It’s Always More Fun In a Group!

Community Walking groups are typically free or may have a small membership fee to join. I’ve listed locations and contacts for these groups, if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me. Check to see if poles are provided for new walkers. Most groups allow walkers to choose their pace and distance that is comfortable for them. Be sure to check out the details before walking with any group. There will be more groups added as the season gets going.

Maple Grove
Maple Grove has 3 different Nordic walking groups. Contact Sher Monfor for schedules and for help in choosing the one just right for you.  Poles provided for use during walks.

Cold Spring
Wednesday mornings at 8:30am. Meet at the ROCORI Senior Center in the parking lot outside door #5.  After June 6 we meet at a different location each week. Poles and quick intros available for new walkers.  Schedule available from 

St Cloud – Lake George 
leader –
Thursday mornings at 9am. Meets by the granite fountain off 4th St and Lake Blvd East.  Group walks for an hour, the loop is .75 mile for one lap or there is a .5 mile trail next to the lake. Poles and quick intros available for new walkers.

Oakdale Nature Preserve
led by Leda Newman contact:
My group walks at the Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4444 Hadley Ave N in Oakdale every other Saturday at 11:00 am.  Our next scheduled walks are on April 22 and May 6.  There is a group of about 8 of us, but of course not everyone can come each time.  The park is very pretty with a variety of trees and wildlife, along with a boardwalk across a small lake.  We welcome others to join in. Need your own poles.

Gladstone, Maplewood
1945 Manton St, Maplewood, led by Cheryl Gysbers
Tuesdays at 9 am. To join please email Jordi T at He will forward your info to Cheryl and she will contact you. They have a group text that is sent out each week so they know who is walking and who is not. That way there is no waiting around for people who are not coming.

Centennial Lakes
7499 France Ave Led by Julie Turnbull
Tuesdays 5:30-6:30pm  Starting May 9
Meet down by the fountains in front of the Hughes Pavilion. You can park down below also.  a limited number of poles available.

Downtown Minneapolis
Led by Susan Russell Freeman, contact Susan if you’re interested in joining this group This is a new group, schedule and locations being determined now.

Becker Community Center
Becker MN led by Mary Simpler 
Mary leads a variety of different walking groups and classes
contact Mary for more information –

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POP Up Walks for Spring 2023

POP UP Walks are free community walks, open to all walkers, poles provided and a quick intro to basic technique to help newbies get excited! These walks are led by Linda Lemke We are hoping more walks can be scheduled in different areas of the city. Let me know if you would like to host one in your area. There will also be POP Ups schedule for July and August.

Tuesday May 2 10am
Three Rivers Park District Hyland Lake Park Preserve
Meet in front of the visitor center next to the playground, poles provided to use during the walk.

Saturday May 20 8am Early Bird Walk
Three Rivers Park District Silver Lake Park
Come celebrate International Nordic Walking Day! Meet in front of the visitor center, poles provided for use during the walk.  fyi there is an Intro class following this walk with St Anthony/New Brighton CE just down the street, tell your friends! Nordic Walking Intro  10-11:30am

Saturday June 10 9am 
Three Rivers Park District Lake Rebecca 
Meet in the parking lot by the playground near the swimming beach. 

Wednesday June 21  11:30
Three Rivers Park District Mississippi Gateway Park
Meet us in the parking lot by the visitor center. Be aware there is construction but the trails are open!

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Spring Classes 2023

As we kick off the 2023 Nordic Walking Season here is a list of the classes that I know of in the Twin Cities. If you are teaching or know of other classes please let me know so we can put them on the NordicWalkingMN FB page.

If you want to register for a class be sure to follow the link to complete the registration and pay for the class. 

