The Health Benefits Of Using Trekking Poles On Your Next Hike

When it comes to hiking, you'll find an abundance of gear available to help hikers trek with ease. While hiking gear may serve different purposes, there's one type of equipment that is invaluable to any hiker making a steep climb — trekking poles.

They are not to be confused with Nordic walking poles, as these poles are built somewhat differently. Trekking poles have a hand grip with a loose wrist strap loop, while Nordic walking poles have a hand grip with a glove style strap, points out Bristol Nordic Walking. This makes it easy for a quick release from the pole, a feature many trekking poles do not have.

Additionally, trekking poles have a rounded, curved, or square knob at the top, explains Bristol Nordic Walking. These poles can help spread out your body weight when hiking.

Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) points out that trekking poles are all about enhancing stability and supplying extra support on various types of terrains. To name a few, think about trekking across rocky slopes and meandering through meadows but with added support.

While trekking poles seem like a great investment, you may be wondering what are the scientific-backed health benefits of using trekking poles on your next hike. Keep on reading to find out more.

Trekking poles help improve your balance

Beyond providing stability, one of the biggest health benefits of using trekking poles on your next hike is that the poles protect your knees. In particular, the poles help reduce the impact backpacking and hiking can have on your knees when exploring rugged terrain, explains REI.

One 2016 study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science reported that downhill walking can damage both the muscles and cartilages, but trekking poles may help mitigate this damage temporarily. The researchers explain that this may be due to the pole's ability to help ease loading on the lower body during downhill walking.

A different 2020 study published in the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine found that trekking poles also reduce lower extremity muscle activity if you're carrying a heavy load such as a backpack or other equipment. This in turn places more demand on your cardiovascular system. The researchers also found that trekking poles can increase your stability and improve your balance when hiking.

In addition, the health benefits of trekking poles last well beyond the hike itself. According to a 2011 study, using poles when trekking through the mountains helps your body preserve its muscle function many days after the hike, and it can also prevent injury.

So, if you're wondering if you should bring trekking poles along on your next hiking adventure, it may not be a bad idea.