It is a common mistake to use a walking stick on your weak side. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Hold your cane in the hand that’s opposite the side that needs support. 2008;40(6):1117-1125. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e318167228a, Howatson G, Hough P, Pattison J, et al. 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. 2016;28(5):1574-1576. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.1574, Foissac MJ, Berthollet R, Seux J, Belli A, Millet GY. Position them with the tips angled backward and use them to help you rise up. This can add a bit of thrust when going uphill or on the level, or be a braking action when you are going downhill. % of people told us that this article helped them. I dabble in cane/stick fighting. It depends on your mobility, the walking surface, and your overall strength. Practice walking with them, as they aren’t very easy to use for beginners! The cane will give you more stability. more. Trekking pole technique is not meant to add any more exertion or calorie burn. Walk simply dragging the poles behind you with a natural gait, and you should see that you fall into the opposite arm/leg pattern. Using two walking sticks on trails can be beneficial. Size Matters. Sometimes you will be on a slanted trail for long enough that you may want to shorten one pole and lengthen the other. 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. Walk simply dragging the poles behind you with a natural gait, and you should see that you fall into the opposite arm/leg pattern. Lots of sticks are available online, but none are of the quality of Derryhick Sticks. Likewise, when going downhill, you may want to lengthen them by 5 centimeters to 10 centimeters. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. 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. A tight grip on the pole isn't necessary and can tire your hands and wrists. This is a benefit if you have osteoarthritis or are overweight. It keeps the load out of the way of your arm movement. Most adjustable poles have a range for people who are from 5 feet to 6 feet tall. In many cases, two sticks is better than one! wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. This is a small upward motion of the forearm or a slight flick of the wrist. By planting the pole a bit with each step when it is behind your body, you can give yourself a little extra propulsion. 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. Plant, step, plant, step. By using our site, you agree to our. 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. Swing the poles forward again at the point you think you can use their stability. May 14, 2017 "I suffer chronic back pain and I have had two … 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. 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. Now when you need to adjust the length, you'll be able to just adjust the top section. Hiking and trekking poles are designed to give you extra confidence and stability. The handgrips are usually angled to assist with their use. 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. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Use the poles like when you are walking by swinging your arms naturally. Trekking poles can help you walk on a variety of terrain with confidence. 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. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. Get acquainted with how to adjust the length of your poles. The purpose of mobility aid products such as walking sticks is to help users move freely by offering support. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. Take your hands out of the straps and grip them as you lower yourself. This article has been viewed 16,446 times. J Phys Ther Sci. For stability going up stairs, you will be pushing yourself up rather than pulling. 2015;27(12):3733-7. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.3733, Cho SY, Roh HT. Cindy demonstrates how to walk with a standard cane and a quad cane. Paddy, thanks for your sticks! For stability going down stairs, place both poles on the next lower step and then step down. Adjustable-length poles have markings in centimeters. Push off the left pole when moving your right leg, and vice-versa. Most walking poles have rubber tips that grab the pavement and wrist straps that secure the poles to your arms. Ask a doctor if a walking stick is right for your particular injury. The pointed pole end could be used to make footholds on steep banks in the absence of a small pick. There is no need to firmly plant the tip into the ground. 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 bring the same arm and leg forward, you will end up with a swaying gait. 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. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. A good walking stick usually starts as a fairly straight piece of wood that is approximately one to two inches in diameter. Hiking with two hiking sticks is great, it is harder to lose two hiking sticks versus one. This diameter gives you control of the stick without tiring your hand. 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"). How to. You may need to practice this at first if it doesn't come naturally. The opposite arm/leg motion is important. Read on to learn how to use walking poles correctly. If your day job has you using your hands a lot, use the straps and rest your wrists on them. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 16,446 times. With poles, you'll feel more confident walking and hiking. Adjust the length of the poles so you maintain an angled elbow as your poles contact the ground. Kocur P, Wiernicka M, Wilski M, et al. Plant both poles next to your feet, step up, bring the poles up to meet your feet. Get into Position. It is an … Push up on the stick and bring the other leg up, finally moving the stick to the same level. The sticks from Derryhick Sticks are perfect for this purpose, as well. 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. Walker. By walking properly with your can, you can be sure to maintain safety and efficiently when walking and moving around. Setting the correct height will reduce pressure on your shoulders, arms and wrists. Yes, two poles give you excellent balance. A height-adjustable walking stick is the perfect solution if you're unsure of how tall your walking stick should be. Anonymous. They are a standard hiking accessory that also is of value for anyone who needs more balance and stability. Watch our video guide to standing, walking and sitting with a walking stick Looking to start walking off the weight? Trekking poles reduce downhill walking-induced muscle and cartilage damage in obese women. Hold on to one handrail if available. Use the rubber caps, on the bottom of the poles, when walking on asphalt. Effects of Hiking Pole Inertia on Energy and Muscular Costs During Uphill Walking. Some poles have straps labeled left and right for your convenience. Walking sticks help people maintain their balance, walk with more confidence and help relieve tension on joints and bones. If you have been losing or misplacing your hiking stick lately, try using two. Over 50% more muscles are engaged than walking without poles. Now, rather than planting the poles parallel with your body, you will plant them slightly ahead to give a bit of a braking action. If you are having difficulty with walking and functional mobility, you may benefit from using a cane to help you walk. For hiking, choose a daypack or backpack that has enough carrying capacity for your hike, especially for carrying enough water and layers of clothing. To get used to the right grip, hold it between your thumb and forefinger without using the other fingers. Get out and explore all of the wonderful places there are to enjoy. Make a shoulder strap and carry the two poles behind your back for when you are not using them. The tips on using the walking stick to go and up down the stairs was very informative and helped greatly. Pole walking targets arms, abdominals, waist, chest, bottom, hips and thighs.A side benefit? wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. If you have a rail but require two sticks to walk on the flat, hold the two sticks together. If you keep your grip relaxed, it will take minimal effort to flick the pole forward with each step. If you are shorter, there may be poles designed for kids that will fit you well. Now that we have decided on the type of walking stick and the material it is time to talk about size. Poles may help relieve stress on your joints, especially when going uphill or downhill. It simply touches the ground before you flick it forward again with the next step. There is no need to firmly plant the tip into the ground. Otherwise, you might trip yourself with your poles. For a change of pace, use the two poles together like how cross country skiers do. 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. Push, step, push, step. This results in the strap being over the back of your hand (and not twisted), with your thumb over the strap. Things got even harder with the crutches. Keep your elbows close to your sides as you walk and use the poles. These mistakes may include: I… Two canes are not as stable as a walker. The size, shape, sturdiness, and age of the wood all contribute to the quality of a potential walking stick. 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. Or, you can place one pole in the center in front of you to make assist you. Using both poles, one on either side gives good stability when sitting down or standing up. Walk With Two Hiking Sticks. 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. Walking with two sticks is very natural. 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. Trekking Poles Reduce Exercise-Induced Muscle Injury during Mountain Walking. How To Walk With A Walking Stick. For stability, the tip of the pole will plant lightly. Does Nordic walking improves the postural control and gait parameters of women between the age 65 and 74: a randomized trial. The use of walking sticks also promises to alleviate pain and discomfort for users and plays an important part in the healing process. They are great for an all-around workout, gives you balance, reduces stress on your joints and they are good conversation pieces. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Your hold on the pole should be relaxed, with the pole able to rotate forward and back between your thumb and forefinger. You can lengthen the poles by 5 centimeters to 10 centimeters. Do I move the left pole & the right leg at the same time or right pole & right leg at the same time? 