Linda Lemke’s Classes

May 17  Sauk Rapids/Rice Community Ed
Taste of Nordic Walking 6-7pm

May 20 St Anthony/New Brighton CE    
Nordic Walking Intro  10-11:30am

May 22 Big Lake Community Ed
Free Taste of Nordic Walking  6-7pm

May 31,June 7/14  Sauk Rapids Rice CE
Nordic Walking More Energy/Less Stress 6-7pm 3 part class

June 13  Foley Community Ed
Intro to Nordic Walking 9:30-11am
call Community Ed at 320-968-6144

June 14 Northfield Community Ed
Intro to Nordic Walking
10:30-12  Sechler Park

June 15/22  Big Lake Community Ed
Nordic Walking Fitness Posture and Wellbeing
6-7pm June 20

St Anthony/New Brighton CE
Intro to Nordic Walking 10-11:30am

East Side – Kay Okey

Spring Lake Park – 3 separate intro classes

Lakeside Lions Park
April 26 noon
June 13 4:00pm
July 11  9:00am

Tri District Community Ed
Thompson Park, West Paul
June 15, 3-4:30pm

Gladstone Community Center
Nordic Fitness Walking 
May 10 4:00-5:30pm

St Louis Park – Donna Tilsner
May 1 and May 10 Lenox Community Center, 2 separate classes
Nordic Walking The Best Walk  10-11am

Donna will also be doing classes with Edina Community Ed

Golden Valley – Sandy Werts
Golden Valley Community Ed Intro to Nordic Walking
multiple dates at Brookview Park
5/10  1:30pm
5/23  6:30pm
6/08  6:30pm
8/14  10am
8/22  6:30pm

Green Fit Club – Three Rivers Park District
Nordic Walking North – this program rotates between French Park, Elm Creek, Fish Lake Park, Eastman Nature Center. Poles providedWednesdays 6/21-8/23
Time: 5:45 pm – 7:00 pm fee $60

Maple Grove – Sher Monfore
Private classes available with Sher Monfore to get you ready to join one of their walking groups.  contact

Northfield – Fiftyfive North
Nordic Walking 101 May 5, 12-12:45 open to non members 

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Mixing Up Your Walk

On Christmas Eve I fell and sprained my wrist which took me out of Nordic Walking for several weeks. At the same time I joined the Kula Dance Experiment – 20 minutes of dancing every morning. The two events pushed me to try my own experiment of Dance Walking!

Before you shake your head, hear me out. When we go for a walk, with or without poles, we settle into our pace, swing our arms and continue on to the end. Perhaps some of us try a little HIIT, high intensity interval training activities along the way but for the most part we simply walk. Imagine what can happen if instead you turn on some music and dance during your walk?

All of a sudden there are new moves, new rhythms, your arms are in the air, you’re turning, swinging and grooving down the road. You will still get to the end of your walk but along the way the fun factor goes way up! And dancing is a great HIIT activity as it increases the cardio workout with every move.

I’ve been using the playlists from Kula and also some of my own. My 10 year old grandson loaded one for me that is really quite fun. You can make your own and dance to your favorites.

One word of encouragement, dance as if no one is watching. If you think it’s geeky to walk with poles just wait til you start dance walking. I’ve played with dancing up to walkers and inviting them to dance with me for one minute. Sometimes it works. But at least they smile and seem to think it might be a good idea.

Dance walking is making me very happy while I wait for my wrist to heal and get back to my poles.

Our bodies are made to move, so join me and give it a try!

#nordicwalking, #leki, #nordicwalkingtechnique

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Nordic Walking Benefits for Parkinsons

Walking has been shown to be a simple and effective exercise choice for individuals with Parkinson’s. Current research confirms that the use of Nordic walking poles provides many benefits over and above the basic aerobic workout of walking. I’ve been enjoying introducing the Parkinson’s Support Group along with a class of 20 here in Green Valley to Nordic Walking this winter.

