Nordic Walking, a salvation

Not only my body but also my relation benefited from this sport

nordic walkingI have never been much of a sports type. But now, reaching 60, I am very aware of the importance of moving my body.

To be less stiff in the morning, to keep my weight as it should be and to relax at the same time, I am ever so grateful that I discovered a way of exercising that I like. Nordic walking is great.

Of course I am also blessed to live in an area with lots of forests and heath. And that I am occasionally able to travel abroad with marvelous nature to explore, like the National Parks in the States or the beautiful areas of Spain.

Not every school memory is a fine one

I was never chosen for a team

visiting national parks in the statesSequoia National Park, California, USA

At school one of the subjects was called Physical Education, aka gym. I hated it. I wasn’t very good, so I fell a lot and the teacher would always smirk at me: “That tickles a little bit, doesn’t it?” Grrr, I hated him too.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I always ended up with a five, on a list with mainly sevens and eights for the other subjects. So as you can imagine I dropped every exercise as soon as I was out of school.

And then, during a great holiday in California, I discovered hiking in the National Parks. Big turning point! I was in my mid thirties by then, so I guess it was just in time.

Before 40 your body takes care of you.
After 40 you need to take care of your body.

graded activityMy shoes are black
Although not always practical, it’s for a reason

I sprain my ankle often. That’s the reason I chose black hiking shoes. Whenever I can’t wear my normal shoes these black shoes are not standing out too much.
And yes, they get very dusty when I walk on the heath with dry weather. But I take that for granted.

How you both can have fun

Looking for a way to practice together

heath in the neighborhood
Five miles from home there is this beautiful heath with pools

For years my way of exercising was hiking. There was only one problem with that: my husband walks faster than me.
Either he would walk in his own pace and go back and forth to catch up with me. Or he would slow down to my pace, but that way it wasn’t any kind of an exercise for him.

Nordic Walking changed that. I walk with the poles, he doesn’t. For us it was a great solution. I now walk faster and don’t have to feel guilty anymore about slowing him down.

in the forest
The side of my husband I saw the most when we were just hiking 🙂

At my physiotherapist’s wall
“People who think they don’t have the time to exercise
must sooner or later make time to be ill”
(The Conduct Of Life, Edward Stanley, 1826-1893)

nordic walking in the sun
Nordic walking in the sun. Even when it’s freezing, it’s great

Different kind of poles

I am not an expert

Of course I took some lessons, but that doesn’t make me an expert at all. What I share with you here is solely my own experience.

In Holland – where I live – I use Nordic Walking as a way of exercise. When I started I used the heartbeat meter to improve myself. I am not that fanatic anymore, although I suspect I walk faster than I did in the beginning.
Because our country is flat and there are some really great hiking paths in my neighborhood I have poles with Velcro that are very easy to adjust.

When using Nordic Walking as an exercise it’s not only the legs that count. You have to use your arms and hands in a specific way too. With my Velcro handles that is a piece of cake.

nordic walking in the mountains
Hiking in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA. After hiking for three hours I was really glad I had my poles with me!

It’s different in the mountains

There I use the poles just to support me

I would not dare to use my ‘normal’ poles in the mountains out of fear for falling and breaking my wrists. So when we travel I have adjustable poles with a different handle. I can’t flex and relax my hands by way of exercising, but I am really happy that I can keep up with my husbands pace because of the poles.

I always take care that I hold the poles in a way that once I let go of them they’re off me. I know I have the risk of losing them all together, but I’d rather see a pole vanish in the valley than breaking anything.

I chose adjustable poles for two reasons: they’re easy to take along in the plane and the handles are loose straps.

nordic walking poles
The strap is like a glove. I can pull the tab on top to separate the glove from the pole. (Useful for example if I need to blow my nose.)

handle for nordic walking pole
I wouldn’t dare to walk in the mountains with a glovelike strap around my hand. This one goes right out of my hand as soon as I let it go.

Encounter in the forest, Sequoia National Park. We won’t see this at home.

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