Information about Using Walking Poles, Also Called Trekking Poles

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that you walk at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week. If you're looking for some support in meeting this goal, walking poles supply it—literally.

Walking Pole Image - Masterfile

One of the main benefits of walking with poles—also known as Nordic walking—is that pressing the poles (similar to those used in skiing) into the ground as you walk takes pressure off your knees, hips and feet, allowing you to walk longer distances without stressing the joints and muscles in those vulnerable spots.

Walking poles also help you burn more calories than conventional walking because pressing the poles into the ground makes for a total body workout (but one that's not as strenuous as racewalking or running).

Walking with poles is very popular in Europe, but Americans seem to feel self-conscious about using them. If you feel awkward trying them out by yourself, organize a group of friends to try pole walking together. Maggie Spilner, walking expert for our sister publication Diabetes Focus, always brings walking poles on her walking tours so group members can give them a try.

Spilner recommends walking poles made by Exerstrider, which come with an instructional video. For purchasing information, visit:

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 10 May 2011

Last Modified: 17 Mar 2015