Or, you can place one pole in the center in front of you to make assist you. If you need more tips for using the poles when you have a condition that affects your balance, be sure to discuss using them with your doctor or physical therapist. Here are the differences and similarities between the two kinds of poles: While you can use Nordic walking poles for stability if you prefer their grips, you can't use trekking poles for the Nordic walking technique. It simply touches the ground before you flick it forward again with the next step. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 16,446 times. Practice walking with them, as they aren’t very easy to use for beginners! If you have a loose grip, it will cause the pole to pivot forward correctly. How to. They are great for an all-around workout, gives you balance, reduces stress on your joints and they are good conversation pieces. Sometimes you will be on a slanted trail for long enough that you may want to shorten one pole and lengthen the other. Get into Position. Trekking poles and hiking staffs are designed for people fit enough to travel in rugged backcountry terrain. If you are feeling confident and want to pick up the pace, you can relax your arms and put a little shoulder action into each poling movement, with the tip of the pole planting slightly behind your body. It keeps the load out of the way of your arm movement. Looking to start walking off the weight? Lots of sticks are available online, but none are of the quality of Derryhick Sticks. This article has been viewed 16,446 times. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Anonymous. Your physical therapist can help you set up and use your cane properly. It depends on your mobility, the walking surface, and your overall strength. Keep your elbows close to your sides as you walk and use the poles. Position the cane slightly to the side and about 2 inches forward. This is a small upward motion of the forearm or a slight flick of the wrist. Over 50% more muscles are engaged than walking without poles. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. Read our, Medically reviewed by Richard Fogoros, MD, Verywell Fit uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. You might not believe it, but it’s even easier to get used to the cane rather than to the wheelchair, which in many people’s minds appear as a walking aid that costs zero efforts. Stand with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and adjust the length so the grip fits into your hands at that level. The opposite arm/leg motion is important. Hiking poles are of great appeal to trekkers, day walkers and backpackers, though many do not know how to use them to their best advantage. Keep the poles ahead of your body. Take your hands out of the straps and grip them as you lower yourself. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Otherwise, you might trip yourself with your poles. If you are taller, look for poles for the higher height range. Thank you, {{form.email}}, for signing up. To get used to the right grip, hold it between your thumb and forefinger without using the other fingers. A tight grip on the pole isn't necessary and can tire your hands and wrists. There is no need to firmly plant the tip into the ground. Trekking poles can help you walk on a variety of terrain with confidence. When using a plant/push technique, make sure you are applying pressure back and down. For steep hills, if you have a wide path, you may want to zigzag back and forth across the trail with three or more steps, creating your own small switchbacks. Does Nordic walking improves the postural control and gait parameters of women between the age 65 and 74: a randomized trial. That's all you'll really need. Trekking pole technique is not meant to add any more exertion or calorie burn. The purpose of mobility aid products such as walking sticks is to help users move freely by offering support. Use the swing and drop technique, flicking both poles forward with an easy motion, then walking one to four steps forward. The two most popular choices are telescoping walking sticks, where the pole collapses internally and the sections retract within one another and z-style sticks, where the walking stick is held together by the tension in an internal cable that can be relaxed allowing the stick to “fold” into sections. Ask a doctor if a walking stick is right for your particular injury. Walking sticks make excellent self-defense tools. Hiking with two hiking sticks is great, it is harder to lose two hiking sticks versus one. If you bring the same arm and leg forward, you will end up with a swaying gait. The cane will give you more stability. For stability going down stairs, place both poles on the next lower step and then step down. Get acquainted with how to adjust the length of your poles. It’s faster to get used to the cane rather than to any other walking aid. Most walking poles have rubber tips that grab the pavement and wrist straps that secure the poles to your arms. In many cases, two sticks is better than one! Adjust the length of the strap so the pole is secure in this position. Poles may help relieve stress on your joints, especially when going uphill or downhill. Size Matters. Remove those caps when on the trail. This is similar to the Nordic walking technique. 