Benefits of Poles for Parkinson’s include:
1. Improved posture due to greater activation of back and core muscles
2. Promotes longer strides with better foot clearance, less shuffling and risk of falls
3. More intentional use of arms leads to increased arm swing and symmetrical movements of the whole body
4. Increased stability on uneven surfaces due to a wider base of support
5. Up to 30% increased cardiovascular fitness with better oxygenation
6. Decreased fatigue – a low rate of perceived exertion while walking with poles
7. Less pain – poles provide off-loading and support of lower joints (back, knees, hips)
8. More confidence while walking and moving
9. The rhythm of the poles and the all body workout is very soothing to the body and mind, resulting in less depression and anxiety

There is a technique associated with Nordic walking that is different from hiking. It begins with an upright posture and then stepping and swinging opposite arm and leg with the poles in a slight backward angle instead of up in front of your body. Most walkers immediately realize they are standing taller and more upright with each step. As each stage of Parkinson’s brings new challenges the use of the poles can be modified to help support balance and maintain mobility as needed.

Nordic walking poles are different from hiking poles. It is beneficial to use a Nordic walking pole for safe and effective results. There are choices of poles with straps, (ex. LEKI Spins) or without straps, (ex. UrbanPoling Activator). The poles can also be used both standing and seated for stretching and strength exercises.
Nordic walking vs Pole walking – differences in poles

Just to get you excited about Nordic walking as a new way to move with Parkinson’s
uk video with Parkinson’s group walking

If you enjoy podcasts, Mary Tweed and her Walking on Air programs are very good!
Walking On Air podcast – Nordic walking and Parkinson’s

Nordic Walking Introductory Programs for Parkinson’s Support Groups offered by Linda Lemke, certified Nordic Walking and Urban Poling Instructor. Demo poles will be provided for use during the presentations. Contact me at for more information.

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Spring Classes in Minnesota

Greetings fellow Nordic Walkers!

It’s that time of great anticipation for spring and Nordic Walking!

I thought it might be easier for everyone if we had a list of classes and walking groups coming up in communities all over the Twin Cities and Beyond this year. I’m excited about all that are listed for this year and know that I still don’t have all of them. It’s hard to get all the links to work, my apologies, but there are contacts and locations and phone numbers for any that don’t have registration links yet. You can call the Community Ed or Parks and Recreation program listed and get into any class below.  My classes and walks are also on my website under upcoming events. 

CLASSES led by Linda Lemke

Sauk Rapids/Rice Community Ed 12,19,26  6pm 3 part class   320-253-7237
Whitney Senior Center, St Cloud  14  11am  Intro 320-255-7245
St Anthony-New Brighton CE 25 & 5/2 10:30am 2 part class 612-706-1166
Sartell-St Stephens CE 25 & 5/2 6pm 3 part class 320-258-7331

Whitney Senior Center, St Cloud MN 12th 11am Intro 320-255-7245
Fridley CE  13,20  10:30am 2 part class 763-502-5100
Big Lake Taste of Nordic Walking 23  6pm 763-262-2523

Northfield Community Ed 8th  10:30am Intro  507-664-3649
Big Lake Community Ed 13,20,27  11am  3 part class 763-262-2523
New London-Spicer Community Ed  22,29  10am  2 part class 320-354-1406
Maple Grove Park and Rec Beyond the Basics  16,23

Thursdays May 5-June 23  9am-10am

EDINA Senior Center classes taught by Donna Tilsner

FlatRock Adventures Nordic Walking classes taught by Kay Okey on the east side of the Twin Cities

GOLDEN VALLEY Park and Rec  and Hopkins Activity Center classes taught by Sandy Werts

Minneapolis North East Park Fitness workshop Active KidsJuly 11 10am

Maple Grove Park and Rec  page 34Book your own private intro with Nordic Walking Trainer Sher Monfore-Elliot and then join one of 3 Nordic Walking groups depending on your interest and fitness level.

St Louis Park CE May 17 or June 14 10am  Taught by Donna Tilsner

Hudson YMCA ongoing classes and walking group


for anyone who would like to share Nordic walking with family and friends or their community!

April 30, 9am-noon  Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina                 registration lindamlemke@lindalemke

May 4 9am-noon  Maple Grove Community Center                registration

May 17  3-6pm  Northfield  please email me if interested in this training

FREE Community Walking Groups – all groups officially begin May 1, if weather allows we will walk in April. These are walks that I support with poles and quick lessons for newbies. More will be added to this list as we get trainings done. 

