Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How trekking-poles help hikers maintain muscle function while reducing soreness

Date:
June 3, 2010
Source:
Northumbria University
Summary:
A new study shows for the first time how trekking-poles help hikers maintain muscle function while significantly reducing soreness in the days following a hike.

A hiker moving through extreme rocky terrain at high altitude, with a trekking pole and gaiters.
Credit: iStockphoto/Gerad Coles

A study by academics at Northumbria University has shown for the first time that trekking-poles help hikers maintain muscle function while significantly reducing soreness in the days following a hike.

In the study, 37 physically active men and women were split into two groups of equal fitness and asked to hike up and down Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales.

One group was issued with and trained in the use of trekking poles while the other group made the climb unaided. Each group ate the same evening meal on the night before; they ate the same breakfast, carried similar weight in day packs and took the same scheduled rests during both the ascent and descent.

The participants' heart rates and their personal perceived exertion ratings were recorded during the hike. Then, at the end of the hike, and at 24-, 48- and 72-hour intervals afterwards, muscle damage and function were assessed through a variety of tests.

The results showed that there was significantly less muscle soreness in the group using trekking poles. This group demonstrated a reduced loss of strength and a faster recovery immediately after the trek compared to the control group. Self-rated soreness peaked at 24-hours in both groups but was significantly lower in the trekking-pole group, both at this point and at the 48-hour point. In addition, levels of the enzyme creatine kinase (which indicates muscle damage) were much higher at the 24-hour point in the non-pole group, while the trekking-pole group's levels were close to the pre-trekking levels. This shows that the muscle damage they were experiencing was negligible.

Pole manufacturers have suggested that trekking poles can reduce forces on lower-limb joints by as much as 25 %. However, the existing research has been restricted to the laboratory or to non-mountainous outdoor settings, such as running tracks, and has only focussed on biomechanical investigations into stress on the ankle, knee and hip. This is the first documented study into the effectiveness of trekking poles in the environments for which they were designed.

"The results present strong evidence that trekking poles reduce, almost to the point of complete disappearance, the extent of muscle damage during a day's mountain trek," says Dr Glyn Howatson, who conducted the study.

"Preventing muscle damage and soreness is likely to improve motivation and so keep people enjoying the benefits of exercise for longer. Perhaps even more advantageously, the combined benefits of using trekking poles in reducing load to the lower limbs, increasing stability and reducing muscle damage could also help avoid injury on subsequent days trekking. It is often the reduced reaction time and position sense, associated with damaged muscles that cause the falls and trips that can lead to further injury in mountainous or uneven terrain.

"These findings have particularly strong application for exercisers wishing to engage in consecutive days' activity in mountainous terrain."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northumbria University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northumbria University. "How trekking-poles help hikers maintain muscle function while reducing soreness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100602121000.htm>.
Northumbria University. (2010, June 3). How trekking-poles help hikers maintain muscle function while reducing soreness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100602121000.htm
Northumbria University. "How trekking-poles help hikers maintain muscle function while reducing soreness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100602121000.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins