Use Trekking Poles to Increase Walking Speed and Comfort
[ KICK SCOOTING - 4/14/2013, updated 5/4/2013 - www.LetsKickScoot.com ]
>> If you like getting out and about with a little push to your stride, by all means, ride a kick scooter. For a completely different, yet equally enjoyable experience, walk with trekking poles.
OK, the above picture does not show people using trekking poles. It is of shepherds from the Landes region of France with trekking poles attached to their legs. These trekking "stilts" allowed the "stilt walkers of Landes" to cover unpaved ground at high speeds; some as fast as trotting horses!
Quoting from the website www.SlackPacker.com, "A landmark study published by Dr. G. Neureuther in 1981 proved that use of 'ski poles' while walking reduces the pressure strain on the opposite leg by approximately 20%. Furthermore, while walking on level ground, poles reduce the body weight carried by the legs by approximately 5 kg every step. Move to an incline, and that reduction increases to 8 kg. This translates into tons of weight - yes, tons - for even a two hour hike."
Gripping Trekking Poles
To walk with trekking pols, slip your hands through palm straps, and, rather than directly grabbing pole grips, you use those weight-bearing straps to swing your poles back and forth.
When your hands are in position (the strap connects under your palm, then wraps back under your thumb and over the back of your hand until it reaches a point under your little finger, at which time it leads back to your palm), swing a pole forward, pressing down on the strap after it lands, rather than on its head. Don't move the poles by clutching their grip.
How you match your stride to pole use is up to you. If you walk up a steep hill, consider shortening the poles. Lengthen them when walking down a very steep hill. On level ground, the top of your poles should be tall enough so that when holding them at their grips, your arms are bent at approximately 90 degrees, which is achievable by adjusting your poles' adjusting segments up or down. A little higher is also OK.
Experts suggest various walking styles, including instructions on how to stop walking and rest! All information is valuable, but at minimum, do what comes naturally. Do not, however, stomp along as though your trekking polls were weight-bearing canes, although physical needs will dictate your style.
Selecting Trekking Poles
Invest in the lightest-weight, strongest poles available.
Add-ons include camera mounts, compasses, snap-on sports lights, and nylon tents specifically designed to use trekking poles as stays.
If you casually stroll with trekking poles, wear any shoes or sandals that are comfortable.
Kick scooters and trekking poles extend travel ranges with greater comfort, stability, and speed. Some people who are afflicted with MS, balance issues, and arthritis not only agree, a few even use trekking poles to compete in community walking events!
Scoot with Trekking Poles!
For those of you who want the benefit of trekking poles and kick scooters, but aren't looking for a fancy solution, consider the following (taken from a YouTube Video).
Other Uses of Trekking Poles
Hitting attacking critters - Moving poison ivy and/or brush out of the way - Substituting for a tarp or tent pole - Resting and/or stretching - Probing the depth of a puddle or mud - Stabilizing a camera - Poking companions to gain their attention, or just for fun.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
Article by Karen Little. Photos of Karen demonstrating trekking poles by Philip Little. Historical photo of Landes shepherds on a postcard and actual poles from the web. First published on 4/14/2013. All rights reserved by www.LetsKickScoot.com.