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Thread: Trekking Poles: Energy

  1. #21
    Goon Slioch's Avatar
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    Just a rider to my op.

    We seem to have drifted quite quickly into a "why I like/hate trekking poles" debate. Sorry, didn't intend that to happen.

    I am fairly satisfied that using poles does require the expenditure of more energy than not using them. In fact, I came across a 1970's booklet by staff at PyB which advocated keeping the upper body as still as possible while walking, to conserve energy. Similarly, there are people offering Nordic walking courses [with poles] as a great way of getting fit- use poles=burn off energy.

    So, thanks for the debate. If anyone happens to know a way of calculating energy loss via pole use, I'd be happy to hear of it. At the moment, I can only think of using a heart rate monitor with and without poles, just to get a rough idea.

    Actually, I'm starting to obsess about this... Maybe a nice long walk, with a perfectly still upper body, is called for.

  2. #22
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    When at university I carried out cycle experiments on the efficiency of elliptical chain wheels. You have to collect all exhaled air and analyse for expired CO2. Given the same task with 2 different methods, in this case with and without poles, the totalvolume of CO2 expired can be translated into energy expended for the 2 cases to give relative efficiencies. There were little fudge factors depending on whether you were digesting fats or carbs at the time and problems with oxygen debts but generally it gave an exact energy reading. The differences between subjects own efficiencies is the likely problem to a clean result.

  3. #23
    ‹bermensch
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    Slioch - I reckon swinging your arms activelyis vital to an efficient walking gait, as well as reducing impact forces - if racewalkers could go faster by keeping their hands in their pockets and their upper bodies immobile, they'd have worked it out a long time ago!

  4. #24
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    What I said above would show how to find the most efficient gait with or without poles. Whether maximum efficiency is what you actually require is another thing. As ALS says swinging your arms could be best. Itcould increase your energy expenditure ( you would have to eat more food and stress your lungs and heart more) but it is probably the best option (I say that just because people mostly do it). It may well reduce the maximal stress on the most heavily worked muscles, which might be more important for optimum performance than efficiency.Swinging your arms might be more efficient too if the compensation for swinging your arms used more energy.

  5. #25
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    Waldo, we're going to have to put some kryptonite in your pack to slow you down.

  6. #26
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    Mal, today is my 82nd. birthday.The amazing thing is my Grandson is away
    at Uni..but I received an E.Mail from him just an hour ago which said quote.
    Grandad, I think it,s going to take kryptonite to "stop you" backpacking up in Scotland. He knows I set off on Monday for two weeks.What a coincidence.
    Cheers anyway Waldo

  7. #27
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    Good luck and enjoy your trip Waldo. Wish I could get 'out and about' also.

  8. #28
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    All power to those legs of yours, Waldo. You have my respect...and envy. Happy birthday!

    Mal

  9. #29
    Initiate padstowe's Avatar
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    interesting thread,

    i've never used poles but have been given it some thought the past months dew to a knee problem. i would believe (if only at a guess) that poles take less energy or at most the same. i come to this theory by thinking that if the poles take strain of my knees, then the amount of energy will be reduced. ok so you say what about the arm movement, sorry, my simple thinking can only see that my hands will have less strain on them than the strain the poles have taking from my knees. as i say its all a guess.

    Waldo, i don't know you but i hope you had a good birthday, & as many here i hope at your age i'll still be able to get out& about!!

  10. #30
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    Thanks Padstowe and all the other well wishers. It was a good
    day with sons and grandsons around talking walking what else.
    Get that knee sorted asap.
    Another way to look at this pole business is, in theory you
    should always have at least three supports on the ground, that
    must lighten the load on each contact point, and improve
    balance.Cheers Waldo.


  11. #31
    Mini Goon
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    Ideveloped a sore knee problem a couple of years ago which I've managed to overcome. I have been getting outat least 80 days a year for about 15 years or so and one year managed 120 days (I work full-time). Ihad been and still are usinga pistol grip pole like the awesome Waldo. I learnt to walk differently downhill by extending my hip flexors instead of flexing them as I had been doing (leaning forward). This puts the strain onto another body part instead. So far, so good. Also I focussed on bending the knee outwards when doing big step downs as has been mentioned in an earlier post. I can't employ both techniques at the same time but then each technique is used for a different grade of step down.

    One thing I tried which was bad news as it encouraged the bending forward: I borrowed my partner's other pole and put them in front to step downhill. Instead, as I step down, I have my single pole behind me which encourages the hip extension. I probably use one pole as I'm too mean to buy another!

    Another technique to save putting strain on my quads where they attach to the knee is to jump and scamper instead of stepping down. I also sometimes lengthen my stride on more gentle downhill gradients while extending my hip flexors. This makes you go downhill quite fast too. Finally I leap and land quite often rather than picking my way down stuff if there is a nice landing spot e.g. not rocky. This may be why my bonedensity is 136% for my age (52).

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