Poles or No Poles

Spring has finally arrived here in Minnesota. The ice is off the lakes just in time for fishing opener and people are outside enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. It’s always exciting to see walkers with poles on the trails this time of year. It’s a new commitment to a season of Nordic walking and I love it!

It’s also a time when people ask “why poles?”

It’s really very simple. For a long and healthy life we need an active life style.  Walking is the activity most prescribed and Nordic Walking Poles are the drug of choice.  A vanilla walk is what most people take on a daily basis but you can make it a hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top with the simple addition of the poles.

Nordic walking challenges your body increasing your heart rate, bone density, calorie burn and overall workout all while being gentle on your joints and adding a rhythm all it’s own.  Come and give it a try at one of my classes or walks!

Here’s a short slide show to explain all the goodness of Nordic walking!

 

 

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2018 Schedule for Spring and Summer Classes

I’m working on the calendar for spring and summer classes and walking groups. As I finalize dates and times I’ll be posting them on my calendar. For now here’s an update of what is coming, details will be available soon. Walking groups will begin the first week in May, classes will be in May and June.

Cold Spring Nordic Walkers Tuesdays 8:30am
St Cloud Nordic Walking Group Thursdays 9am
St Cloud VA Thursdays 11am
Sartell Community Ed
Sauk Rapids Community Ed
New London Community Ed Class
Buffalo Community Ed
Sauk Centre Community Ed
Whitney Center, St Cloud Intros

If you don’t see your community on this list give me a shout and let’s get one scheduled!

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Layers for Cold Weather Nordic Walking

When the weather outside is frightful it’s not time to stay indoors it’s time to pull out your winter layers. I’m not talking about putting on layers with chocolate and comfort foods altho that’s tempting but putting on layers of clothing for the conditions out there.

Nordic walking is an aerobic activity, you will warm up in the first 15 minutes so be careful about how much you put on. You don’t want to overheat during your time outdoors. Choose the weight of your layers based on the temperature and your comfort level. Our bodies all tolerate the cold differently and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. Clothing designed and sold for cross country skiing or cold weather running are good choices for Nordic walkers.

A picture is worth a thousand words so let me try to make this simple. Please note that color coordination is not necessary for warmth but it does look good doesn’t it?

BASE LAYER – NEXT TO SKIN


First layer keeps you dry. It’s designed to move the moisture away from your body. I always start with a wool “cami” but the the real layer is good fitting long sleeve top and bottom long underwear . Choose between wool or synthetic fabrics. Avoid cotton fabrics as they do not breathe, they just get wet.

MID LAYER – INSULATION


Mid layer keeps you warm. So many choices-polar fleece, synthetics, wool and so many weights- light, mid, heavy but it also must breathe. Turtle neck tops with 1/4 zippers allow you to vent as you warm up. If it’s really cold consider a vest instead of another heavy layer.

OUTER LAYER – WINDPROOF


This layer keeps the cold out. On top you don’t need a big puffy jacket or heavy snowpants, but you do need a windproof jacket and pants to keep the cold from getting in. A bit of stretch makes it easier to move, some people like having a hood,  a waterproof shell is a good option. Side leg zippers, insulation on the front of the legs and elastic waistbands are some of my favorite features on my pants.

Feet, hands and head



Wool socks and waterproof shoes for your feet. I have a pair of goretex trail shoes and a pair of insulated short hiking boots (also for snowshoeing) that I use in the cold weather. My toes always get cold so I make sure that my boots are warm and dry before I gear up.

light weight gloves or mittens
Windproof gloves are more important than heavy insulation.Keep the cold out and the warmth in just like a base layer. The grip and release of the pole grip will help to keep your hands warm.  If it’s really cold lobster mittens are warm and kinda fun to wear.

Head and eyes


Hats keep the warmth in, a lightweight hat will breathe and keep you from getting too warm. A warmer wool hat for cold days. A neck gaitor or face mask will protect your nose and cheeks from frostbite and will warm the air you’re breathing in. Don’t forget to protect your eyes with sunglasses, both from the reflection of winter sun on the snow and also from the cold.

Don’t let cold weather keep you inside. You’ll need to experiment with what you have in your closet to find the right combinations for you. Remember there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong choice of clothing.

Now it’s time to go out play in the cold and snow!

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St Cloud VA Nordic Walks

It’s long been a dream of mine to lead Nordic walking groups for our Veterans. I’m excited to tell you that this month it’s finally happened. Having completed my volunteer orientation early in September we have group walks scheduled with the Therapeutic Recreation Dept through November. Thank you Leah!
Walks will be at 11am on selected Thursday mornings, meeting at Building 48, room 16 – the fitness center. All vets and their spouses/caregivers are invited to participate in these free walks. We will walk for an hour but everyone can choose the distance, time and intensity that works for them. Poles and introductions to Nordic walking technique will be provided.
Calendar of walks:
September 28, October 12 and 26, November 2 and 16.
This is the complete schedule for fall and we will resume in the spring hopefully on a weekly basis.
If you are a vet or know of vets in the St Cloud area that would like to join us please share this information with them.

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Come Walk with the Queen!