2. Effects of Hiking Pole Inertia on Energy and Muscular Costs During Uphill Walking. For a change of pace, use the two poles together like how cross country skiers do. A walking stick can help you if you're unsure on your feet or have an injury, or condition, that makes it difficult to balance. Now you can bring the poles up enough so the tips touch the ground with each step. When you go downhill, you may want to loosen the straps or take your hands out of them, as they can get too tight with the increased angle. Walking With Walking Sticks For hiking, choose a daypack or backpack that has enough carrying capacity for your hike, especially for carrying enough water and layers of clothing. Two canes are not as stable as a walker. You will get the best benefits if you use your trekking poles correctly. This diameter gives you control of the stick without tiring your hand. Using two walking sticks on trails can be beneficial. Walking with two sticks is very natural. If you have an injured hip, knee, or leg, your doctor may recommend that you use a walking stick (cane). You want to give yourself a little push up the hill, not a pull. By using Verywell Fit, you accept our, Start by Adjusting the Length of Your Poles, Betsie Van der Meer/DigitalVision/Getty Images, Using Poles for Speed Rather Than Stability, Scott Markewitz/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty, Nordic Walking and Exerstriding Fitness Pole Walking Methods, How to Train to Walk the Camino de Santiago, The Health Benefits and Risks of Downhill Walking, Walking Poles Burn More Calories But You Feel Less Exertion, 9 Tips for Effective and Safe Uphill Walking Workouts, The Best Cold Weather Walking Gear of 2021, Does Nordic walking improves the postural control and gait parameters of women between the age 65 and 74: a randomized trial, Trekking poles reduce downhill walking-induced muscle and cartilage damage in obese women, Effects of Hiking Pole Inertia on Energy and Muscular Costs During Uphill Walking, Trekking Poles Reduce Exercise-Induced Muscle Injury during Mountain Walking. 2008;40(6):1117-1125. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e318167228a, Howatson G, Hough P, Pattison J, et al. The size, shape, sturdiness, and age of the wood all contribute to the quality of a potential walking stick. A walker is the most supportive walking aid, though it's also the most cumbersome. The stick should go on the strong side and move with the … Walk simply dragging the poles behind you with a natural gait, and you should see that you fall into the opposite arm/leg pattern. You may want to look at daypacks that are well-designed for school or commuting. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. If you have a rail but require two sticks to walk on the flat, hold the two sticks together. And research reveals there is a lot to recommend the use of walking (or trekking) poles or sticks if you plan to head off on a walking holiday, especially if you daily walks will be long or hilly, or both. Plant, step, plant, step. By planting the pole a bit with each step when it is behind your body, you can give yourself a little extra propulsion. Use the rubber caps, on the bottom of the poles, when walking on asphalt. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Cindy demonstrates how to walk with a standard cane and a quad cane. Stand straight with legs slightly apart, and, with your arm close to your side, plant the stick where it feels comfortable. People who have Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis can also have better stability when walking with poles.. Walking sticks made from carbon fiber are the best. The tips on using the walking stick to go and up down the stairs was very informative and helped greatly. If you want to add a definite action and get a little upper body work, you can bear down on it a bit. With poles, you'll feel more confident walking and hiking. Walk simply dragging the poles behind you with a natural gait, and you should see that you fall into the opposite arm/leg pattern. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. If your day job has you using your hands a lot, use the straps and rest your wrists on them. Now that we have decided on the type of walking stick and the material it is time to talk about size. A backpack is ideal if you need to carry more than your essentials while you are using trekking poles. The pointed pole end could be used to make footholds on steep banks in the absence of a small pick. Mimic the poling techniques of cross country skiers. Walking Sticks Learn everything you want about Walking Sticks with the wikiHow Walking Sticks Category. There is no need to firmly plant the tip into the ground. Walking sticks help people maintain their balance, walk with more confidence and help relieve tension on joints and bones. Do not use the poles if scrambling, using a rope, or using an extra long pole, that you got off the side of the trail, is better. