Do Walking Sticks Really Help?
Are you wondering if walking sticks are helpful?
To give you an insight, I’ll like to stimulate your mind with the scenario below:
You find yourself in the forest in the company of two friends. After two hours of exploring and admiring nature, you decide to take a rest under a massive baobab tree. Suddenly, a dried branch fell on your knee, hurting one of your friends as well. With darkness in sight and your car a distance away, how will you get back home without further endangering your life?
Using walking sticks goes as far back as when the first human walked the earth. They are sometimes called walking poles, trekking poles, hiking poles, walkers, or simply as sticks. They have inked their symbolism in every facet of life.
Whether in medicine, religion, sports, tourism, or fashion, you’ll find them walking with courage and in several creative designs. Like many things in life, walking sticks divide opinions. Some think they are nuisances, but others shower praises for their countless benefits.
To help you decide, I'll try to present both sides of the argument to you. So, in this write–up, I’ll cover the following essential topics:
- What are walking sticks?
- Types of walking sticks
- The benefits of using a walking stick
- The drawbacks of using a walking stick
- And when to use a walking stick.
Let’s head straight into the jungle to find answers to the above issues:
Walking sticks are mobility devices, tools, or gadgets that are mainly used to support walking. They provide balance, stability and reduce stress on the body parts—knees, legs, backs, feet, etc. Besides improving moods and confidence, they can also act as fashion accessories and protective gear when the need arises.
The market is filled with walking sticks varieties. From various colors, patterns, shapes, materials, and uses, you’ll find one or two that speak to your emotion. The following are just a few of them:
- Bariatric walking sticks
- Folding walking sticks
- Nordic walking poles
- Orthopedic walking sticks
- Quad walking sticks
- Seat walking sticks
- Self–defense walking sticks
- Standard walking sticks
- Umbrella walking sticks, etc.
Joint pains are unbearable. You'll mostly feel these pains on your knees, ankles, feet, backbend, and hips. A walking stick will aid you in stabilizing these aches. It will spread the pains from the affected area or joint to the rest of your body. In effect, this reduces the weight and stress off your aching joints, helping you to experience less or no pain.
Do you feel happy walking awkwardly? I guess not! Everyone would like to walk upright. Walking upright boots confidence and helps you mingle with others. It’s sad to limp on one leg. To improve your stability, a walking stick is an affordable remedy. It gives you the extra leg to aid your movement. Don’t forget, three legs are far better than one.
For nature enthusiasts, a walking stick is a handy tool. Walking in the woods to discover nature and its beautiful scenes can be both exciting and endangering. However, the risk is heightened when you’re crossing a water source—rivers, streams, lakes, etc. To reduce the danger, a walking stick becomes the measuring tool to test the deepness of the water.
People stroll when they are tired, injured, or aged. This is a natural incident that needs no debate. Whether aged, injured, or tired, a walking stick can help you move a little quicker at a steady pace. Using a walking stick can help you cover a longer distance without you feeling much weariness in the same light.
The gym is the prominent place people tend to when they want to build muscles. While it's pretty expensive, it's not the only means for adding extra flesh to the body. Walking sticks offer you the most effective and affordable means of working out your entire muscles at once. It builds your arms, chest, neck, and shoulders. It also improves your lower abdomen.
Wow! This is massive. Walking sticks or trekking poles offer therapeutic benefits to the heart and lungs. Countless studies from reputable organizations have proven that people who use walking sticks burn about 46% calories more than those who do not use them. In effect, it strengthens the lungs, heart, and other vital organs in your body.
Mountain hiking is one of the riskiest but exciting outdoor adventures. It entails walking on uneven trails or moving up and down. When you embark on this expedition without a trekking pole, you’re likely to damage your knee or easily trip off from the mountain.
So hikers use walking sticks to provide more balance and stability to their movement while trekking. For instance, they can use the sticks as brakes when descending.
Life is unpredictable, so it’s always wise to protect yourself against the unknown. As a hiking enthusiast, wild animals can attack you as you voyage through the forest and rocky hills. A word of caution: you shouldn’t go into the woods unprepared. To arm yourself against these attacks, a walking stick can serve as your defensive or offensive weapon.
All of us use a lot of energy when we walk. This makes us stress–up and quickly get tired from the least activity we do. However, we can use walking aids to save some amount of energy. This is because they reduce fatigue, depression, and stress. You can call them energy–savers.
Humans like comfort, so we hate it when something gets in our way. Usually, using a walking stick would restrict you from performing other simple tasks comfortably. This is true when you’re using two walking sticks at the same time.
With a walking stick, your hands become occupy, making it challenging to grab a bottle of water, munch your snack, or even check your directional map. These simple activities are massively part of the excitement.
Closely related to the above, walking sticks can make it tough for you to capture moments for future references. To enjoy your sightseeing, you’ve to be in the position to capture the magical moments. But this is not something you can do easily. With both hands stuck to the walking stick, it becomes difficult to set your camera in motion.
A walking stick aims to offer massive support to the user. But they can be problematic when care is not applied. It takes skills and courage to use walking sticks in potentially dangerous places. These include deep waters, steep edges, narrow paths, muddy waters, etc. In these areas, the wrong usage of the stick can hurt you or even throw you overboard.
You can’t embark on a sightseeing mission without a piece of luggage. Your luggage will contain some essential items for the trip. Adding your walking stick to these items would increase the weight of your luggage.
If the luggage is small, the stick can’t enter it unless you change to a bigger one. Even with a bigger one, they may take up space. You may also encounter some challenges with immigration officers when traveling overseas, as they may see your walking sticks as weapons.
We should protect our environment for the next generation. Most nature admirers are aware of this and strive hard to abide by the rules governing nature. But sometimes, they can break this requirement when they misuse the walking sticks. For instance, the tip of most walking sticks can cause scars in rocks, damage vegetation, and dig up the surface of the soil.
You’ve learned about the impacts of using a walking stick. Now, we shall look at when one can use a walking stick for its maximum benefit. Not in any order, I present you with five instances:
- When you have severe pains in your joints—knee, ankle, feet, back, etc.
- When you’re old, they can be tremendous mobility aids.
- When you’re suffering from arthritis or rheumatism, they are pain–relievers.
- When you want to measure the depth of streams while hiking in the forest.
- When you want to protect yourself while trekking in the wild.
My Final Words:
You’ve been an excellent explorer for staying till the end. Our journey to the forest has brought two schools of thought. We have seen those who feel walking sticks are fantastic tools to have. We have also identified those who aren’t in favor of it.
Both factions have valid points worth noting. Regardless of the negative points expressed, walking sticks are becoming a lifestyle. They are attracting both the young and old, male and female, abled or disabled, etc. The fact remains that their benefits outweigh their drawbacks.
They are famous for practical reasons. If you’re still in a dreamland as far as their many benefits are concerned, try to use one. You can borrow one from any loved one—a friend, relative, teacher, etc. From this experiment, you'll come up with your testimony.