Thanks to Alpine Physical Therapist, Brace Hayden, DPT, OCS, CSCS for this informative article!
If I told you there was an inexpensive device that improves your cardiovascular fitness, reduces loading and pain in your leg and back joints associated with weight-bearing exercise, AND strengthens your arms while walking or hiking, you’d likely be interested, right? Call them what you want, Trendy Trekkers, Exerstriders, Nordic Walkers, or Pole Walkers, but they are taking over the streets and trails for great reasons. Let me demonstrate with this picture of me in my Alpine Physical Therapy shirt while using poles on one of my recent hikes.
From a Physical Therapist’s perspective, this is the value-added device of the century! People have been using poles, staffs, sticks, and rods of various sorts to help them navigate tricky terrain for hundreds of years. Fortunately, there is mounting evidence to support the benefits of using ski poles or two sticks to double down (or triple down) on your walks or hikes. Here are just a few of the benefits of using these devices:
Below are some additional valuable resources on this topic:
Click here for an article comparing the multiple benefits of using various walking poles for fitness pursuits.
Click here for a power point presentation on benefits of utilizing poles for walking from a Physical Therapy perspective.
Click here for a research-based article on the science behind trekking poles and their quantifiable fitness improvement and soreness-reduction benefits.
Missoula, get your hike on with the advantages of using poles on walks or hikes!
Summer is upon us, and with it comes numerous adventures and sites to explore. For those recovering from injury or suffering from pain, it can be hard to find a hike that fits your fitness capabilities. The last thing you need is to get there and realize that this outing is doing more harm then good. Fortunately for Missoulians, we have access to a wide variety of trails ranging from short trails with minimal inclines to long steep hikes up nearby mountains. Here are a few trails to check out.
Bolle Birdwatching Trail – Greenough Park
This is the prefect trail for those who are recovering from injury and need a hike with very little elevation gain. This trail is located in the Rattlesnake area and is a loop design. Since this trail is only one mile, it takes about 30 min to do.
Blue Mountain Saddle to Blue Mountain Lookout
This trail is a there-and-back hike with a 660 foot elevation gain over the 2.2 miles. Thus, it is an easy hike for those who want to ease into hiking. The full hike takes about 1.5 hours, but due to its design you can turn back at anytime to make the trial fit your time requirement.
Main Rattlesnake Trail
This is another great trail in the Rattlesnake area. This trail has a little elevation change, so it’s a good hike if you are looking for a longer hike. This one is a there-and-back hike of up to 4.8 miles. So you can make it as long as you’d like.
Hiking is a great way to get in your daily exercise while exploring the outdoors. Capitalize on the great summer weather by exploring some of these easier trails. They are great for beginners and those faced with the challenges of knee and back pain.
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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