Winter Walking Tips

To slip or not, that is the question. If your sidewalks and trails are now covered in snow your poles may be slipping just a bit instead of giving you the stable grip for your push that you’re used to having in warmer seasons. What to do?
First you can simply take off the rubber boot tip, put it where you’ll be able to find it and walk with the bare metal tip. LEKI flex tips feature a carbide tip  that is very hard and actually concave so they provide excellent grip on hard cold surfaces. If you remove the tip be sure to lengthen your poles about 2 cm so they won’t feel short while you’re walking.

Your other option, one that works well if you’re moving along a trail that is mixed frozen cement and snow and ice, is to get a pair of LEKI studded traction tips. This is my husbands favorite as he doesn’t like the noise of the bare tip on cement and pavement. The small carbide spikes work similar to a studded snow tire and provide excellent grip on your winter walks.

Don’t let the ice and snow keep you from enjoying your poles!  and be sure to get a pair of shoe grips for the bottom of your walking shoes.

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Special Taste of NW for Parkinson’s in Willmar

Congratulations to the city of Willmar for becoming the most recent community to be recognized as a Parkinson’s Friendly City in Minnesota.  It makes a big difference for those living with Parkinson’s and their family to have better understanding and support in the community.

Many of the fitness programs in Willmar are leading exercise classes and activities that are easier for persons living with Parkinson’s to enjoy.  I am excited to be working with the Community Ed program to lead a special Taste of Nordic Walking for Parkinson’s on Tuesday September 20, 3-4:30 pm.  Nordic Walking adds balance, improves posture and encourages the symmetry of moving your whole body while walking.  It’s a great way to apply the Big Movements recognized to help with the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

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This class is also appropriate for seniors or others with mobility limitations that would like a slower paced class.  Registration is now open, the fee is $3.

As always poles will be available for use during the class, dress for the weather as we will be going outside, and come prepared for lots of fun and the joy of learning something new.

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2016 Fall Classes on the Calendar!

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Fall is my favorite time of year to walk and Nordic Walking is my favorite walk! Join me for a Taste, a one time Intro, a 3 part Become a Nordic Walker or Beyond the Basics in a community ed program near you! Check out the calendar for dates and times. Links will be available as soon as the websites are updated for fall.
As always if you don’t see one near you get a group of friends together for a private class. It’s fun, easy to learn and a great time to share with friends!

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Make Your Walk Count!

I went for a quick walk this morning, 2 miles to start my day with a paddle and a round of golf planned for later.  It was indeed a quick walk – 2.34 miles, average pace 13:55 per mile, 4,400 steps and 279 calorie burn.  I don’t often average below 14 minutes per mile but this morning I found my pace and moved quickly down the trail.  It felt really good!

I use map my walk to coach me on the trail and keep track of my walks.  I have a fitbit and in the past had a garmin to track my daily activity.  My cell phone has a health app and will track my steps all day long if it’s in my pocket. I wear a watch so I can track minutes if nothing else.  So I’m counting all day long.

But my walk doesn’t really count if I’m not working my poles and challenging myself to keep a pace and pressure on the poles. I know I can walk forever at 15 minutes per mile so I need to increase my pace if I want to get my heart rate up.  I know I can take it easy on the poles but to increase the workout and the upper body strength I need to apply maximum pressure and follow through on my poles.  When I reach that goal I find my “runner’s high” and the miles fly by!

How do you count your walk?  Do you work your poles or just take them for a walk?  If you’ve been walking with poles it’s time to put the pressure on and make that walk count!

I have some Beyond the Basics clinics coming up, designed for the experienced Nordic walker who wants to take the next step and learn to really work those poles.  Join me!

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The Queen goes global!

It’s a small world.  Yesterday I was on my way to deliver a set of LEKI Carbon Travellers to a gentleman in New London, MN. He had met some Nordic walkers from my classes while walking on the trail.  He stopped them, asked questions about the poles and got my contact information.  The next day he saw another Nordic walker while walking and decided it was a sign that he needed to call me about getting started.  Random contact, but that’s how it so often happens with the poles. I had agreed to meet him at the middle school playground for the hand off and a quick introduction to get him started with his poles.

As I waited for him to arrive I got a call on my cell.  I hesitated to answer it as there was no caller ID.  Imagine my surprise to discover that it was a man from India!  Ranjit had just received his Carbon Travellers, found my website and blog and called to get his questions answered in person from the queen. We had a delightful conversation and he followed up with an email this morning.

Serendipity?  Coincidence?  The universe works in mysterious ways but I am now connected to two more Nordic walkers, one going to Germany this fall and the other living on the other side of the world.  The joy of walking with poles is our common bond and I look forward to hearing about their new adventures with Nordic walking.

What is your story?  I’d love to hear about it!

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Walk in Real Time

I meant to track my walk today. But my phone went dead and silent, I didn’t wear a watch and I left my Fitbit at home. I was off the grid for each step. So instead of listening to my digital coach tracking my time, distance and speed I relaxed into my pace and became one with my walk.
I’m in Arlington, WA and walking the road along my daughter’s neighborhood. As I freed my mind I became aware of colors and textures around me. The bright yellows, purples and whites of wild flowers, wild prickly blackberry vines growing up and over and onto the road, lacy ferns as tall as I am in the ditch, flowering trees of a multitude of color and size (I have no idea of their names), and the many colors of green growing into summer.
There were large black slugs crawling on the road and birds singing up on the wires. The deep cool darkness of the heavy forest pulled me in to the strength and wisdom of the large old trees forming the canopy overhead. The sun broke through and tempted me to remove my jacket. Slick black cows stood in belly high in the pasture grass while their calves napped next to them. Fences had been tightened since my last visit and some fields were empty of their former occupants.

