Written by Brianna Irion PT, DPT
• Increased caloric expenditure without increased perceived exertion. In other words, walking with trekking poles can increase the amount of calories you are burning without making you feel more tired. Who doesn’t want that?
• Decreased muscle and joint strain. One study looked at the effect trekking poles have on the extent of muscle damage following a long hike. They showed that with use of trekking poles, the damage to muscles and joints is significantly minimized as the forces are distributed through a larger area with use of hiking poles. This results in decreased soreness following the hike along with a reduction in injury risk and improved muscle function.
• Better balance. Hiking requires a lot of walking over uneven surfaces, and sometimes those surfaces are slippery. The use of trekking poles provides improved stability, thereby increasing your safety while you're out on the trails.
• Improved walking form. Trekking poles force your arms and legs to move reciprocally as you walk, creating more efficiency and better mechanics.
• Improved posture. Having the support of trekking poles as you hike provides an external “cue” to help you maintain a proper posture. This will ultimately lead to less pain and soreness following your hike.
Those are only five of many reasons why trekking poles can be hugely beneficial when you’re getting out on the trails this summer. Get ready to jump back into this hiking season with the tool that will prepare you for success!