A Walk Around The Block

Spike Carlsen’s new book just came out!
“A Walk Around The Block” Stoplight secrets, mischievous squirrels, manhole mysteries and other stuff you see every day (and know nothing about)

Nordic Walking is one of those curious things he covers in his fun and captivating way. Featuring the Nordic Walking Queen of course!

Spike was curious about Nordic Walking and called to come out to the lake for a private lesson May of 2019. We spent the morning together introducing him to the poles, history, benefits and basic technique. With poles in hands we took a walk through the neighborhood leading him from his first tentative steps to coordinated striding and pressuring the poles. It was lots of fun!

Spike was interviewed in the StarTribune today and he mentions the Nordic Walking Queen. I’m pretty sure that Nordic Walking is about to become a hot topic, especially in this time of Covid when we all need something that takes us outside for some fresh air and exercise.

Thanks Spike for shedding some light on the mysteries of all those people walking with poles.

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Winter’s coming! What to do!

Covid came you went outside
You found the joy, you got the rhythm
Alone or with a willing partner
Step by step you’ve become a walker

But winters coming what to do?
Nordic Walk and keep it going
poles in hand you’re warm and fit
tips and grips reduce the slips

Better than the walk you’ve got
Posture, heart rate, work out – up Up UP
Clears the head and drops the stress
Out in the fresh air, it’s the best!

The one gift that the summer of 2020 gave us was the healing strength of going outdoors. People everywhere discovered how much better they felt when they took a walk outdoors. That simple activity in the fresh air, saying hi to neighbors, safely enjoying some conversation and social interaction, moving our bodies and clearing our heads and hearts. It’s like magic.

But now everyone is in a little bit of a panic about winter. Many don’t consider themselves a “winter person”, have no outdoor snow activities that they enjoy, panic about dressing warm enough to go outside to play, and have no vision of how to do it.

Relax, it’s not that hard. Here’s a few winter tips to prepare you and make it easier.

First look in your closets and find warm layers to wear in the cold. You probably have all you need, no fashion police outside in the winter. Try it on, see yourself outside in the snow or cold, enjoy feeling like a snowman/woman. Find the child within you that delights at winter.

Second remember that you don’t have to go out and brave the coldest of the cold and you only stay out as long as you’re comfortable. Like any new activity take it slow and easy. Go out for 15 minutes and walk around the block. As you become comfortable with the cold go longer or more often.

Now find a buddy and plan to meet outdoors at a specific time and place. Gail and I walk out our doors at 6:45 and meet on the street somewhere between. It keeps us both accountable and safe outdoors.

and finally Try something new! There are equipment rentals at many regional parks and outdoor stores. Sign up for a snowshoe class, cross country ski experience or local winter walking group. You’ve become a walker, now add Nordic walking poles to keep you warm and safe in the cold.

Don’t let winter shut you in! There is magic in the crisp, cold days of this other season.

You can do it!

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Spring Classes on Hold

It’s time to put Nordic walking on your calendars but at this time most of the community ed programs are putting classes on hold until we can safely gather together. Please stay posted for updates. Here is the proposed schedule for community walks and hopefully we will be able to start these walks in mid April. Poles and quick introductions are always available for new walkers. Everyone walks their pace and distance and no one walks alone.

Sartell – Mondays at 5:30pm Watch for annoucements of meeting spots

Cold Spring – New day!  Wednesdays at 8:30am meeting at the ROCORI Senior Center for the first few weeks and then we will be getting out and about on different trails and neighborhoods.

Lake George, St Cloud – Thursdays at 9am meeting by the Granite fountains at Lake George.

St Cloud VA schedule to be announced

in the meantime if anyone would like to purchase poles, borrow demo poles or needs new tips for their poles please let me know! We can meet somewhere, practice social distancing and do a hand off.

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Is walking making a comeback?

During this difficult time as we all stay at home the one thing we are encouraged to do is to go outside everyday. Go for a walk they say. Just keep your social distance but get outside to help reduce the anxiety and keep you healthy. In my neighborhood I see people walking! and some of them are not even walking dogs, they are just out for a walk.

Is it fair to say that good old walking is making a comeback? It’s simple, it’s rich in benefits, it’s free and it’s social. Fresh air and hello’s to all your neighbors and friends along the way.

When you step out that door enjoy the freedom that walking brings. Take your time (we all seem to have plenty of that right now), turn a different way, try a local park or wooded path, breathe deep and quicken your pace now and again to get that heart rate up. You don’t need a destination. Let your walk bring you back to yourself.

