Saturday morning I took my Nordic Walking poles to the Moving Day with the National Parkinson’s Foundation. Nordic Walking was part of the Struthers Parkinson’s Clinic Movement Pavilion. It was cold and wet but the energy and enthusiasm of the walkers made it feel like a sunny day.
I began my journey with Struthers in January of 2012 when Liz Ogrene, founder of Pedal and Roll, asked me if I would lead some Nordic Walking with Parkinson’s patients and their families. I didn’t know alot about Parkinson’s at that time but Liz was so enthusiastic that I had to say yes. The goal was to give our Parkinson’s friends an excuse to get outside even in Minnesota winter and so we walked outdoors every month during the “winter of no snow”.
I’ve learned so much about “movement as medicine” for Parkinson’s. Maria Walde-Douglas, PT with Struthers, has been my mentor for the programs. Nordic Walking poles encourage full body big movement and it’s amazing to witness the benefits gained. The additional balance and stability of the poles leads to a more rhythmic walking pattern, better symmetry of body movement, longer stride and more natural arm swing, less fatigue and enhanced cardio benefits.
The program has grown to include monthly walks with Capistrant Parkinson’s Clinic. We met at Har Mar Mall during the winter months and now are enjoying walks on Thursday afternoons in the garden area and neighborhood of Bethesda Hospital. We even walked around the beautiful capital grounds yesterday.
It has been my pleasure and honor to work with these programs. All of our walks are inclusive but these programs allow us to slow down and focus more on specific movement patterns for Parkinson’s patients. You’ll find dates and locations on my calendar for Pedal and Roll walks on the west side of town and please email me for contact information for the Capistrant programs.