My route to Nordic walking followed a routine appointment post hip replacement, during which the consultant Mr Mike Kelly noticed my posture, walking and balance was very poor.
He strongly advised that if I wanted to get back to a normal life, I needed to regain my strength by walking daily using Nordic poles. He gave me details of a company in Clifton who trained people in the use of Nordic pole walking.
I had been in a very low place for the last three years, with very limited mobility and had thought that the hip replacement would solve everything; so was disappointed to find I still had considerable pain and movement restriction .
Therefore I was keen to try his suggestion, so contacted the Clifton group , but found the prices prohibitive – £30 for an introductory session and around £40 for subsequent one to ones.
I then had to attend East Trees surgery for a routine blood test and whilst in the waiting room, I idly watched the screen – and was amazed to see Nordic walking mentioned as a health improvement tool. I rang the number shown and my wonderful journey with Subitha and her team began; the best part for me was that the course was in my area and was free.
I attended the first meeting with my daughter Anna and we all met in the health centre car park. It was when Subitha mentioned us all walking to the local park (a 5 min walk) that I had forebodings and soon realised that I was unable to walk even that distance. Luckily for us there was another Nordic walking instructor with Subitha and she was able to look after us and do some gentle exercises before walking with us back to our initial meeting place.
I felt despondent at this stage as I realised I wasn’t even able to participate in a learning programme because of my mobility limitations.
Subitha then rang me and asked if I would like a few private sessions from her in my local park. I was SO happy that she suggested this, as I’d already mentally prepared myself that my previous life of staying in the house sitting on my sofa was all I could cope with …….. getting more immobile and depressed.
My story from then has been one of pleasure for me as I’m once more feeling in tune with my body, instead of it being my painful enemy.
Subitha met me in the park for an hour a time for 3 weeks, giving me support and tuition with Nordic pole walking, stretching and breathing exercises; allowing me to learn at a pace suitable for me to feel encouraged to do more.
The feeling I had from this was like a massive endorphin surge , allowing me to once more feel good and happy that I could walk a few steps without too much pain or breathlessness.
Subitha let me borrow Nordic poles for those three weeks and the private sessions with her were only £10 for an hour of full on one to one teaching and support. It then meant that I needed to buy poles in order to continue with the walking , so I asked for advice on which ones to get and I was asked to meet Vicky in the park .
Imagine my surprise when Vicky offered me some poles which had been donated to the group by Pat, a lady who had done the pilgrimage walk in Spain with the very poles I was being given!
The kindness I’ve been shown by both Vicky and Subitha has been wonderful – especially as I wouldn’t be someone who would attract others to the group as I’m 73, very overweight and have difficulty walking more than 100 yards without a stick.
Vicky stipulated that the one condition to my having ‘Pats poles’ was that I would go on daily walks around the park. This I have done and have been amazed at how quickly my walking has improved and how enjoyable I’m finding the daily walks.
Initially I felt embarrassed to be walking with the poles but that went when I stopped caring about how I looked to others as opposed to how well I was feeling because of the walking.
I feel SO much better in so many ways- emotionally and physically and this has given me a new lease of life.
I can now envisage a future of feeling healthy , pain free and happy – due to the consultants suggestion and the ensuing support and encouragement from Subitha, Vicky and Pat.
My three words from the above story are:
Economical ,Welcoming, Life changing.