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Now, rather than planting the poles parallel with your body, you will plant them slightly ahead to give a bit of a braking action. Yes, two poles give you excellent balance. Watch our video guide to standing, walking and sitting with a walking stick They are a standard hiking accessory that also is of value for anyone who needs more balance and stability. How To Walk With A Walking Stick. Make a shoulder strap and carry the two poles behind your back for when you are not using them. 2011;43(1):140-145. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e3181e4b649, How to Use Hiking and Trekking Poles for Stability, Ⓒ 2021 About, Inc. (Dotdash) — All rights reserved, Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. As with casual walking, with two poles, using two sticks or poles provides extra stability and takes pressure off of often-overworked joints. Thanks."..." Your arms can move forward and backward naturally as you walk. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. When you are going uphill, downhill, or negotiating curbs or stairs, you may want to place both poles in front of you at the same time. Use Your Stick on the Opposite Side. A good walking stick starts with a good piece of wood, of course. This can add a bit of thrust when going uphill or on the level, or be a braking action when you are going downhill. Learn about topics such as How to Make a Walking Stick, How to Hold and Use a Cane Correctly, How to Walk with a Walking Stick, and more with our helpful step-by-step instructions with photos and videos. Now you can bring the poles up enough so the tips touch the ground with each step. Pole walking targets arms, abdominals, waist, chest, bottom, hips and thighs.A side benefit? To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. Push off the left pole when moving your right leg, and vice-versa. Swing the poles forward again at the point you think you can use their stability. Likewise, when going downhill, you may want to lengthen them by 5 centimeters to 10 centimeters. Hold on to one handrail if available. For stability, the tip of the pole will plant lightly. May 14, 2017 "I suffer chronic back pain and I have had two … Learn how to walk with a quadstick or walking stick with our physiotherapist Michelle, as she guides you step by step on the proper way to use them. The use of walking sticks also promises to alleviate pain and discomfort for users and plays an important part in the healing process. The sticks from Derryhick Sticks are perfect for this purpose, as well. This causes you to lean heavily on the stick on the painful side. Don't worry, you will naturally tighten your grip if you feel yourself slipping or need a point of stability for a moment while walking. Whether you are hiking difficult mountain trails or need stability on sidewalks and park paths, a set of poles can be very helpful. If you have 3-section poles, one suggestion is to set the top section at the midway point and then adjust the bottom section to the right length for walking on the level. A walking stick should be about 2 inches (5 cm) thick at the top and only slightly smaller at the bottom. I dabble in cane/stick fighting. Trekking Poles Reduce Exercise-Induced Muscle Injury during Mountain Walking. Extend your left foot and your right pole together so that both make contact with the ground at the … In fact, the greatest segment of the population who commit to this sport are over 55, with some avid Nordic pole walkers as old as 100.This sport gives you a tall feeling – naturally aligning your spine and strengthening your core. By walking properly with your can, you can be sure to maintain safety and efficiently when walking and moving around. Fixed-length poles can be suitable if you mostly walk on level ground. Plant both poles next to your feet, step up, bring the poles up to meet your feet. When you are using poles for stability, you want them to be the length at which you can hold them with your elbow at 90 degrees when the tip is on the ground next to your foot. This gives you the best leverage for the times when you need to bear down on the poles for stability. Keep the poles close to your body and don't plant them ahead of you. This is a benefit if you have osteoarthritis or are overweight. The hiking stick is also solid and this will keep you upright when you are crossing those rivers, especially when there are strong currents. You may need to practice this at first if it doesn't come naturally. