Have you used hiking poles before on your long hikes? Ever thought what they can do for you? Hiking poles are more than just aesthetics. Young hikers tend to look at those with hiking poles and shudder at the thought of using them, wanting to rely on their own two feet throughout their hikes. Years later, they joined the club when the knees and the legs start to tire more easily.

Do you know hiking poles can reduce the weight on your feet by 7 to 11 kg per step. This makes walking uphill easier as your arms support your upper body and give extra support to your legs. Walking downhill is also easier, leaving your legs and knees with less strain over long descents. Hiking poles can also assist in stability when crossing streams or boggy ground.

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When purchasing your hiking poles, there are a few considerations to have. Are you using them in the winter, over boggy ground or urban pavement? The height of the hiker and having the right grip are also important.

For hikes in the snow or over boggy ground, interchangeable baskets for the tips are recommended. Getting the right height of hiking poles will also ensure that there is efficient transfer of weight from the upper body to the hiking poles and not to the elbows. It is recommended that there is a 90° bend at the elbows when the pole tips are touching the ground. If the hiking pole is not at the right height, it can create a strain on the arms, shoulders, back and neck of the hiker throughout the hike. To secure the pole plants and more leverage during uphill climbs, you can shorten each pole by 5-10cm. If you feel a strain or fatigue on your shoulders, it is most likely caused by being in an unnatural, lifted position. You should shorten the pole more. The steeper the slope, the shorter the pole.

To keep your body upright and balanced during descends, it is aright to lengthen the poles by 5-10cm from the general hiking position. This can be paired with the right grip. When griping the hiking poles, place the hand through the provided strap from the bottom up before gripping. The hand is to rest on the strap, giving room for a more relaxed grip to ease the tension. You can adjust the strap length to ensure that your hand is supported at the wrist while in a relaxed grip.