Hikers, beginners or not, have their own say about hiking poles. Some think they are a good help, while some say they add to the weight you carry.
Just like other things, the use of hiking poles has its pros and cons. And although hiking with the assistance of poles is not for some, there are actually a lot more benefits it entails.
Listed below are ten ways of how hiking poles can save your life.
Prevents possible knee injury
Your knees are one of the body parts that are susceptible to injury while hiking. This is why leg exercises are essential before exploring a trail.
Strengthening your leg muscles gives much support to your knees as you go up a path or descend.
Now if it's your first time to do hiking and you've never done any leg work out either, then it is better to cling on to a pair of hiking poles. The use of poles reduces the impact not just on your knees but on your leg muscles too.
Helps test the depth of uncertain terrains
Even if you do all the possible research before going on a hike or choose the easiest path, a hiking trail can still be vast and full of uncertain terrains.
Imagine heading into one, and you're clueless on what's on the other side? Hiking poles could come to the rescue.
A simple poke goes a long way to make sure it is entirely safe to pass.
Uses arms to lessen the burden on legs
The position you do as you hold your poles increases blood flow, therefore, making your vital signs more stable. It improves your circulation and, at the same time, redistributes weight to your arms.
If your knees are the ones susceptible to injury while hiking, your legs take much of the effort on this activity.
It may seem that they're not doing much in reducing the pressure both on your knees and legs, but you're wrong. Wait until you descend a hill, you'll get to appreciate them even more.
Provides stability when crossing rivers
Unlike walking on a paved path, hiking on a trail is a different scenario. Although you can hike at your own pace, whatever is waiting on the next trail is always unexpected.
Surely, there will be times you would come across flowing waters and you know how hard it is to go across one.
Hiking poles are the best option for a stabilizer. At the same time, you can check the depth of a certain river before you move on.
Helps you balance on the uneven ground
No matter how strong your leg muscles are, there will be times you feel wobbly and end up falling on your face, especially after going on for hours with all the uneven paths, going up and down.
As mentioned above, hiking poles are a good option for stabilizers. Therefore, they not only protect your knees, joints and legs but also, most importantly, your face.
Smoothens summit traversing
Going up and down on a trail is already a challenge, not to mention traversing a summit.
You may find using hiking poles as an additional load to carry, but when you arrive in that certain situation, you’ll greatly feel the difference.
Increases your endurance
There are different workouts where you can improve your endurance. Taking a spin class, for example, for a week before hiking is one.
However, for those who never find working out in a gym interesting, yet want to try hiking, using these magic sticks is a helpful trick. Endurance is important in hiking, simply because it is required to walk the long hours on an unpaved path.
If you’re a beginner, opt for hiking poles first because even experienced hikers turn to them too.
Protect yourself from wildlife threats
Another thing to look out for as you explore a hiking trail is animals of the wild, may it be wolves or even bears.
Encountering one while you have something in your hand to “shoo” them away is so much better than to come empty-handed.
Swipes those pesky webs and poisonous plants
Aside from wild animals, you also have to look out for plants that are potentially dangerous.
A hiking trail is vast and is densely populated with flora and fauna. Some cause paralysis, while others even cause death with just simple skin contact.
Other experienced hikers would even bring machetes with them to be on the safe side and to pave their way through. But hiking sticks could be another and safer option.
Pitches a tent or makes a splint
Being in a different environment from the usual place where you stay brings out your resourcefulness.
Hiking poles can be used as splints for any broken bone. Of course, that is only taken as a precautionary method to avoid further damage, and a proper check-up of a physician still has to be done.
Or if you forgot your tent pitches for some reason, fret not. Because aside from providing you stability as you hike, these hiking poles could also serve as sturdy tent pitches.
As most hikers say, you either love or hate the use of hiking poles. Some swear by them, while others dismiss the idea right away.
The point here is, just like other things, the use of hiking poles has its own pros and cons. At least give the experience a try, and then make your own judgment moving forward.
Written by Geraldine Mills
About the Author
Geraldine Mills is a brand consultant and a travel writer from Australia. She is a self-confessed wanderlust and loves to share the allure of bag packing through her content. Find her works here.
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