Fit Your Gear For More Fun

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August is all about how to have a pain-free summer outside! Part 3 – Navigating some common outdoor equipment This week we will delve into two common pieces of outdoor gear – trekking poles and backpacks! (1) Should I use trekking poles? Trekking poles have many proposed benefits while hiking, including reducing the impact on joints, improving balance, and increasing efficiency of energy expenditure. A 2011 study by Glyn Howatson, et al demonstrated that trekking poles could reduce perceived exertion levels on uphill climbs and reduce the incidence of muscle damage in young, healthy individuals. In addition, both research and our clinical experience has shown that using poles on a descent reduces the strain on your knees. (2) How to fit trekking poles: The proper height of your trekking poles can vary greatly depending on the type of terrain you are on. Begin by adjusting your poles for level ground. Your poles should be roughly at waist height to start. With the pole standing upright next to you, you should be able to place your palm on the pole with your elbow at 90 degrees (depicted above). However, it is important to realize that you may need to shorten your poles while ascending. When descending the trail, you may consider lengthening the poles so that you do not have to lean too far forward. Now that you have your poles sized, there are a couple of tips for proper use. Be sure to not squeeze or grip harder than needed, as this can lead to hand and wrist fatigue. Use momentum and the natural swing of your arms to propel the poles forward. In general, your arms and legs should move in reciprocal motions. (3) How to fit a backpack: -Here are a few quick tips to make sure your backpack is working with you, not against you. -Step 1: Fit your backpack straps with a load in your pack (15lbs) -Step 2: Start at the hips. The base of your pack should rest just above the buttocks and your hips. Step 3: The sternum strap. This strap should fit just below your collarbones with enough tension to hold the shoulder straps in a good position. Hopefully these tips will help you get the most out of your equipment this summer! #backpacking#kneepain#outdoorstuff#outdoorgear

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