Tourists with sticks can now be found at every step – in the park, forest, mountains. Different types of activity have their special poles – Scandinavian, ski, trekking. We will talk today about the latest – trekking models designed for traveling through mountainous landscapes.
Let’s define the advantages and disadvantages of trekking poles on a hike. We Look at their advantages and the real benefits that they can provide to their owners.
Shouldn’t I go to the mountains? Or when to use trekking poles
Telescopic trekking poles are needed primarily to facilitate hiking trails with difficult, constantly changing terrain.
In addition to climbing difficult routes, the International Mountaineering Association (UIAA) advises using sticks at all times:
- To old people;
- Overweight athletes;
- For problems with the joints of the legs and the spine;
- With a very heavy backpack ( above the norm );
- When walking at night and when crossing snowy terrain.
If you plan to use sticks only to maintain balance, and the hiking trails run on straight sections with uncomplicated relief. It is worth asking the question: “Do you need them?” After all, this is extra weight and overall space.
It is important to consider the height and weight of the traveler when choosing trekking poles. Therefore, carefully read all the characteristics and designs to ultimately make an informed choice.
Interesting information is provided by the Mountaineering Association (UIAA). They conducted several studies and revealed the negative impact of using trekking poles on the human vestibular apparatus.
With prolonged walking with sticks as a device for balance, the inner sense of balance begins to be disturbed. Our body gets used to “good” quickly …
But, do not worry too much, this is a temporary phenomenon, since the human body quickly adapts to the new conditions of the surrounding reality, and the lack of help from sticks in obtaining balance is just that. After a few hours of walking without sticks, the vestibular apparatus and gait will return to normal!
A similar phenomenon is observed in sailors when, after a long voyage, they go ashore and, by habit, their walking continues to be swaying.
Nevertheless, as well as the benefits of Nordic walking with poles, trekking poles provide certain relief to the body, increase the sense of balance and self-insurance! They are irreplaceable attributes in mountaineering and mountaineering.
An experiment on the effect of trekking poles on speed and endurance
In 2010, at the University of Northumbria (England), an experiment was conducted with two groups of people, almost the same in age and physical condition, as well as the experience of tourist hiking.
During the experiment, two groups climbed and descended Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, at 1,080 meters above sea level.
One group was given additional equipment in the form of trekking poles, while the other hiked in identical equipment, but without them. All participants in the experiment ate and rested the same number of hours during their breaks.
During the entire hike and 48 hours after it, the scientists measured the degree of muscle damage, recovery periods, and the general well-being of the tourists.
After the completion of the study, the subjects who walked the distance with trekking poles revealed:
- Significant reduction in the “acidification” of the leg muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, and so on). There was an order of magnitude less lactic acid in muscle fibers;
- The faster recovery rate of the body within a day after the hike;
- Overall a more alert state, allowing athletes to walk longer and enjoy the hike.
Summing up, I would like to add – tourist sticks are not necessary for everyone, and you should not pay tribute to fashion by buying them because many tourists walk with these sticks. If the route of the hike runs through flat areas, with the presence of roads, then why take with you an additional half a kilogram of excess weight?
For mountains, hills and constantly changing terrain, there will undoubtedly be benefits, and trekking poles will relieve the tourist’s legs, and give him/her more endurance and strength.
If you enjoyed this post, we recently wrote another about the benefits of hiking. You can read it by clicking here.