If you think trekking poles are just for “older hikers,” I’m here to tell you that using trekking poles is how you get to be an “older hiker”! My original trekking poles are older than some of the people I’ve hiked with over the 25+ years I’ve been using them.
They became a part of my standard hiking equipment after injuring my knee doing the Dogwood Half Hundred 50-kilometer hike in the Shenandoah Mountains one spring day back in the mid-1990s.
Since then, they’ve helped me enjoy hikes in multiple states and countries, from Alaska to Peru.
Based on science and my experience, here are the top 4 reasons why you should use trekking poles.
1. Save Your Knees
I honestly don’t know how much hiking I’d still be doing without poles. They are an absolute savior on the downhills. Using poles reduces the pressure on your knees and other joints. And let’s face it, as our joints get older, they can use all the help they can get!
2. Increase Your Endurance
By spreading the effort to include your upper body, your legs can hike longer and stronger. This is especially helpful when you’re carrying a heavier pack for a longer day hike or backpacking trip. Plus I love getting a full-body workout!
3. Improve your stability
If I had a dollar for every time I was grateful to have my poles for a sketchy stretch of trail, stream crossing, large step or other obstacle, I’d be on my world travel dream trip right now!
I’ll call out “four legs good” to my husband – less a literary reference to Animal Farm and more an acknowledgment that four points of contact have kept me from falling many times.
4. Enjoy more of the scenery
One thing I noticed soon after I started using trekking poles is that I looked around more during hikes. With the increase in stability and sure-footedness (is that a word?), I spent less time looking down at the trail for potential obstacles. I naturally stood up straighter and gazed farther down the trail.
And that’s why I recommend trekking poles to my hiking clients!
Ready to join the trekking pole tribe? I’ve also put together 3 factors to consider when selecting trekking poles, and 5 tips for using trekking poles.