If you live in the St Cloud area there are so many opportunities to get a taste of Nordic Walking. With the cooler weather it’s a perfect time of year to motivate and get out with your poles! Check out my calendar and Facebook page for locations and dates!

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Walks Scheduled for Parkinson’s Support Groups

It’s always more fun in a group!
Liz Ogren, Pedal and Roll for Parkinson’s, and I have been busy planning special walks in the Twin Cities and beyond for Parkinson’s Support Groups and anyone else who would like to join us. The walks are free, will be led by Nordic Walking Instructors and there will be poles for new walkers to use during the walks.

Here is the schedule.

Registration is not required but it’s helpful to know how many to expect.  Please rsvp to Liz Ogren

July 19, Aug 23, Sept 27, October 25  10am Club Bethesda Willmar, MN
901 Willmar Ave SE, Willmar, MN 56201
Park at the east end of the building by the Wellness Center and look for us by the door.
July 24, August 7, August 21, September 18  12:30pm  St Cloud Support Group
Independent Lifestyles, 215 N Benton Drive, Sauk Rapids, MN 56379
August 15  11am-12noon Fridley Senior Center, 6085 7th St NE, Fridley, 55432
August 29  6pm Big Lake Support Group
meeting at Lake Side Park,111 Lakeshore Dr, Big Lake   no parking fee for the walk
Sept 12  11am-12noon  Brooklyn Park Community Center
5600 85th Ave N. Brooklyn Park, 55443
Thursdays August – September  9am  St Cloud,  weekly walking group meeting at the granite fountains on the east side of the lake off 4th street and 9th Ave
THANK YOU!  As we reach out and create walking opportunities I’m hoping that come next spring people will be asking us “when are the walks gong to start up again!?”
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Summer Walking Groups

It’s always more fun in a group and there are several weekly group walks as well as some that meet monthly or are just a special one time walk.  So no excuses for not getting out with your poles! 

Weekly walks include:  Monday’s in Sauk Rapids, Tuesday’s in Cold Spring and with Hoigaards, Wednesdays with Fridley and Maple Grove Senior Community Ed, Thursdays in St Cloud and Fridays you’re on your own!

Through Pedal and Roll for Parkinson’s Liz and I  are scheduling monthly group walks with Parkinson’s support groups. We know what a walk can do to help rekindle excitement and motivation to keep walking! These walks are a follow up to all of our visits to these groups over the past 4 years.  We have presented to groups throughout the Twin Cities, down to Hastings and Rochester, and as far as Alexandria and Fargo with the message that Movement is Medicine and the bikes and poles will help you to keep moving.

I’m updating my Facebook page to show scheduled events for all of our walks.  Please be patient but if you have questions don’t hesitate to contact me.  We will also be posting a full schedule of walks for Parkinson’s on the National Parkinson Foundation MN website and social media page.  Check back often as walks are being added almost every day.

 

 

 

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Got Poles? Now What Do You Do?

Congratulations!  You’ve made the commitment to fitness, bought some poles and can’t wait to get started. But just how do you do that?

Nordic walking is easy to learn but there is definitely some technique to using the poles that will help you get started safely and effectively.  Without any introduction many people will begin with their poles out in front of them, tips reaching forward and hands up high in the air. This is opposite to what you would learn in a class or from a good video.

Your poles are designed to be used at an angle behind you, following your arm swing and landing just behind the heel of your front foot.  Take the time to watch a video or find a class near you to make sure you set the poles for the correct height and you get started on the right foot and left arm.   Yes you will be walking and swinging your arms in opposition, just like you do when you walk without poles.

Many community education programs offer classes or you might find an instructor near you that is available for personal training.  The most common comment at a class is “Who knew there was so much to learn about Nordic walking!”

Contact me with questions or help finding instruction in your community.

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New Shoes!

I got new walking shoes this week!

Nordic walkers need a pair of poles in their hands and a good pair of walking shoes on their feet. There are many different brands out there and they all fit different shaped feet and walking styles. Find a shop that will measure your foot, make sure you have a good fit with plenty of toe room and lots of support, and then watch you walk in the shoes to help determine if it’s the right shoe for you.

Like the tips on your poles your shoes will wear out.
What are the symptoms of a dead shoe? Even if the top of the shoe looks ok you need to turn that shoe upside down and look at the bottom. If you’ve worn down the tread or the heels it’s time. The other common symptom is that something will start to hurt, like a knee, hip or back. New twinges are a sign that something has changed and the first thing to check is those shoes.

I had to listen to my own advice this week. My knee has been talking to me of late and I realized I was overdue for new walking shoes. With new shoes on my feet I am once again smiling all the way down the road!

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Spring 2017 Classes on the Calendar

I woke up to new snow on the ground here in Bozeman Montana, it’s our winter home featuring lots of skiing up at Big Sky! Funny thing about that snow, it made me think of spring time and Nordic walking.
So I spent my day updating my calendar with upcoming classes and special programs. Most of them have links inserted so you can register online. As promised I’ve already scheduled some Beyond the Basics Classes and look forward to adding more as the season gets under way.

Consider this your invitation to join me at a class or a walk. It will soon be time to put away that winter gear and layers and step out with your poles! I hope to see you soon!

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