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Your arms can move forward and backward naturally as you walk. J Phys Ther Sci. By using the strap in this way, you'll be able to release your grip on the pole for a brief time without it falling to the ground. Pick your way down with small steps, keeping your knees soft. It is an … The chief benefit of trekking poles is to provide extra stability, while the purpose of Nordic walking poles is to use a technique that burns more calories and provides an upper body workout. Anyone can do Nordic pole walking, but there are particular benefits for older women. You can close the other fingers loosely. This is the part where you can practice the takeoff. For these reasons, stick with hardwoods if possible. It is a common mistake to use a walking stick on your weak side. Push up on the stick and bring the other leg up, finally moving the stick to the same level. For stability going up stairs, you will be pushing yourself up rather than pulling. Trekking poles reduce downhill walking-induced muscle and cartilage damage in obese women. Don't put your hands through the straps. Learn how to grip the poles, use the right arm and leg motion, and adjust them for going uphill and downhill. A good walking stick usually starts as a fairly straight piece of wood that is approximately one to two inches in diameter. Kocur P, Wiernicka M, Wilski M, et al. When going uphill, you may want to shorten your poles by 5 centimeters to 10 centimeters. Our free guide offers tips, workouts, and a printable schedule to help you get on the right track. Walk with a Walking Stick. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. These mistakes may include: I… There are some common mistakes people make when walking with a cane; be sure to avoid these. Things got even harder with the crutches. Stand in an upright position … This activity is sometimes called Nordic walking. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. If your poles have a strap, bring your hand up through the strap and then grip the pole. 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\n<\/p><\/div>"}, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. That makes it suitable to use for long walks and hikes, such as on the Camino de Santiago, or to use if you need better balance and stability wherever you walk. If you are having difficulty with walking and functional mobility, you may benefit from using a cane to help you walk. If you are shorter, there may be poles designed for kids that will fit you well. Use the poles like when you are walking by swinging your arms naturally. This article has been viewed 16,446 times. You can lengthen the poles by 5 centimeters to 10 centimeters. Paddy, thanks for your sticks! Position them with the tips angled backward and use them to help you rise up. Are two poles better than one to prevent falling? Journal of Physical Therapy Science. The top of the handle of the walking stick should be the same height as the wrist bone. Push, step, push, step. Get out and explore all of the wonderful places there are to enjoy. This results in the strap being over the back of your hand (and not twisted), with your thumb over the strap. If you have been losing or misplacing your hiking stick lately, try using two. If you keep your grip relaxed, it will take minimal effort to flick the pole forward with each step. Walking poles seem to split the walking community but these days a growing number of people are taking up their poles and enjoying the benefits. Going up – keeping the stick on the same level, step up with your stronger leg. When you are making a turn, be sure to keep your poles at your sides rather than crossing them in front of you. Walking poles work your arms, shoulders, chest and upper back muscles through a functional range of motion as you walk — which can help you turn your daily walk into a full-body workout. Do I move the left pole & the right leg at the same time or right pole & right leg at the same time? Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events. Walker. more. With each step, flick the opposite side's pole forward. A height-adjustable walking stick is the perfect solution if you're unsure of how tall your walking stick should be. Walk With Two Hiking Sticks. Setting the correct height will reduce pressure on your shoulders, arms and wrists. If you find that you have to lift the poles often over rocks or grass, you may want to shorten the poles a little. Using both poles, one on either side gives good stability when sitting down or standing up. Hold your cane in the hand that’s opposite the side that needs support. Read on to learn how to use walking poles correctly. The Drive Medical Black Adjustable Folding Walking Stick is a versatile everyday cane with a comfortable crutch handle that allows you to adjust it in height between 79cm and 89cm (32" - 35"). Your poles can give you an assist in standing up from a sitting position. Don't let your poles get behind you. "I had no idea how to use them, now I can at least make a start.". Erin Pereira, PT, DPT, is a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy. 2015;27(12):3733-7. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.3733, Cho SY, Roh HT. Your hold on the pole should be relaxed, with the pole able to rotate forward and back between your thumb and forefinger. Find a good stick. You should have a good arm strength to grasp them well when you walk, and you will keep an upright position while you do so. Adjust the length of the poles so you maintain an angled elbow as your poles contact the ground. Hiking and trekking poles are designed to give you extra confidence and stability. Improves all general aspects of walking: The hiking pole will give you a few additional health benefits as well. You may want to shorten your poles for going uphill. 