Nordic walker stories cont..
This week we’ve more tales from our wonderful Nordic walking community who kindly agreed to give us an insight into their lives over the last couple of years. How did they cope with lockdown, what did they do for exercise and how are they feeling now?
“I have missed a lot of Nordic Walking since July 2019 as my lymphoma relapsed necessitating more chemotherapy and spinal surgery. Happy to report I was once again in remission on 19th March 2020 swiftly followed by a certain lockdown with me having to shield due to very low immunity….(Remission celebrated with a group of Bath walkers jumping up and down with poles aloft outside my window when they heard!!)
During chemo, I Nordic walked whenever I had the energy and was not in my ‘run over by a bus’ stage 🤪 – always with friendly encouragement and laughs with the group. After the spinal surgery it took a little longer to be back out there but the day I once again managed to climb our little hill on the golf course brought great excitement!
I missed my regular Nordic walking very much during shielding but once able to walk with one other person the good friends I have made through the group came to the rescue and it was wonderful to be out with poles once more! Return to group walks followed and I am so happy I joined Bristol (Bath) Nordic Walking in 2017 – great group of people and fabulous exercise.”
“I’ve been Nordic Walking since 2014 and absolutely love it. It’s helped me realise my dream of walking in the Himalayas (managed to sneak that one in in November 2019 just before everything went pear-shaped) and it’s gotten me in a routine of walking that definitely helped me through the lockdowns.
Through lockdown I went on some stunning walks just from home including Blaise Estate, Shirehampton and Henbury Golf Courses and the nature reserve in Bishop Knoll, complete with wicker whales. Even though I had already walked loads because of a challenge I did in 2017 (when I walked 2017 miles – too much for one year, but I did it!) I discovered new routes and some stunning views along the way. I am sure that without the walking I would have gone stir crazy – it really was a lifeline during those sunny (and dark) days of lockdown and I went out pretty much every day.
As soon as it was possible, I was back at Nordic Walking though. I love the social aspect as much as the exercise part, and it is lovely to catch up with everyone again. My favourite walk remains Blaise and I enjoy walking with Rachael and Marcus. There are so many different routes you can take there, and with the change in seasons, it never gets boring.”
Having initially tried Nordic Walking my partner Mark and I quickly decided it was the natural exercise regime for us in addition to our regular walking and cycling. All the benefits of a gym workout in the great outdoors chatting with new friends
COVID never stopped our exercise activities and actually increased in new directions with regular attendance at the online exercise sessions which we found very beneficial and continue to do so. Strength, flexibility, balance and muscle development all improved now complementing return to our regular Friday Oldbury Court group.
The social content of Fridays with Clair and the gang was one of the things we missed most during the lockdowns. There was other regular virtual socialising catching up with distant friends, video drinks, and hosting a Zoom birthday party. Mark worked at home continuously occasionally becoming zoned out with video calls and meetings. But we remained positive, maintained routine, went out every day, and each weekend planned a permitted outside activity treat such as a bike ride, Nordic or new route walk.
It felt good as restrictions were gradually lifted and some normality returned allowing more activities whilst remaining cautious of the still present and serious virus. We have taken several UK holidays with more planned through next year and look forward to feeling confident enough boarding a plane for distant shores and a relaxing trip exploring places that remain temporarily paused on the must-visit list.
“In lockdown I was lucky enough to spend it with my husband, two young adult children and to be able to work from home. Having other people in the house and being a relatively self-contained person anyway meant I didn’t find lockdown too difficult. The hardest thing I found in the early days was not being able to travel more than a few miles from home. I do like to get out & about! I walked a lot because there wasn’t much else to do to be honest .
The free online fitness sessions that the club offered were a godsend too. Once we were able to meet up with other people I started Nordic Walking again with my friend Liz Crowther, another long time member of the club. She was the person responsible for me joining back in 2017. It’s been nice to be able to get back to doing walks with the club again. I know I don’t push myself as much when I Nordic Walk without an instructor & it’s been nice to see new faces on the walks.”
“During the first lockdown I had a lovely time. Timetable cleared, no emails asking me to do things, not yet figured out Zoom and our daughter doing our food shopping for us (me and my husband). The weather was great, the sun was shining and the birds were singing.
Each day I Nordic walked in our garden, which is on the side of a hill in Blaise Woods, 10 times in one direction and then 10 times in the other. I also had time to sit and read books that I’d been waiting to find time for. Bliss. Then things opened up a bit and we were able to meet people outside. Lovely.
But the lockdown in 2021 was very different. Dark, wet, miserable weather. Zoom meetings and emails meant I spent a lot of time in front of my computer. Between the horrible weather and Zoom meetings I didn’t get out much. When the weather did clear and I went onto the Downs to walk, there were so many people there it wasn’t pleasant. So, to make myself feel better I baked – cakes and cookies – and ate them while in front of the TV. Not great! I put on weight and felt stressed and miserable.
But once things opened up again and Nordic Walking started again things improved drastically! I started BNW three times a week to try and get some fitness back. And I loved being out in the open air, seeing real people again and chatting with them while we walked and afterwards at the Downs café. I am now back to Nordic Walking twice a week as before and look forward to each session enormously!”
Big thanks to everyone who sent in their stories and allowed us to glimpse into their lives. It’s surely upwards and onwards from now on 😃.
The Bristol & Bath Nordic Walking Team
You can find our favourite Nordic walking poles here and if you’re looking for our advice on good kit here’s our recommendations: