Should young people use hiking poles?

When people discuss the health benefits of hiking and trekking poles, they most often point to the weight loss that many of these poles are said to provide, by allowing you to move over a longer pace while using energy from all over your body (rather than simply your knees and hips). The health benefits are clearly there, as is the reduction of discomfort that occurs when the poles are used to support your weight over a long trip.

However, one of the most overlooked health benefits comes to those that start using these hiking poles at a particularly young age. There is an often forgotten health benefit that is crucial for many younger men and women that are finding a love for the outdoors.

Reducing Late Life Discomforts

Many things can occur to your body as you age. Some of these are uncontrollable, such as changes in hormone levels. However, others are the result of years and years of abuse to your body parts, causing you to experience health problems as you age.

One such problem occurs with joint damage. Unlike muscles, which can be strengthened, your joints are known to break down over time – especially the more they are in use. Your joints and tissues are only so strong, and one of the reasons you experience pain and discomfort after a long hike is because you have put a great deal of pressure on these joints causing minor rips, thinning and inflammation.

For older men and women that love the outdoors, this discomfort can be extremely painful, causing many to shorten their trips that when they were younger they would otherwise have completed. That pain is due to years and years of abuse to your joints from hiking and trekking over long adventures.

Younger men and women, however, still have their joints at near their original strength. Research has shown that by using these poles on your hike at an early age, you can reduce the pains that you feel when you get older, because you will be reducing the damage done to your joints when you are young. In fact, the earlier you can start using the poles, the less likely you are to experience a great deal of pain when you climb later in life – especially if you are often carrying backpacks or more than your standard body weight.

Starting Now at All Ages

Various research has shown that hiking causes a great deal of stress to your knees and joints. This stress does not just cause temporary discomfort – it can also cause permanent damage that, over time, will make your cartilage hurt worse and more often. That same research shows that when you use hiking and trekking poles, you take the weight off of your knees and joints, and do not cause nearly as much damage. If you love hiking and hope that you can do it forever, you will drastically increase those chances if you start using a hiking pole right away to take some of the pressure off of your joints.