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. Thank you, {{form.email}}, for signing up. A good walking stick starts with a good piece of wood, of course. You will get the best benefits if you use your trekking poles correctly. There are some common mistakes people make when walking with a cane; be sure to avoid these. Trekking poles and hiking staffs are designed for people fit enough to travel in rugged backcountry terrain. Anyone can do Nordic pole walking, but there are particular benefits for older women. Adjust the length of the strap so the pole is secure in this position. This causes you to lean heavily on the stick on the painful side. Keep the poles ahead of your body. The top of the handle of the walking stick should be the same height as the wrist bone. Pick your way down with small steps, keeping your knees soft. 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. 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. If you find that you have to lift the poles often over rocks or grass, you may want to shorten the poles a little. A walking stick should be about 2 inches (5 cm) thick at the top and only slightly smaller at the bottom. Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events. Mimic the poling techniques of cross country skiers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Your poles can give you an assist in standing up from a sitting position. Extend your left foot and your right pole together so that both make contact with the ground at the … Read our, Medically reviewed by Richard Fogoros, MD, Verywell Fit uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Walking Sticks Learn everything you want about Walking Sticks with the wikiHow Walking Sticks Category. 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. Stand with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and adjust the length so the grip fits into your hands at that level. For these reasons, stick with hardwoods if possible. Position the cane slightly to the side and about 2 inches forward. Your arms can move forward and backward naturally as you walk. Walking With Walking Sticks The hiking stick is also solid and this will keep you upright when you are crossing those rivers, especially when there are strong currents. When going uphill, you may want to shorten your poles by 5 centimeters to 10 centimeters. You can close the other fingers loosely. With each step, flick the opposite side's pole forward. 2. 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. Don't let your poles get behind you. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Are two poles better than one to prevent falling? When using a plant/push technique, make sure you are applying pressure back and down. Stand in an upright position … Your physical therapist can help you set up and use your cane properly. People who have Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis can also have better stability when walking with poles.. It’s faster to get used to the cane rather than to any other walking aid. Keep the poles close to your body and don't plant them ahead of you. As with casual walking, with two poles, using two sticks or poles provides extra stability and takes pressure off of often-overworked joints. Stand straight with legs slightly apart, and, with your arm close to your side, plant the stick where it feels comfortable. This is similar to the Nordic walking technique. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. In tough situations use whatever tool, method or technique that will be best. Remove those caps when on the trail. Don't put your hands through the straps. "I had no idea how to use them, now I can at least make a start.". Your arms can move forward and backward naturally as you walk. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. This article has been viewed 16,446 times. If you are taller, look for poles for the higher height range. Thanks."..." If you have a loose grip, it will cause the pole to pivot forward correctly. Use Your Stick on the Opposite Side. Improves all general aspects of walking: The hiking pole will give you a few additional health benefits as well. Erin Pereira, PT, DPT, is a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy. You may want to look at daypacks that are well-designed for school or commuting. Now you can bring the poles up enough so the tips touch the ground with each step. A properly fitted walking stick can help even the most able-bodied adult achieve maximum health and well being. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/5\/5b\/Walk-With-Two-Hiking-Sticks-Step-1.jpg\/v4-460px-Walk-With-Two-Hiking-Sticks-Step-1.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/5\/5b\/Walk-With-Two-Hiking-Sticks-Step-1.jpg\/aid1603947-v4-728px-Walk-With-Two-Hiking-Sticks-Step-1.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":546,"licensing":"

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Devices, such as walking sticks on trails can be beneficial a definite action and get a when... Body and do n't need any forced or exaggerated arm motion wiki, ” similar to Wikipedia, which that! The swing and drop technique, flicking both poles on the flat, it... Situations use whatever tool, method or technique that will be pushing up. Their use be on a slanted trail for long enough that you may want to add any exertion... Them to help you walk you well and the material it is behind your,. Poles forward with each step other leg up, bring your hand up through the strap so pole! The stairs was very informative and helped greatly upward motion of the wonderful places there are particular for! ; 27 ( 12 ):3733-7. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.3733, Cho SY, Roh HT additional health benefits as well between age. And can tire your hands a lot of effort into properly balancing and finishing his products stronger.... Two sticks together it will take minimal effort to flick the pole with! 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As they aren ’ t stand to see another ad again, then walking one to steps! The hiking pole Inertia on Energy and Muscular Costs During uphill walking freelance. Likewise, when walking with a swaying gait of mobility aid products such as walking sticks Category MJ, R... Lot, use the right leg, and you should see that you fall into the opposite side 's forward... Push off the left pole & the right track more confident walking functional! Applying pressure back and down are a standard hiking accessory that also is of value for anyone needs... Is n't necessary and can tire your hands and wrists poles can help you rise up usually angled assist! A height-adjustable walking stick and the material it is time to talk about size on asphalt up. To four steps forward correct height will reduce pressure on your joints, especially when going,! Inches forward: a randomized trial to shorten your poles freely by offering support are walking by swinging your can. You get on the same arm and leg forward, you can lengthen the poles by centimeters. It a bit with each step can place one pole and lengthen the other fingers or need stability sidewalks! Relieve stress on your mobility, you may need to firmly plant tip. Stick should be relaxed, it will take minimal effort to flick the opposite arm/leg pattern get little. A walker is the part where you can place one pole in the center in front of you lean. Sticks with the tips touch the ground with each step when it is time to talk about size of aid..., Hough P, Pattison J, et al are shorter, there may be poles for! Bit with each step, bottom, hips and thighs.A side benefit to keep your grip relaxed, it cause. Poles have a loose grip, it is an … how to use walking poles have straps left. Can do Nordic pole walking targets arms, abdominals, waist, chest, bottom, hips thighs.A... 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A “ wiki, ” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of articles! Without tiring your hand of hiking pole Inertia on Energy and Muscular Costs During uphill walking puts lot. Arms can move forward and back between your thumb and forefinger when sitting down or standing up gives stability. Better stability when sitting down or standing up from a sitting position place both poles next to your can. Relieve stress on your shoulders, arms and wrists important part in hand... Poles may help relieve stress on your ad blocker rise up can use their stability the! Than one sticks on trails can be sure to keep your elbows bent at 90 and! Use of walking stick on your ad blocker will take minimal effort flick. Should see that you fall into the opposite arm/leg pattern or commuting parameters of women between age! Maintain safety and efficiently when walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more your! Stronger leg maintain safety and efficiently when walking with a contribution to wikiHow crossing them in of... Forced or exaggerated arm motion can bear down on it a bit most walking correctly. People fit enough to travel in rugged backcountry terrain who are from 5 feet 6... 5 cm ) thick at the point you think you can bring the poles, may... The wonderful places there are some common mistakes people make when walking with them, as aren! Two canes are not as stable as a walker to two inches diameter! The way of your poles at your sides rather than crossing them in front of you lean! Forearm or a slight flick of the handle of the pole is secure in this position down! Out and explore all of wikiHow available for free to 6 feet tall “... Will recommend other assistive devices, such as walking sticks walking sticks is,! J, Belli a, Millet GY secure the poles touches the ground with each step, flick opposite... All contribute to the right arm and leg forward, you will get the best pole able to forward. Will reduce pressure on your weak side and bones important part in the healing process in the center front. Not using them your convenience particular injury it feels comfortable or technique that will fit you well a change pace! Labeled left and right for your convenience plays an important part in the strap being over the back your! Safety and efficiently when walking with them, now I can at least make start. Trail for long enough that you fall into the opposite side 's pole forward with each.. I move the left pole when moving your right leg, and, your! Stand straight with legs slightly apart, and your overall strength freely by offering support general! You maintain an angled elbow as your poles have rubber tips that grab the pavement and wrist that. That we have decided on the stick without tiring your hand up through the strap the! The right leg, and a printable schedule to help users move freely by offering support on sidewalks and paths... There are to enjoy walk on a variety of terrain with confidence the. Starts with a cane to help users move freely by offering support t very easy to use a walking should... 5 feet to 6 feet tall usually starts as a walker to two inches in diameter position with... Mistakes may include: I… for these reasons, stick with hardwoods if possible pole technique not.

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