Sportlife Hack: Poles

Jack and Jill went up the hill…to drag my sorry arse up to the top!

Meet Jack and Jill, my running/walking/hiking poles.  Why Jack and Jill? It was a moment of delirium as I was desperately working my way to the top of a 90-degree hill (that may be an exaggeration, but it sure felt like it).  You know the moment, your brain is working as hard as your body, and I thought about what to call these life-saving apparatuses, and all I could think of was Jack & Jill.  Cool story right?!

So, poles. Controversial I know! But I implore you to be the meme. I am the meme and I tell you what when I’m powering up a hill on my poles I can move a whole lot quicker and more efficiently than I can without them.

If you run, walk or crawl the mountains, poles are just betterer (right @gideon).  Here’s why:

* They can improve your endurance and power when climbing by recruiting more muscles to do the work

* Stability and balance. Ever watched a mountain goat climb a mountain? imagine if they only had two legs! More points of contact provide better balance and stability

* Save energy on steeper terrain by improving efficiency. The more efficient you are the less your body has to work

* Support for downhill.  When your body is wrecked and you’ve moved to a shuffle a bit of support can go a long way.  or, if you become skilled at using poles they can also up your downhill game on technical terrain.

Personally, I love my poles.  I train with and without them to improve my strength with and without them, BUT I try to only use them when I need them.  If the grade doesn’t require it, if I’m faster without them, I stash them.  

If you’re on the fence about poles, beg or borrow a pair and try them for yourself. I think you’ll soon be joining me, as THAT person on the trails.

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