Sartell  Mondays 6pm Sauk Rapids Municipal Park 1001 River Ave N, Sauk Rapids

Cold Spring Wednesdays 8:30am  ROCORI Community Center, 527 Main Street on the east side of the building 

St Cloud  9am Thursdays Lake George, St Cloud MN  we meet in the parking lot by the building for rentals and the granite fountains off 4th Street and

POP Up Walks  MAY

Free community walks with poles provided for new walkers.
May Day, May 1, 11am  3 Rivers Park District French Regional Park,  meet in the parking lot near the playground.
May 16  World Nordic Walking Day  11am 3 Rivers Park District Hyland Lake Park Preserve,  meet in front of the visitor center

JUNE/ JULY TBD  Ideas?  Let’s get walks on the calendar now!
I hope you’ll find a class near you and maybe will join us at the POP Up walks again this summer!  

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Happy New Year!

I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions as much as I try to look back over the year past, count my blessings and then look ahead to the possibilities and opportunities in the New Year.

One of blessings of the past year, especially during Covid, was the Nordic Walking communities that have developed here in Central Minnesota. The weekly walking groups were so much more than just a chance to get outside for a walk. They are a community of friends and neighbors, as many as 20 strong, gathered for an hour of conversation, meeting new friends, sharing their stories and perhaps making plans to do a bike ride or other activity later in the week.

It’s the connections between us that are so important. As one walker said to me when I was promoting working on using a longer arm and adding a little more energy, “You do know we’re just here for the social?!”

Yes I do. We take time for meet and greet, encourage everyone to walk with a partner, use “looping” to keep the group together and mix it up as we walk, and all end the walk refreshed, revitalized and ready to move into our day.

I look forward to being back among my walking communities when spring arrives. It’s gonna be a good year!

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2021 Nordic Walking Season – and what a season it was!

Summer of 2021 actually began in December with the article in the Star Tribune by Kevyn Burger touting Nordic Walking as the perfect pandemic fitness activity. Even tho it came out in the winter, in Minnesota, it sparked off a huge interest in Nordic walking and all the benefits of the poles – It’s a full body workout, it takes you outside, connects you with other people and it’s safe!

My website, my email and my text messages blew up with questions and comments. I got phone calls from all over the US and even one from Ireland. It seemed that perhaps Nordic walking was finally going mainstream!

It was a walking season full of meeting so many amazing people, both in person and virtually. I walked with over 300 walkers and there were other’s leading classes and programs that I can’t even count. Here’s a quick recap of what went on.

We have 3 free community walking groups in the St Cloud area, Monday eve-Sauk Rapids, Wednesday-Cold Spring and Thursday-Lake George, mornings. We averaged 12-18 walkers on Wednesday mornings and 20-24 on Thursdays. The evening group is just getting going but we look forward to it growing in the spring.

I taught 25 classes including introductory and 3 part programs,”Beyond the Basics” for experienced walkers, private classes, Parkinson’s Support Groups, Senior Living Facilities, Community groups, Corporate Lunch and Learns, the random “can you just show me how to do it?” and one Instructor Training with 7 new Instructors.

Initiated POP Up Walks – Power of Poles – in a variety of settings all over the Twin Cities. Free Nordic walks with a quick intro and a walk in the park.

Organized Adventure Walks where we got off the beaten path and walked a trail outside the cities. Also dabbled with Wonder Walking with the poles and that was really fun.

There have been other community classes taught by Instructors all over the Twin Cities and even at the Hudson, WI YMCA. Thank you to Kay Okey (St Paul area), Donna Tilsner (Edina), Sandy Werts (Hopkins and Minnetonka), Julie Turnbull ( Edina, POP Ups), Sher Monfore (Maple Grove). I know that other communities also had programs so if you know of any please share locations and names so we can include them on the FB page.

Struthers Parkinson’s Center continues to use poles in their physical therapy programs to help Persons with Parkinson’s keep moving with balance and confidence.