When I turned around at the top of the hill my eyes settled on the mountains shrouded in clouds and mystery. Rain was coming back soon so it was time to hurry home. I arrived safe and dry.

I don’t know how far I went or how fast I walked or how long I was gone.  Yet I know how relaxed I was when I stopped and sat on the porch enjoying all the goodness of a walk outside.  Sometimes it’s good to be off the grid!

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New Nordic Walking programs in the Twin Cities!

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The most common question from new walkers is “Where are the groups?” It’s always more fun with a group and Nordic Walkers are no exception. To be successful with a new activity you need a buddy and a schedule so why not make it 5 or 10 or 20 buddies?

This month we have kicked off Nordic walking programs in Edina, Fridley and Brooklyn Park. The Introductory programs were very well attended and based on the energy of the group everyone had a great time. They all have Nordic walking groups on their calendar now, joining Maple Grove 757 Nordic Walkers and Hoigaard’s Nordic Walking Tuesdays. Eden Prairie is adding Nordic Walking to their Fitness in the Park programs and Pedal and Roll and Stroll for Parkinson’s has walks coming up as well. My calendar shows my own walks in St Cloud and Cold Spring. There’s lots going on out there so hopefully there’s one close to you!

I’m trying to get information on all of them on my calendar but for now use the links to contact the various programs for more information!  FYI  all of these programs have poles for you to use during the walks.  If you join them and want to buy your own poles I have a good selection in stock right now.

Happy Walking!

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Happy Earth Day!

Save the Planet, Go for a Walk

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this week, in honor of  Earth Day, the fitness clubs, yoga studios, Y’s, all those indoor workout and exercise places were empty and everyone was outside enjoying some fresh air while they walked, biked or ran in the sunshine? Think of all the CO2 emissions we would save by simply walking out the door instead of getting into our cars and driving to the local gym.

Exercise Local! I like it.

It could be the new green movement, exercise outdoors in your neighborhood once per week to reduce your carbon footprint. The logo could be a green footprint with little green marks from the tips of our nordic walking poles.

If you’re already walking in your neighborhood and looking for something to mix it up you might try a new route this week. Go a different way, turn left instead of right, discover a new neighborhood, add a new dimension to your routine. Maybe it’s time to add a few more steps, or turn and go up that hill that you’ve been avoiding. If you’re already going up the hill why not try turning around at the top and going back to the bottom to do it a second time. You can also weave back and forth as you go up to add distance and cardio. Lots of little tricks to make it more fun and challenging.

While you’re out there don’t forget to look around and wonder at the marvel of spring. Our frozen black and white world is turning green and little bursts of color are appearing where you least expect it. I was surprised by a bright blue patch of sila blooming in the woods by the lake this morning, made my day!

Happy Earth Day!

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Put a Spring in your step!

We have an epidemic of obesity in the U.S. According to the study, “Americans are gaining an average of one to two pounds per year. If we don’t stop the present trend, by the year 2030, 86.3% of adults in the United States will be overweight or obese.” Motion is the most powerful medicine. The promotion of walking and other regular moderate physical exercise among Americans should be among our primary “health care reform” efforts! Cost: little or nothing. Results: PRICELESS!                   Jama Internal Medicine, Feb 2013

Put a little spring in your step and get moving!  With spring in the air you have no more excuses for not getting outside and walking.  The days are longer, there’s little or no snow left, you don’t have to bundle up and your poles are waiting for you!

A pound or two per year doesn’t sound like much but over 10 years that’s 10-20 pounds of extra weight.  How much more do you weigh now than when you graduated from college?  How much better did you feel then?  Are your joints aching because of the stress from extra weight?  Would it be easier to do the activities you enjoy without the extra pounds?

Nordic walking will burn more calories making it easier to loose that weight and keep it off.  Grab those sticks today and get out for that walk!  Tomorrow you’ll be glad you started today.

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Nordic Walking for Parkinson’s

In 2010 I met Liz Ogren, founder of Pedal and Roll for Parkinson’s. She was looking for someone to lead Nordic walking experiences for persons with Parkinson’s. At the time I didn’t know much about Parkinson’s or that she was about to change my life. But I do believe that our meeting was meant to be.

Why poles for Parkinson’s? Balance, posture and symmetry of movement! When it’s hard to move the poles can make it easier to take the next step. Moving stimulates the brain and with each day we are stronger and more confident. It’s a fun outdoor activity for families, couples often buy poles to enjoy the walking and talking together. You can also do it indoors when the weather is harsh or personal limitations make it safer.

Since our first winter of outdoor pole walking in Golden Valley MN, walks associated with Struthers Parkinson’s Clinic, our adventures have taken us across Minnesota, and into North Dakota and Wisconsin. We travel with Nordic walking poles and adaptive bicycles spreading the word that “Movement is Medicine”. Combining our energy and enthusiasm for keeping people off the couch we encourage everyone to get up and give it a try. Moving is good for the body, good for the brain and good for the spirit. We have been blessed to be witnesses to the difference it can make in a person’s quality of life and it always inspires us to do more.

This spring we are visiting Parkinson’s Support Groups throughout Central Minnesota. You’ll find us in St Cloud, Big Lake, Monticello, Minnetonka and Elk River. I’ll be leading weekly walks at Lake George in St Cloud, MN. Liz and Michael will be leading walks in Eden Prairie and Edina. So many opportunities to come out and give it a try and it’s all free.

If you are a member of a support group or other interested community group and would like us to come to inspire and motivate you to get up and move, give me a call or email. It would be our pleasure to come and play with you!

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