and upper body rather than your knees, you’re able to move more quickly and comfortably with much less fatigue. When descending, it’s helpful to plant your poles ahead of your opposite foot to make the descent more efficient.
Manage Slippery Slopes
Stability is key when negotiating slippery terrain. You can take a more natural, relaxed stride when you use poles to help maintain balance. Snowy and icy conditions require significant energy just to stay upright and trekking poles take away some of the pressure. They serve the same purpose in wet and muddy conditions.
Not to mention, a bad fall can end your expedition prematurely or result in a trip to the emergency room. The bottom line: When you know how to use trekking poles, challenging and scenic trails are more accessible and safe to explore.
Stay Safe on Uneven Terrain
FREEMOVE poles have adjustable length, and this can really help on uneven terrain. Start with the basic ski pole position. Standing straight up, hold the pole grips with your hands and adjust the length so your forearms are parallel with the ground.
- Uphill—shortening the poles will position them to give you the most leverage for climbing.
- Downhill—lengthening the poles will maximize their shock absorbing capacity and allow you to maintain better posture for more comfort.
- Traversing a slope—for the most stability, shorten the uphill pole and lengthen the downhill pole
Improve Endurance and Adaptability
Regardless of terrain, trekking poles give you the ability to hike further and stay on the trail longer, especially when hiking with a heavy pack. Distributing some of the added weight and stress to the poles is less fatiguing than making your legs do all the work.
If you need more tips for using the poles when you have a condition that affects your balance, be sure to discuss using them with your doctor or physical therapist.
Get out and explore all of the wonderful places there are to enjoy. Make sure FREEMOVE trekking poles are your best companion!
(By Will Kuhlman, for Active.com)