Walking sticks are one of the oldest, simplest aids for walking. Whether it be coping with an injury or taking on an all-day hike, a solid walking stick makes the journey much easier in a variety of different ways. Furthermore, walking sticks can be made from any solid stick of suitable length, so any traveler in a rural area can fashion a walking stick of their own on the spot with little more than a pocket knife.
Just as a tripod is more stable than a bipod, using a walking stick improves the walker's balance and stability. This is especially important over rough or slick ground. When a walker tries to cross a stream on slimy rocks, planting the walking stick in front of them before each step means the walker has one foot and the stick in contact with the ground at all times as she moves forward. That is much more stable than having just the one foot in contact with the ground.
Using a walking stick puts one of your arms to work in the process of walking. The stick therefore transfers a portion of the weight borne by the walker and, some of the impact shock to the legs, into the arm using the stick. This is beneficial in both injury prevention, by spreading out wear and tear, and also in nursing injured legs, by reducing the load placed upon them. A hiker who twists an ankle on the trail, for example, should fashion a walking stick to reduce the pressure on that ankle as he proceeds down the trail.
By transferring some of the work of walking from the legs to the arms, a walker also expands the exercise benefits of walking. If the walker's arms are doing part of the work of walking, then those arms are also getting a workout. By switching the arm used from left to right during the walk, a walker can get an even, full-body workout from any nature walk. Also, by using more limbs at once, walking becomes a more intensive exercise and burns calories more rapidly.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.