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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Updated MN Winter Indoor Walking Spaces

If the arctic deep freeze outside is making walking difficult or maybe even impossible to do here’s some ideas of indoor walking spaces in and around the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  If you live in another cold area you might look at similar locations in your community.  Be aware that many surfaces at malls and indoor walking tracks are not pole friendly.  Always check with the facility before you bring your poles.  But even if you have to do a vanilla walk it’s better than no walk at all!

Mall of America, Bloomington
60 E Broadway
Walking maps available or join the Mall Star Walking group

Shopping Malls                                                                                                         Most of the indoor shopping malls are open early for walking.  Check for the schedule and which doors are open.  Plan to leave your valuables at home and run in fast without your coat.   Burnsville, Eden Prairie, HarMar, Knollwood, Ridgedale, Rosedale and Northtown to name a few.

Minneapolis Skyways                                                                                         Get up and enjoy the view from the skyway system. Make it an adventure and be aware that some of them are not open past business hours.

Eagan Community Center                                                                                        If you’re a member the indoor track is free, otherwise there it is $3

Maple Grove Sports Dome
9880 Fernbrook Lane North.
Free. Check their schedule for available times

New Brighton Community Center
400 10th Street NW
M-F 6 am – 10 pm; Sat 8 am – 10 pm; Sun 8 am – 6 pm
Cost: $3 per time, drop in, walking only, pass cards available

Plymouth Creek Center Fieldhouse                                                             14800 34th Ave N. for the schedule
Free walking there during the winter months, check schedule

The Oval, Roseville                                                                                                2661 Civic Center Dr                                                                                               Free, Check their online calendar, and call before going in case of last-minute changes. Be aware, the space is cold because it’s up behind the ice rink.

West St. Paul Sports Dome
1655 Livingston Ave
Open for walking Monday-Friday,  free
Hours are generally 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM

More indoor walking from the Twin Cities Moms Website

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A Resolution You Can Stick With…

Make 2017 the year that you stick with your resolution! Pick up 2 special sticks and become a Nordic Walker, improving your overall health and well being as you make walking fun again! It’s easy to get started, really all you need is Nordic Walking poles, good walking shoes and an attitude. The poles and shoes are the equipment, the attitude will help you get past the feeling that everyone is watching you and wondering just what the heck you are doing with those poles.

But never mind those who don’t understand the power of the poles. Simply smile when they ask if you forgot your skis or if there’s snow in the forecast. Tell them it’s Nordic walking and let them do some searching. Sometimes self discovery is the best way.

Be sure to check for classes and groups in your area. My spring classes have been confirmed and I’m working on updating my calendar. If you have questions about poles or those first steps let me know! I love to talk sticks.

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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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