Created the NordicwalkingMN Facebook page, a private group all about Nordic Walking. To date there are 170 members. We have been sharing lots of information about Nordic Walking.

It does feel like Nordic walking is getting the attention it deserves. So put on your walking shoes, grab your poles and step out proudly! I can’t wait to see what we do next summer!

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Tips for Walking in the Dark

I love walking outdoors all year long. The cool, crisp mornings are invigorating and the perfect way to wake up. But as the days get shorter and we find ourselves walking in the dark it’s important to be safe out there! Never assume that cars can see you, drivers are distracted and mornings and evenings they are not thinking about walkers. You need to be visible and take extra precautions. Here’s a few suggestions.

*A reflective vest is your first line of defense. Buy one you can wear over a jacket. *Lights! Find ones that are colorful and blink, put them on an arm, on your poles, wear a head lamp. Pretend you’re a Christmas Tree! *Running stores and bike stores will have good choices.
*Bring your phone in case of an accident but keep it in your pocket to avoid an accident.
*Consider not listening to your music so you can hear what’s going on around you.
*Find a walking partner or if you walk alone make sure someone knows you are out on a walk and let them know when you get back.

Remember that your daily dose of nature is important all year long, we just have to make adjustments to the seasons.

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Technique Tip – Poles bouncing or “reverberating on contact”

Walkers often complain that the tips of their poles are bouncing or “reverberating” on contact with the ground. Remember that you’re learning a new activity and it takes time and a few miles of walking to settle into the rhythm and flow of the poles. In the meantime there are several reasons why this might be happening to you.

First check the height of your poles. Too long or too short and you will miss your sweet spot where the tips land and engage with the ground. How do you set your height? This LEKI Quick Start will help. The walker stands tall, elbow bent at the waist, neutral wrist with the hand on the grip. With the pole unlocked shorten the pole until the hand is below the elbow at about a 100 degree angle. Lock in the length.

Next check your grip. Your hands should be cupped around the handle of the pole and the pole tip should “land like a butterfly and sting like a bee”. If you have a tight grip the tip will “plant” or stab the ground instead of landing and engaging. Remember the “catch and release” – catch the grip as the tip lands and immediately release or relax your hand as you finish the back stroke of the arm swing. This allows the tip to stay on that sweet spot for maximum pressure. The strap is designed to bring the grip back into your hand as your arm swings forward.

Check your arm swing. Does it swing forward to belly button height allowing the pole tip to land ahead of your toe and behind your heel? or do you bend your elbow at the end of the arm swing bringing the pole more vertical? Again the landing effect, if you’re bending your elbow at the end of the arm swing and bringing the pole more vertical it will “plant” not land. If it’s landing ahead of your front foot you’ve broken your triangle of power. (the long angles from shoulder to grip to tip and back up)

Is the pole only bouncing on one side? We all have a dominant side, one arm may be swinging more freely, moving from belly button height to just past your hip. Your pole height is set to accommodate this range of motion. The other arm may not be swinging with the same amount of energy, thus the tip does not find the sweet spot where it can engage and begin the pressure down and back.

How is your posture? If you’re leaning forward, ahead of your hips, it can cause the bouncing of the tips as they land. Chin up, shoulders down and back, engage your core to set yourself in an upright walking position before your first step.

Suggestions for 1. Unclip from your poles and hold the poles mid shaft – hands cupped gently. Walk and swing your arms with an eye on the poles being level to the ground swinging for and aft. Check to see if they are swinging equal distance for and aft.

2. Go back to the walk, swing, drag to reset your arm swing and range of motion. Relax and get into your rhythm and flow to find your sweet spot where the pole engages.

3. Walk without gripping the pole at all, hands cupped around the handle but not hanging on, use the strap only for the pressure.

4. Check to see that you see your hands coming into your lower peripheral vision, both at the same range of motion. 

5. Shorten your poles about an inch to make it easier for the pole to land and engage.

I’m happy to do a movement analysis of your technique. Just have someone do a short video on your phone and send it to me either by text or email. It will help me figure out just what you’re doing that’s causing the problem.

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