Most seniors easily get started with a walking stick. Walking with a stick or pole isn’t very different from walking without them, except that it requires one to engage the shoulders and the arms far more.
But again, it’s a gradual process where the initial comfort is important. The body needs to get used to the movement of the sticks, and the key here’s to walk in a relaxed manner and try building up the mileage in stages.
You may need a detailed guideline to help yourself or your senior friend. In this article, we get into the details of how an older adult can keep the walking style relaxed, neat, and flowing while achieving the health benefits? Let’s check out.
Choose the Right Walking Stick
Before you begin walking using a pole, you first need to choose the most suited one for the elderly guy. Using a walking stick can cause the upper body to become tired for the seniors. So it’s important to choose a stick or pole with convenient features such as lighter weight, height adjustability, comfortable handle, and wrist straps.
You may find most of these features in trekking poles or specially designed nordic walking poles; however, some standard walking poles also include many of these features. Let’s check out most of these considerations below.
Seniors are generally senile and need a walking stick to support themselves. But a heavy bar can cause fatigue while walking. So it’s important to choose a lightweight option. The aluminum pole could be a good option for its lighter weight, but it could sometime feel floaty in windy weather. You can also consider the carbon fiber walking sticks as they make the most lightweight yet sturdiest options. They’re easy to carry while providing solid balance on rough terrain or windy conditions.
Height adjustable walking sticks come with a range of heights. So it becomes easy to find a suitable length so the older people can carry it with a proper upright posture. It’ll also allow the user to set the length longer or shorter based on whether they’re descending or ascending. Some poles are even foldable and portable for the ease of traveling.
Since we’re talking about comfortability, it’s important to have a stick with an ergonomically curved or crooked handle. Another convenient factor about the handle is its grip. Seniors may feel discomfort or fatigue holding the grip for a prolonged period. A soft rubber or silicone grip can be the right solution in this case. Rubber grips provide excellent support on terrains that require a lot of balance.
Walking sticks are available with or without wrist straps. For seniors, straps can be a useful addition to the walking sticks since they allow the user to walk with a looser and more comfortable grip. A strap can be placed through the hands around the handle while allowing one to grip the handle gently. The strap can also protect the stick from accidentally popping out of the hands.
How the Seniors Should Use a Walking Stick?
Having a walking stick encourages older adults to walk more. So they can reap the health benefits while also getting rid of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, cardiac issues, etc.
If you’re wondering how the senior folks should walk using a stick more effectively, here we’ve got the answer for you in the step-by-step guide below. You can check out more recommendations here about walking sticks for older adults.
Adjust the Length of the Walking Pole
The basic rule is that the length of the pole should be as if its tip touches the ground when you hold the handgrip and your elbow lies at a 90-degree angle. If you’re using a height-adjustable stick, make the adjustments so that the top of the stick should be about waist height.
Grab the Walking Pole Properly
After you’ve got the right pole, you must set it up. If you’ve found one with the straps, you can hold the handle in a more relaxing way (not too loose or tight) and yet have good control. Now hold it in the opposite hand of the weaker body side. Seniors generally find their left lower extremity to be the weaker one.
Move the Stick and Involved Side Together
To walk in the correct pattern, you must stand still and start moving the stick and the involved side together. Remember to maintain the same angle for the leg and the cane.
One Step at a Time While Climbing Stairs
If you’re climbing stairs, take one step at a time. Step up using the walking stick and uninvolved side first, followed by the involved side. While coming downstairs, step down with the walking stick and the involved side first, followed by the uninvolved side. Don’t forget to hold the rail with the other hand while going up or down stairs.
Other Tips to Follow while Using a Walking Stick
Let’s look at some more tips that an older adult should follow while using a walking stick.
- Don’t take giant steps; instead, try to walk naturally.
- Try to walk in an upright movement with a good posture as it’ll provide more health benefits, including better blood circulation and more calorie burn.
- Keep the walking stick as close as possible to your body.
- Wear lightweight shoes or trainers while walking with a pole.
- Have someone by your side while walking on slippery or rough terrain.
Since older adults use the pole as a walking aid, they’ve to be spot on with its use. There’s a wide variety of walking poles, including trekking poles, nordic poles, and quad canes.
Whichever walking stick the seniors use, they need to build up to it gradually and, more importantly, follow all the basic guidelines to use it more effectively.
This article includes all these guidelines the senior folks should follow while using a walking stick, whether to take walking as a form of exercise or merely roam around.
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