Get Around Town More Easily

If you’ve been on a nature trail in recent years, you’ve probably seen people striding along with walking poles (aka Nordic or trekking poles). These help distribute your body weight more evenly and have long been used by hikers for stability and support on rough terrain. It turns out they may help you safely navigate uneven sidewalks as well.

Plus, they can improve your posture by engaging your upper body and encouraging you to stand up straight.

Choosing right: For walking on sidewalks, look for lightweight aluminum or composite poles with rubber tips. Other tips are for dirt, ice, or snow, says Karen Jacobs, OT, EdD, associate dean of digital learning and innovation at the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Boston University. Some, such as the York Nordic Motivator Walking Poles (*$179, York Nordic, Amazon), are height-adjustable. Others, like the Black Diamond Pursuit Shock Trekking Poles ($170, Black Diamond Equipment, Amazon), have shock-absorbing internal springs, making a walk easier on your joints. For hand comfort, both have ergonomic handgrips, as do the Urban Poling Activator Poles ($119, Target).