Are hiking poles beneficial for hiking? What about walking poles?
Hiking poles, also called trekking poles, can be advantageous for multiple reasons when hiking. Hiking poles increase the activation of the upper extremity (arms, back, chest, and core). When hiking uphill, the use of poles can help the hiker maintain a more neutral spine and decreases the load on the low back as forces are distributed through the upper extremity. They also provide more points of contact which can help with balance. When descending a steep hill, hiking poles also offset the load taken by the knees allowing for a less strenuous descent!
There is also a variation of hiking poles for urban dwellers who do not get out to the mountains very often. These walking poles provide an efficient full body workout and recruit the muscles in the mid-upper back which can help maintain a more upright posture while exercising. This also takes load off your lower back, hips, and knees. If you have an injury to any of the above, or are arthritic, then walking poles are a good tool to keep you active and mobile.