Guest Author - Elizabeth Brennan
Many walkers find that using walking poles has many advantages and regard their poles as an essential part of their walking gear. If you havenít already discovered these advantages for your-self why not give a pair of walking poles a try?
Using poles will improve your balance especially on rough terrain or slippery surfaces. You have four points of contact with the terrain instead of two which considerably decreases the risk of stumbling or falling. For anybody suffering from weak or damaged knees, ankles or backs using the poles absorbs some of the impact these body parts take when walking and this consequently reduces the stress on these areas.
When walking downhill using poles decreases the amount of stress on your legs and joints and when going uphill they transfer some of the weight to your shoulders and arms and back which causes less leg fatigue.
When you get used to walking with poles they become almost like a walking companion helping you to establish a walking rhythm which in turn helps relax your breathing. Using the poles give you something to do with your arms. This uses more energy and makes your walk more productive as regards fitness and calorie burning. Using your hands to grip your poles prevents hands swelling as you walk.
Walking poles are very useful too if you are walking in woodland or country laneways. You can use them as a tool to brush back brambles or bushes and even chase away annoying dogs and use them as a security weapon against would-be attackers. They can be used to assess the depth of water in a stream you wish to cross or probe boggy or marshy terrain and so make your walk safer.
If you are carrying a heavy rucksack using the poles helps transfer some of the weight to arms and shoulders which lessens the strain on your back. When using poles your body is in a more upright position. This position decreases strain on your lower back and spine.
Most walking or trekking poles are made of light weight aluminium and are adjustable. They come with hand straps and grips to suit all users. If you are thinking of starting to use poles call to your sports shop and view the various models and styles available. There are poles designed specially for every variant of walking or trekking activities. Be clear in your mind as to what you are going to use them for as poles suitable for walking on flat terrain may not be strong enough for rough hilly landscapes.
Enjoy your walking!