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Success Stories

Don't just take our word for it! Two people who live in South Derbyshire give their accounts of how getting more physically active and becoming Nordic Walking walk leaders has influenced their lives.

Nordic Walking

"After being diagnosed with multiple chronic physical and mental illnesses, and sadly exhausting the NHS treatments available to manage these conditions, I started to explore more natural means for improving my overall wellbeing. While running was too harsh on my joints and tai chi too slow for my fast racing mind, I read about Nordic Walking and decided to see whether that would be the middle ground in physical activity I was looking for. Luckily, Rosliston Forestry Centre ran Nordic Walking groups in my area and so I went to my first group.

I’ve found with Nordic Walking that it gives me time and space to meet other people, have coffee with them after the walk and feel less isolated, which my conditions had led me to experience. Many times us walkers have said that we don’t necessarily know each other’s names, but we know that we can talk about anything that’s troubling us and we can offer support during the walks. Within a few months of Nordic Walking with Rosliston Forestry Centre, I found that I’d lost weight and my posture had improved significantly which has helped with the management of my chronic illnesses; I am in less pain physically and mentally. On top of that, the Forestry Centre is a beautiful outdoor space where you can watch the changing seasons as well as the wildlife.

Being outdoors and taking part in a gentle physical activity such as Nordic Walking with like minded people has had a huge positive impact on my overall physical and mental wellbeing, reducing my reliance on precious NHS resources.

After talking with many other walkers who have also discussed their own health improvements after starting to Nordic Walk on a regular basis, being offered the opportunity to become a Nordic Walking Instructor for Rosliston Forestry Centre I saw the potential in helping support other people feel the benefits which I have felt myself. While the training was intense, especially while managing chronic illnesses, it was definitely worth taking part. I have had the honour of supporting people learn a new skill and meet new people, as well as talk with them about how their health conditions have either improved or slowed down the advancement of serious illnesses. More importantly, I’ve been able to learn the names of people that I have been walking and talking with for many months."

Volunteering to be a Walk Leader

On 18th January 2018 John started with the Elvaston Castle Nordic Walking group. He continued with the group through the summer and into the autumn. He seemed to enjoy the activity and mentioned that he was looking to take a step back from work and find other things to do. He mentioned an interest in volunteering at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas. It was this combination of wanting to find other things to do with his life and John already showing an interest in volunteering that made him the perfect candidate to train as a Nordic Walking Instructor.

“I was flattered by this enquiry and asked for further details in relation to the course and the role. Upon reviewing the information, I decided that this would a great opportunity to utilise my existing training skills in another area. Also, a way to improve my Nordic Walking technique and increase my fitness levels.” – John

On passing the Instructors course John returned to the group and from day one was asked to assist in delivery. Starting with warm ups and cool downs John was soon leading the group with support from another instructor. Over the next few months John will start to lead the walk when other instructors aren’t available this will continue to grow John’s experience as an instructor and as a leader.

“I am looking forward to this challenge and with the group members being supportive I am seeking to build on our relationship and endeavour to make each session enjoyable for all. I hope to be successful in this new role and will support/assist others to achieve their goals. I intend to develop further by attending other Nordic Walking groups within the organisation to gain experience and learn from others. I am not sure where this newly acquired qualification will take me, but I intend to enjoy the moment and appreciate this great opportunity that has presented itself to me.” – John

When asked about the affect Nordic Walking has had on his health. John said that before he started Nordic Walking he had been swimming and looking resistant based exercises. Since joining the Nordic Walking group and becoming an instructor he has noticed improvements in his posture and uses the warm up exercises in the pool.

John also commented on the way that Nordic walking allows him to “switch off” from the world and “watch the world go by”. It allows him to “clear his mind”, this is great for his mental wellbeing and only adds to the benefits of the sessions.

© 2020 South Derbyshire District Council

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