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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
“Making a lifestyle change is your decision. You can choose to look better, feel better, slow the aging process, boost your energy, productivity, memory level, and decrease stress and depression. Or not.” walkstyles.com May 2013
Change, just like attitude, it’s all up to me. Are there things I’d like to change in my life? absolutely. Do I usually lack the motivation to make those changes? probably. Even when I know that even a small change would result in all kinds of goodness it’s very hard to let go of what I’m doing and commit to making that change. I make promises to myself that I don’t keep and find myself back at the beginning of the process on Monday morning.
Sometimes what we really need is a way to just get started. I am reminded of the 5 minute rule whenever I work with new walkers struggling to find the time to commit to their poles. It’s a handy little rule that makes it easy to take the little steps that big changes require.
Give yourself the gift of five minutes to start your walk, not to eat the cookie, call that friend for a date or decompress with some deep breaths. At the end of the five minutes you can either stay the course or stop, your choice. I’ll bet you’ll find that most of the time you will feel so good that you’ll keep going and you’ll be successful.
We can all make healthy lifestyle changes. We can build on each success, choice after choice, until the change has become part of our daily routine and eventually our lifestyle. That’s when it’s fun, when you don’t have to think about it anymore, it’s just part of who you are!
It has come to my attention that Ridgedale Mall has removed the carpet from the upper level of the mall. Unfortunately that means that the rubber tips will no longer work on their floors. Eden Prairie Mall has good surfaces and there are walks there led by Pedal and Roll for Parkinson’s. Find the schedules on their Facebook page.
We all know we should add more steps to our day. The creative solutions include walking not driving when possible, get off the bus a block away from your destination and parking further away from the building. All good and easy things to do.
Now let’s add how you walk. Don’t just walk, step it up to a brisk walk to get your heart rate going even just for a few minutes. Lift your chin and add some energy to your steps and feel the difference it makes for you!
For many people “cold” is a four letter word. They don’t like the cold and spend their winter trying to avoid being out in it. But if your winter is a cold season and you are healthy enough to enjoy it we need to help you change your attitude about cold so that it can be something that challenges you, empowers you and invigorates you during the dark days of winter.
“Cold” will challenge you to do your best. Are you the fair weather type, only go out when it’s nice? That’s the easy time. When the temperature dips and you have to layer up to go outside to play it’s hard find the motivation and will power to make it happen. But you can learn to bundle up and enjoy the cold. Your time outside may be shorter but it will be a healthy experience none the less. Enjoy your sense of achievement for a job well done when you’ve battled the cold and won!
“Cold” empowers us to be creative and try new things.Take your walk off the sidewalks and into the woods for a winter wonderland experience. Try something new – snowshoeing, sledding, cross country skiing, downhill sliding on skis or boards and ice skating are all fun winter activities.
“Cold” is a fat burner. Your body is working hard to stay warm and so you burn more calories playing outside in the cold than you do on a warm sunny day.
Finally, “cold” is invigorating! Winter is mother nature wrapped in the beauty of snow and ice. Breathe the cold air, move in new ways, free yourself to be out in the cold, allow it to embrace you and experience the outdoor world in a new way. When you come back in with rosy cheeks and cold toes you’ll know it was a special time.
Now that we’ve turned the calendar over to 2016 I’m beginning to get spring classes scheduled with local community programs. Check back the first of February for a full calendar starting with some Tastes and Intro classes in April and going throughout the summer.
If you are interested in chatting about private classes or possibly having a class at your company or local program give me a shout! Love to get you on the schedule.