Thanks to Alpine Physical Therapist, Brace Hayden, DPT, OCS, CSCS for this informative article!
If I told you there was an inexpensive device that improves your cardiovascular fitness, reduces loading and pain in your leg and back joints associated with weight-bearing exercise, AND strengthens your arms while walking or hiking, you’d likely be interested, right? Call them what you want, Trendy Trekkers, Exerstriders, Nordic Walkers, or Pole Walkers, but they are taking over the streets and trails for great reasons. Let me demonstrate with this picture of me in my Alpine Physical Therapy shirt while using poles on one of my recent hikes.
From a Physical Therapist’s perspective, this is the value-added device of the century! People have been using poles, staffs, sticks, and rods of various sorts to help them navigate tricky terrain for hundreds of years. Fortunately, there is mounting evidence to support the benefits of using ski poles or two sticks to double down (or triple down) on your walks or hikes. Here are just a few of the benefits of using these devices:
- Improves coordination and walking ease
- Increases your average energy expenditure of around 25% without making the walk “harder”
- Decreases your lower extremity and spine peak impact forces of around 25%, as significant weight becomes supported by upper body
- Reduces possible joint-related aches and pains from your lower extremity joints and spine
- Increases your core and upper body muscle fitness as you walk
- Improves posture, balance, and confidence
Below are some additional valuable resources on this topic:
Click here for an article comparing the multiple benefits of using various walking poles for fitness pursuits.
Click here for a power point presentation on benefits of utilizing poles for walking from a Physical Therapy perspective.
Click here for a research-based article on the science behind trekking poles and their quantifiable fitness improvement and soreness-reduction benefits.
Missoula, get your hike on with the advantages of using poles on walks or hikes!