Walking Sticks are not intended to be used like a crutch for full weight support, they are intended only for balance.
Why use a walking stick?
Walking sticks are regular companions to people of all shapes and sizes, regardless of the type of walking. Anything from a simple afternoon stroll to a rigorous multi-day hike through the woods can be aided by a walking stick. Such aids range from a simple stick made from a tree branch to specialized, ergonomic sticks purchased at high prices from outdoor-gear stores. Regardless of the stick you use, there are several ways they can help you.
Many people see a walking stick as merely something only to be used by the elderly or infirm. The hiker, casual walker, farmer or other country person knows better. A good walking stick, apart frpm its aesthetic qualities, quickly becomes a constant companion and something to be appreciated by its owner and admired or envied by others.
When out walking, a good stick helps maintain the natural rhythm of your gait and seems to make the miles less fatiguing. At the same time it comes in handy for pushing aside brambles and nettles; helping you scramble up a bank; or fending off fearsomely agressive dogs. (For some reason, the most aggressive dog will ease off once he notices that you are comfortably armed!). The farmer uses his stick to move animals around or to lean on while yarning with his neighbours.
Carrying a walking stick gives many a sense of added protection and personal safety. Aggressive dogs are less inclined to cause problems if the walker is in possession of a walking stick.
Benefits of Walking
Walking is an ideal form of exercise. It requires no equipment or expense and is one of the best ways for you to become more active. Regular walking can improve confidence, stamina and energy, and help control your weight. It can also keep your heart strong, give you more energy and help reduce stress. And, a nice walking stick can quickly become a good companion as you go on your hike and health walk.
Improved Upper-Body Workout
Using a walking stick requires lifting the stick, placing it ahead of you and helping support your body’s weight with your arms as you move. Over the course of a long walk, this can be a good workout for your arms and shoulders, helping you burn more calories as you exercise. You shouldn’t find yourself exhausted while using a walking stick, but the Mayo Clinic says the stick will increase the intensity of your workout.
Back and Joint Health
Walking sticks help redistribute your body’s weight–instead of all your weight coming down on your back, hips and knees, a walking stick displaces some of your weight from your back and lower body and supports it through your arms and the stick itself. This can reduce wear and tear on your joints and muscles, which can help people with arthritis or back problems. Walking poles also foster proper posture as you use them, particularly in your upper back. Proper posture helps distribute weight evenly and safely, reducing your risk of injury and improving your back health.
Improved Stability and Balance
When you walk over trails or other uneven surfaces, various obstacles or objects can make it difficult to maintain your balance, such as when you are going uphill, walking on soft or loose dirt, or stepping on rocks as you walk. Walking sticks help stabilize your body and reduce your risk of falling or slipping. The sticks also assist on hills by providing stability, especially as walkers become fatigued and their muscle strength and stability becomes less certain.
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