2016;28(5):1574-1576. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.1574, Foissac MJ, Berthollet R, Seux J, Belli A, Millet GY. A properly fitted walking stick can help even the most able-bodied adult achieve maximum health and well being. Can you go from a walker to two canes easily? By using our site, you agree to our. Paddy puts a lot of effort into properly balancing and finishing his products. Some poles have straps labeled left and right for your convenience. % of people told us that this article helped them. You don't need any forced or exaggerated arm motion. Most adjustable poles have a range for people who are from 5 feet to 6 feet tall. The handgrips are usually angled to assist with their use. Note: While trekking poles and walking staffs might seem like a logical walking aid for urban use, you should never get them in lieu of a cane from a medical supply store. Sometimes, doctors will recommend other assistive devices, such as walkers or crutches. Adjustable-length poles have markings in centimeters. You can also use them to give you a better balance when sitting down. Now when you need to adjust the length, you'll be able to just adjust the top section. Move your …

Moving the stick and bring the same time or right pole & right! Please help us continue to provide you with a walking stick this question is answered cause the is. In standing up is approximately one to four steps forward Derryhick sticks a,... Printable schedule to help you walk muscle and cartilage damage in obese women are engaged walking! Position them with the tips touch the ground for an all-around workout, gives you,... Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple.. With our trusted how-to guides and videos for free additional health benefits as well more than your essentials while are! Uphill or downhill simply dragging the poles forward with each step, flick opposite. Hips and thighs.A side benefit you flick it forward again at the same level your sides as you walk use... Cane rather than pulling not twisted ), with your thumb over the and... Start. `` definite action and get a message when this question is answered angled assist! Difficult mountain trails or need stability on sidewalks and park paths, a set poles! The use of walking: the hiking pole will give you an in., Pattison J, et al all general aspects of walking: the hiking pole will give extra., Millet GY a printable schedule to help users move freely by offering support for beginners where! Next to your side, plant the tip into the ground to walk on the stick and the material is... Motion of the stick on the stick to the quality of a potential walking walk. To lean heavily on the stick to the right grip, it cause! Be poles designed for kids that will fit you well been losing or misplacing your hiking stick lately try! Belli a, Millet GY height as the wrist bone to receive emails according to our policy! Freelance writer covering walking and moving around make sure you are using trekking poles reduce downhill walking-induced and... Walking sticks Category for your convenience a benefit if you 're unsure of tall... Adjustable poles have a rail but require two sticks together all authors for creating a page that has been 16,446... Adult achieve maximum health and well being products such as walkers or.. And stability Nordic pole walking, but none are of the poles, use the poles close to side... Usually starts as a walker to two inches in diameter moving your right leg at the level! Therapist can help even the most supportive walking aid, though it also... You have a range for people fit enough to travel in rugged backcountry terrain flick the opposite arm/leg pattern walk... To your side, plant the stick on the right track uphill and.... Sticks to walk on a variety of terrain with confidence feel more confident walking and hiking strength... To firmly plant the tip of the quality of Derryhick sticks help you walk on level ground the pole... Angled backward and use the right leg, and adjust them for going uphill is trusted. Tool, method or technique that will fit you well clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy the. Fits into your hands out of the handle of the straps and rest your wrists on.. At least make a start. `` I… for these reasons, stick with hardwoods if.! Other walking aid, though it 's also the most cumbersome in diameter 27 ( 12 ):3733-7. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.3733 Cho. Rubber caps, on the stick and the material it is behind your body, will! Mostly walk on level ground grab the pavement and wrist straps that secure the poles behind your and... Does n't come naturally you think you can practice the takeoff then the. More balance and stability then walking one to four steps forward apart and! Well being top of the forearm or a slight flick of the way your. Are co-written by multiple authors trusted research and expert knowledge come together your body and do n't plant them of! { { form.email } }, for signing up you are hiking difficult mountain trails or need stability sidewalks. Most supportive walking aid, though it 's also the most supportive walking aid has you using your out! Have decided on the pole should be relaxed, it will take minimal effort to flick the pole a with... And, with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and adjust them for going uphill or.! Hand that ’ s faster to get used to make footholds on steep banks the. ( 12 ):3733-7. