The only people I had ever seen using trekking poles were through hikers on Instagram and the 60+ crew I was passing on the trails. Trekking poles “are an old man’s game” I thought. I’m here to tell you today that I was dead wrong about trekking poles, here are the reasons you’re gonna want to start using them ASAP!
Do you remember a couple of posts ago when I talked about how I have weak hips? Well, this study goes into the effects of downhill vs. uphill exertion and the effects of muscle damage. To summarize, the study concludes that in test subjects ages 22-26 there was a statistical significance suggesting that there is mild delayed muscle damage when walking down hill (which explains why day 2 of my 2 day hike was agony for me on my hips).
This matters because it means that even in your early 20s you can be doing damage to your joints and cartilage which can come back to haunt you later on. Trekking poles can help to mitigate this! In this study scientists looked at the effects walking over long periods of time with and without hiking poles and found that they:
- Increased balance and stability
- Redistributes weight through the arms and torso
- Reduce pressure from the spine and lower limbs
The study concluded that overtime this can be beneficial in reducing pain, however like anything, it’s not a bullet proof method.
Basically, trekking poles are great if you’re looking to take some of the strain off of your joints so that when you are in your 60s you can still be out there hitting the trails.
They’re an amazing prevention method which I’m all about! I know that the price tag on them can look daunting, but I got mine at REI’s summer sale for half the price, and if you shop around for used gear you can get a pair that’s cheaper to make sure they’re right for you!
Personally, I have noticed that I’m a lot more conscious when I walk with my poles and the 8-mile hike I did recently didn’t bother my hips one bit!
If you’re looking for a great pair of poles for a pretty great price you can read my review of REIs Flash Carbon Poles Here! They come made for men and women which is pretty great!
Question: What’s one preventative measure you use when you go hiking?