Walking, A New Sport?!?
Want to give your walks a little extra oomph? I suggest that you give trekking poles a try. They boost calorie burn by at least 20% and change a lower body workout into a full body, muscle toning adventure. I used these poles for years hiking the Smoky Mountains. I hiked about 50 miles, twice a year there for many years. I only went to hike. I didn’t do the candy shop hike downtown Gatlinburg either. I hiked most of the trails in the mountains with few exceptions. My son was with me so I avoided Chimney Tops because of a steep rock scale required close to the end to actually get on top of the Chimneys. There have been falls and deaths occur there but other than that, I don’t remember a single one that I avoided. I can take you to all of the waterfalls and wildflowers and wonderful vistas in the mountains. My trusty poles were right there with me and saved my life at least once. I was too enthralled with getting a picture of Mountain Laurel that was too close to the edge of a cliff and putting a pole behind me at just the right moment most likely saved my life.
These poles are excellent for day to day track walking. With trekking poles we use upper body muscles that we don’t normally use for walking, like biceps, latissimus dorsi, pectorals and triceps.  This is a win/win situation. We’re going to be out there, burning our time anyway so why not get the most bang for our buck?
Other than increasing calorie burn and working the upper body, these poles also provide stability and balance. I can’t tell you how many times they have kept me from hitting the ground on a slippery surface. If you begin to slide, just dig in with your pole on a soft surface. On a paved surface, the “walking stick” feel is enough to provide great stability and balance. You are like a spider. moving across the ground with two more appendages. It’s awesome. You can push yourself along. You can have three points of contact on the ground at all times. There is less stress on your joints. All of this while burning more calories and working your upper body. You can also use the poles to poke around any suspicious brush on a trail if you are concerned about snakes. I’ve been bitten by a Rattler. I’m concerned about snakes. I won’t be seen in the woods without my poles.
If you have considered walking a bit wimpy because it’s not full body, think again. There’s really nothing that is much better for the human spirit or body than walking outside. Get some poles, if this sounds intriguing, and hit it! There’s a learning curve until you feel at ease with them but just keep trekking. In almost no time at all, that awkward, goofy feeling will fade away and you’ll be covering ground in style.
Burn, Baby, Burn those calories…and get ripped doing it. See you in the deep woods. ;-*