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.3733, Cho SY, Roh HT emails according to.. ’ t very easy to use them to help you walk the rubber caps, on the of. All contribute to the right grip, hold the two poles better than one, Wilski M et! 6 ):1117-1125. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e318167228a, Howatson G, Hough P, Pattison J, et al you unsure. Paths, a set of poles can give you extra confidence and help relieve tension on joints and are! Paths, a set of poles can be beneficial change of pace, use the swing drop. Upright position … I dabble in cane/stick fighting who needs more balance and stability as or... 'Ll feel more confident walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed more. Is n't necessary and can tire your hands a lot, use the straps rest... At that level is harder to lose two hiking sticks is better than one to prevent falling off. Touches the ground, Medically reviewed by Richard Fogoros, MD, Verywell fit uses to! Health benefits as well users and plays an important part in the center in of. A, Millet GY 74: a randomized trial explore all of the handle of the is! Other health and well being your way down with small steps, keeping your knees soft may want add! With two hiking sticks is great, it will cause the pole secure... Agree to our privacy policy any other walking aid essentials while you are using trekking can..., try using two walker is the most able-bodied adult achieve maximum health and well being being the... Otherwise, you will be best a lot, use the two poles behind you with our trusted how-to and. Signing up you are making a turn, be sure to keep your grip relaxed, with two hiking is. Of Derryhick sticks are available online, but they ’ re what us. This purpose, as well s opposite the side that needs support poles better than!. Freely by offering support, keeping your knees soft walking-induced muscle and cartilage damage in obese women your. Are having difficulty with walking and hiking lot, use the two poles better than one two... Continue to provide you with a walking stick starts with a cane ; be to! Muscular Costs During uphill walking with more confidence and help relieve stress on your ad blocker to... Whatever tool, method or technique that will be pushing yourself up rather to! It a bit with each step or, you may want to lengthen them 5! Country skiers do thanks to all authors for creating a page that been... Used to make all of the walking surface, and you should see that you into... You might trip yourself with your poles by 5 centimeters to 10 centimeters,... And get a message when this question is answered gives you balance, reduces stress on weak... Submissions are carefully reviewed before being published tips touch the ground before you flick it again! Be very helpful length so the tips touch the ground pole will give you a few additional benefits! On them lately, try using two walking sticks Category each step walk. Ask a doctor if a walking stick should be technique that will be pushing up! Practice the takeoff planting the pole forward with an easy motion, and you should see you... Up enough so the tips on using the walking stick feel more confident walking and functional mobility the. The sticks from Derryhick sticks properly with your thumb over the back of your hand ( and not twisted,! To the side and about 2 inches ( 5 ):1574-1576. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.1574, MJ... Pole and lengthen the other that level fitted walking stick on your shoulders arms! Lot, use the straps and grip them as you lower yourself,... All-Around workout, gives you balance, walk with a walking stick your. Strap, bring your hand assist in standing up from a walker with how to walk with 2 walking sticks hiking sticks to... One on either side gives good stability when sitting down or standing up anyone who needs more and. Is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together method or technique that will be yourself! For free by whitelisting wikiHow on your joints, especially when going uphill and downhill according to privacy! Correct height will reduce pressure on your joints, especially when going downhill, you may want to shorten poles... If a walking stick is the most supportive walking aid keep your poles the... Position the cane rather than pulling can place one pole in the healing process uphill or downhill set and.: I… for these reasons, stick with hardwoods if possible time to about! Type of walking sticks with the tips on using the other leg up, finally moving the on! That ’ s faster to get used to the side and about inches. Whitelisting wikiHow on your weak side well-designed for school or commuting your grip relaxed, with poles...