One of the (many) joys of Nordic walking is the strength and stamina it builds, enabling us to feel fitter, more resilient and happier in ourselves. All of us are on our own journeys, with different goals, but collectively we share a love of being outdoors, exploring new paths and the camaraderie of a social group to encourage us too.
Some of you however have unique stories; choosing to take up Nordic walking to help with rehabilitation after illness or to fight chronic fatigue. When regular walker Sarah told me about her reasons for taking up Nordic walking, and the positive effects it has had on her post cancer recovery, I asked her if she would like to share her story as a testimonial to the power of the poles. Below, in her words, is her story.
SARAH’S NORDIC JOURNEY OF RECOVERY
“Post Cancer ……. Start Nordic Walking!
3 years ago I underwent invasive treatment for breast cancer which left me fatigued, tired and suffering from aching joints long after the treatment had finished.
The NHS stance on post cancer treatment is a good diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise.
18 months post treatment I was still feeling tired with persistent aching joints, so when I saw Rebecca’s advert for a Nordic Walking Taster Session I went along. Not being one for the gym or swimming pool this was the ideal exercise. After I gained my NWUK Passport I signed up for my first walk at the beautiful site of Caistor St Edmunds. 3.5 miles later I was exhausted but thoroughly enjoyed myself, so much so 6 months later, a lot of training, wonderful walks and a huge amount of encouragement from Rebecca and the rest of the team I participated and completed the half marathon on the North Norfolk coast.
As part of my treatment I had my lymph nodes removed from under my arm and after a bout of cellulitis I suffered from mild lymphedema (which left untreated is irreversible). Nordic Walking is encouraged by lymphedema therapists and the Big C and in the year that I have been walking my lymph fluid retention has dropped from 21% to 7.5%.
Now I regularly walk 3 times a week, I’m fitter than I have been in a long while, I can walk up a hill & talk at the same time without getting out of breath! I’ve seen parts of the Norfolk countryside I’ve never seen before and have met a wonderful group of walkers. Whatever the weather we laugh, we chat we have fun!
If there is anyone in the same or similar situation I would say – “don’t think about it – do it!” Rebecca will take you through the training and recommend the right walks for your ability encouraging you with a huge amount of enthusiasm along the way!”
Huge thanks to Sarah for sharing her journey. Hopefully her testimonial might strike a cord with anyone who may be in a similar situation but unsure of where to turn. It’s always empowering to know collectively we are more than just walkers who belong to an outdoor fitness club. We are also a supportive community of lively, spirited souls who enjoy fun, banter and a good laugh too – the best therapy of all!