This article “Why Long Walks Will Change Your Life” seems very appropriate for today. May walking help sustain you during this time of “stay at home” and social distancing.

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Stepping into the New Year with Intention

Waking this morning to the new year I found myself reflecting on all the wonderful walks of 2019. Including the community walking groups, the VA programs, special events and of course my personal walks with friends and family I walked just over 1000 miles.That’s a lot of walking and talking and sharing our lives with every step. Thank you to everyone who walked with me!

More importantly it was a year of people making commitments to their own health and wellness by getting outdoors and walking. I’ve been leading Nordic Walking programs in Central MN for 5 years now and have been blessed with introducing the fun and fitness of the poles to so many over those years. There are walkers who have been with me for all five years and always new walkers curious about the poles. It’s an incredibly inclusive group and no one ever walks alone. Regardless of fitness level, interest level, health concerns or mobility restrictions there is a walk for everyone who comes.

As you step into 2020 join me in making it a habit to get outdoors to walk everyday! If the weather keeps you inside, and I do realize that happens, find a place that is warm and safe from the snow and ice to do your walk.
Be intentional about your walk, be good to yourself!

Happy New Year!

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Newest Nordic Walking Class and a Video!

On May 9 we applauded 12 new Nordic Walking Instructors for completing the Group Walk Leader Training. We had Instructors from Stillwater, Maple Grove, Becker, Foley, St Michael, Coon Rapids, Clear Lake, Minneapolis and Plymouth MN. They represented programs at Senior Facilities, Community Ed, Churches and Private programs. Thank you to Maple Grove Community Center for hosting and the group leaders from their programs for organizing the dates and space for the training.

It was a windy afternoon but I’m proud to report that they all did well and are excited to be out turning ordinary walks to extraordinary Nordic walks all over Minnesota.

And a big thank you to CCX Media for coming to tell the story. You can view Meredith Hackler’s excellent reporting on you tube.

New Nordic Walking Instructors May 9,2019
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Nordic Walking Poles For More Than Just Walking!

My friend Dan had a hip replacement a year ago. Early in the summer he ran in the Jail Break Trail 10K with his LEKI Nordic Walking Poles. Dan shared his experience with me
“Today I used my Nordic Walking Poles to help me finish the Jail Break Trail 10k. 1:38 finish 15:45 ave pace.
I’m less then 4 months on a new hip and these really help.
I’m grateful..🙏
“A number of people were kidding me about the poles and asking questions but I couldn’t hear em after I passed em.”

Nordic Walking poles can serve as your “walk assist” post knee and hip surgery. Using two poles in place of a cane or walker puts you in an upright balanced posture, supports you equally on both sides and encourages a natural stride during recovery.  Be sure to check with your physician and physical therapist for when it would be ok for you to transition to poles from other support options.

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Spring Nordic Walking Classes 2019

Let the season begin!

I’m back in MN and watching the ice melt on the lake. Well not really, it’s not been sunny or warm enough for it to do much melting but I’m being positive about having open water and clear trails for the early spring walking on my calendar.

I’m excited about all the opportunities for classes and community walks. There are day time and evening classes and walks, Walk Leader Training (May 9, 1-4pm), Parkinson’s Support Group Walks, walks in the parks and on the trails, and more being added everyday. Something for everyone just like Nordic Walking is for everyone!

Please message me with any questions about the calendar. Remember that all community walks are free and poles will be available for use during the walks. I will also have poles for sale at the walks so if you want to go home with a pair of your own I can make that happen for you!

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CharityMiles makes your miles count!

There are lots of ways to track your miles of walking. Some just give you distance but others will include time, pace, heart rate and more. We love our tracking devices. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if all those miles tracked would count towards a donation for a charity of your choice? Well, Merry Christmas because thanks to Gene Gurkoff there is an incredible app for that.

Gene is the creator of CharityMiles and you can read more about him and his inspiring story in this article from Parkinson’s Life. There are many amazing sponsors for the miles and to date the participants have raised over $2.5 million for charity.

The app is free and it will track indoor and outdoor walking and biking.# I’ve even used it to track my kayak paddles on the lake and my cross country ski outings. This year I used it to track all my dedicated walking, hiking and other self propelled miles to a total of 1,044 miles in 2018 and I still have 4 days to go! Every mile I walk is a dedicated donation for the Michael J Fox Parkinson’s Foundation but you can choose a charity close to your own heart to benefit from your miles.

Walking makes a difference in your life and now you can make a difference in so many others with every step you take. Download CharityMiles today!

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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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