There is no harm or stigma about using walking poles in the hiking community. They are a handy tool for many that help them to travel further and in more comfort.
It is up for debate as to if they making hiking any easier, however from my experience, they allow you to be more confident in your steps while hiking.
Hiking with walking poles gives you the confidence you need, the support for posture and is just overall great for balance and enjoyment of hiking.
Lets dig into all the different reasons why using a hiking (aka walking) pole is a great things to do!
Support proper posture
By using your upper body and pushing the walking poles into the ground, you are also straightening your back and improving your posture.
Whether you are carrying a heavy backpack or are used to spending a lot of time sitting at a desk, the simple movement of driving a pole into the ground and using the momentum to move forward helps pull your shoulders back and straighten your back.
Take some of the load off your lower back, hips, and knees
While walking or hiking, your lower back, legs, and feet take the brunt of the pressure.
Using walking poles helps alleviate some of the weight that would otherwise be putting pressure on all the joints in your lower body.
This is increasingly important if you have arthritis or back problems.
You could view having two walking poles as having a few extra legs. Whether you are hiking across tricky terrain or the ground is slippery, walking poles help you maintain balance and remain upright.
This also applies if you are going up or downhill, particularly when it is incredibly steep.
To help clear the path ahead
Simply having a stick in your hand can help clear the path ahead.
Literally as simple as holding back a branch or removing a spider’s web that is across the trail.
Many times you will find yourself in thickets, and just need a better way to get passed them than just pushing your way through, hiking poles might be a great answer to make your trip a little bit easier!
Get the pole length right
Hopefully, you now see why you could benefit from using a pair of walking poles on your next hike. If you do choose to get a pair, make sure that you get the right pole length.
As a general rule of thumb, your forearm should be parallel with the ground when you have your hand on the grip.