Using hiking poles is a great idea – regardless of age or fitness level!
Even if you never thought they were for you –
there are so many benefits of using hiking poles that it is well worth giving them a go!
Once the initial awkwardness of learning how to use these handy sticks goes away, you won't have to think twice about how and when to use them.
Here is what you need to know about these useful hiking tools.
Why they deserve a place in your hiking kit
Increased balance and stability
By having four points of contact on the ground, you'll have much better balance and increased stability. They are incredibly useful on uneven or loose terrain, on steep uphill or downhill sections, when having to cross streams or when navigating wet, slippery tracks.
Imagine having four legs instead of two!
Reduced fatigue and less impact on joints
Using hiking poles means you have the advantage of using your core and upper body to help you up and over obstacles along the way. On the way down, you can rest part of your weight on your poles which makes for less tired legs.
A 1999 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine found that hiking poles can reduce compressive force on the knees by up to 25%!
Improve posture and gait
When you use hiking poles you automatically walk more upright, which is great for your posture, and this can also help with your breathing. You often adopt a longer, more regular stride and lean forward fractionally – which also cuts pressure on your knees.
And they make for great photo shoots too 😉
Some questions we get asked regularly:
Are two hiking poles better than one “regular” walking stick?
The simplest answer to this question is that two poles give symmetrical support that one stick does not.
Using two poles will allow you to get a more symmetrical workout, provide more balance, enhance endurance, and even boost your overall speed.
However, some people prefer to have one hand free and one pole is definitely better than none.
Can I use Nordic walking poles on my hiking tour?
The long and thin Nordic walking poles work better on smoother terrain. We recommend using sturdy and telescopic hiking poles as they are better for the rocky, uneven and mountainous terrain we encounter on our New Zealand hiking tracks.
Give hiking poles a go – we are sure you won’t regret it 😊
You can hire a pair from us on your next tour to try them out. And even if you have your own you might prefer to use ours - keeps your luggage nice and easy to pack 😊
Your guide can show you how to adjust and use them properly on your next Sidetracks Women hiking tour.