As a first-time hiker, you may be unsure whether you need a walking pole or not. Even if you have decided to use a walking pole, you may remain confused about what type of pole should you use.

Remember, a Nordic walking pole is completely different from a trekking pole. The former provides an upper body workout, enabling you to burn calories while the latter is designed to offer you balance and stability during hikes and long walks, aiding to reduce strain on your knees.

Slim and minimal, the Nordic walking poles are ergonomically designed with a strap or demi-glove which allows you to hold the pole by your hands. This provides you the option of having the poles snap back into your hands or releasing them from your grips on the backstroke.

Firstly, you need to decide if you are going to use two poles or just one. Using a single pole for a long time may not only cause soring of your muscles but may also cause imbalance in your body. However, if you just require some help with balancing, you may use one pole but with some tricks. Always make use of the pole at times when it is required the most. For instance, use it for crossing a river or for walking down the terrains. You should also ensure that you make use of alternative hands for holding the pole.

Some of the core factors that you need to keep in mind while investing in walking poles include weight, adjustability, foldability or ease of carrying, shock absorption, and locking mechanisms. Once you have met these factors, you may start using your walking pole as required.

If you are using poles for the first time, you may find your upper body to be tired than usual. However, you must consider building up your pole use gradually rather using it like your pair of shoes. Though initially comfort might be the only factor that you consider while using the pole, you need to adjust your body to the use and movement of poles with time.

Whenever you walk with the pole, you should use good posture, plant the pole a bit ahead of your step, and follow it with neat and relaxed steps. Before starting your walk or hike, you must place the pole at a length where you can easily grip the handle. Your arm should be at a right angle while your forearm should remain parallel to the ground. You may further adjust the pole as per the surface of the ground or heights of the trails you are walking through.

You may require grabbing something out of the backpack or you may simply wish to take a photo amidst those rocky terrains or gardens. As such, it is suggested that you adjust your wrist straps. While using two walking poles, make sure of having the specific straps for your right and left hands. To support your wrist and heel, you must put your hand up through the bottom of the strap correctly, pull down, and get hold of the pole’s grip.

Remember, you should hold the pole’s grip in a relaxed fashion as it would reduce your efforts for jerking the pole forward with every step. The best way is to hold the handle of the pole between your thumb and forefinger without using any other finger and then closing all the fingers.

In slippery surfaces, move your arms forward and backward naturally and let the poles stabilise you. Once you are confident about your use of poles and you intend to pick up pace, you may do so by relaxing your arms and putting some additional shoulder action into each poling movement.

So, what are you waiting for? Go get the best of the walking poles and start exploring the amazing routes.