The purpose of using poles is two fold. One, your weight is distributed between four points of contact instead of two, easing the stress on your bones and joints Two, your poles assist in balance, reducing the wear on your stabilizer muscles. Studies show that the use of trekking poles can reduce the impact on your joints as much as 30%. And anyone who has used poles knows you save a significant amount of energy as well.
Poles are most beneficial during uphill and downhill sections. On the uphill, use your arm muscles to help you ascend. On the downhill, use your poles to lessen the impact of each step. Most people are unfamiliar with using trekking poles unless they are backpackers who carry heavy loads. But, it’s not difficult to learn how to use them, and it comes pretty quickly and naturally as your body figures out how to hike more efficiently.
Leki makes the best trekking poles.