Trekking Poles For Beginners: All You Need To Know!

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benefits of trekking poles

Trekking poles might be the perfect addition.

Used by many for better balance and posture, these poles bring numerous benefits.

They can help you burn more calories and engage your upper body, including triceps and core muscles.

Trekking poles also reduce the stress on your knees, hips, and lower back, making them a great choice for anyone with joint issues or spinal stenosis.

Choosing the right trekking poles and setting them up correctly is essential.

You’ll find options ranging from affordable aluminum poles to lightweight carbon fiber ones.

Adjustable straps and the proper height setting are crucial for comfort and effectiveness.

When used properly, trekking poles mimic the natural movement of your arms and legs, enhancing your walking experience and providing a more balanced workout.

Key Takeaways

  • Trekking poles enhance balance and posture while walking.
  • They help burn more calories and engage upper body muscles.
  • Proper setup and technique are important for maximum benefits.

1. Burning More Calories and Using More Muscles

Using trekking poles during your walks involves your arms, especially the triceps and core.

By using these muscles, you can burn up to 20% more calories compared to walking without poles.

2. Better Balance and Posture

Trekking poles help you maintain better balance and posture.

By using the poles properly, you can stand more upright and feel more stable while walking, especially on uneven terrain.

3. Less Stress on Joints

Walking with trekking poles reduces stress on your knees, hips, and lower back.

This is particularly helpful when walking up or down hills, providing extra support and reducing discomfort.

4. Helps with Spinal Stenosis

If you have spinal stenosis, trekking poles can help you walk further and more comfortably.

They promote better posture and help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with spinal stenosis, making it easier to stay active.

Picking the Right Trekking Poles

Types and Materials

Trekking poles come in different materials and types.

Aluminum poles are a good starting point if you are just trying them out. They tend to be heavier but are usually cheaper.

If you enjoy using them, you might want to switch to carbon fiber poles, which are lighter and generally more comfortable, though they are a bit more expensive.

Adjustable Straps and Tips

Look for trekking poles with adjustable straps. These straps help you hold the poles correctly and comfortably.

Make sure they fit your hands well and can be adjusted easily.

The tips of the poles are also important.

Many poles come with different tip options like rubber tips for pavement or pointed tips for ice.

Cushioned tips can reduce the stress on your joints, which is a nice feature to have. Remember to choose the tips that best suit the terrain you will be walking on.

Getting Your Trekking Poles Ready

Adjusting the Pole Length

Stand up straight with your shoulders back.

Hold one of the poles so your arm forms a 90-degree angle or is parallel to the ground.

If the pole feels too long or too short, adjust it until it’s just right.

Once you find the correct height, lock it in place and remember the setting.

Properly Using the Straps

Make sure you use the straps right.

Pull the strap out and put your hand through it from the bottom.

The strap should fit snugly around your wrist and go between your thumb and pointer finger.

This way, your hand can relax while you walk.

This technique prevents tired hands and makes your walk more enjoyable.

Proper Technique for Walking with Poles

To get the most out of your trek, you need to use trekking poles the right way.

The first thing is to ensure the poles are at the correct height.

Stand straight with your shoulders back. Adjust the pole so that your arm is at a 90-degree bend, parallel to the floor.

Next, handle the straps properly.

Slide your hand from the bottom of the strap and then grasp the pole.

This method reduces hand fatigue and provides better support.

Asymmetrical Walking

When walking, follow these steps:

  1. Move your left foot forward and bring the right pole forward at the same time.
  2. Keep the pole behind your foot, not in front.
  3. Push gently with the pole as you step forward.
  4. Alternate arms and legs, similar to the motion when using crutches.

Remember to keep your hands relaxed. You don’t have to grip the poles tightly.

This technique helps you use your arms and core efficiently while reducing stress on your joints.

Extra Tips and Helpful Hints

Using walking sticks or trekking poles can make your walks more enjoyable and beneficial. Here are some tips and insights to help you get the most out of them.

Choosing the Right Poles

  • Price Range: The price of trekking poles can vary from $30 to $200. If you’re new to using them, start with a cheaper set.
  • Material: Aluminum poles are heavier and less expensive, while carbon fiber poles are lighter and a bit more costly.
  • Adjustable Straps and Heights: Look for poles with adjustable straps and heights. This feature is important for comfort and effectiveness.

Benefits of Using Trekking Poles

  • Calorie Burn: You can burn up to 20% more calories by using trekking poles.
  • Joint Relief: They help reduce stress on your knees, hips, and back, especially on hilly terrain.
  • Muscle Engagement: Poles make you use your arms, triceps, and core muscles more during your walk.
  • Improved Posture: They help you maintain better posture, useful for conditions like spinal stenosis.

Setting Up Your Poles

  1. Adjust the Height: Stand with good posture. The pole should be set so your arm forms a 90-degree angle with the ground.
  2. Strap Adjustment: Ensure the straps are adjustable. Insert your hand from the bottom of the strap and then grip the pole.
  3. Technique: As you walk, your opposing arm and leg should move together. The pole should not go past your foot, and you should feel the push when you step.

Additional Features

  • Multiple Tips: Some poles come with various tips, including those for ice and off-road use.
  • Cushioned Handles: These reduce the strain on your joints, making your walks more comfortable.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.