It is the cross country skiing competition of the winter Olympics. You cheer from the crowd as the skiers fly down the trail. Each skier pushes hard with their ski poles. However, one skier is left far behind the pack because he does not have any ski poles. His graceful cross country rhythm has been interrupted due to a lack of balance.
In both cases, the skiers lost the race because they were missing their ski poles. Ski poles are vital because they help maintain balance, provide support, and relieve some of the pressure off your body. If the use of a ski pole is so crucial, then why is it that many hikers do not use a hiking pole during their hikes?
You might not think of a hiking or trekking pole as a necessity until you compare hiking to cross country skiing. In hiking you traverse across a terrain of varying degrees and obstacles. There is constant stress and strain on your muscles and joints as you navigate through rocks, sandy areas, and elevated terrain. Your knees and lower back are constantly adjusting to the pressure placed on them. This can lead to soreness and pain. This is comparable to the demands of cross country skiing.
Hiking pain can be reduced by investing in a hiking or trekking pole. Hiking poles have a wide range of benefits including: improved balance, endurance, and ward off knee injuries. Hiking poles can enable you to successfully cross streams and work through steeper terrain. A mental side effect is that they can boost your confidence allowing you tackle the hiking trail with vigor.
There are different types of hiking and trekking poles available. There are long wooden poles, shorter aluminum poles, snow poles, and ice axes. Want to beef up your regular hiking pole? Hiking poles have various accessories to choose from including: hand grips, shock absorbers, and camera mounts. If you are going on a winter hike you can add a basket to your pole. Another important aspect of your hiking pole is its tip. The common tip is made of carbide. However, rubber tips are also available. Each tip has pros and cons which should be considered when purchasing a pole. Consult a hiking professional to assess which pole is best for you.
If you want more stability and less stress on your body consider investing in a hiking or trekking pole. The ability to navigate through difficult terrain will become a reality. Hiking poles can cost money, but they are worth every penny.
Monica Marty is a hiking fan and the webmaster of where you will find a directory and information on Hiking