Nordic walking strides ahead
Residents at a Cambridge retirement home were sent walking recently, Nordic style.
Nordic walking is an exercise that is growing in popularity, particularly among those with arthritis.
Instructor Sandrine Smith gave women at the Ladies Long Lunch at Resthaven a demonstration.
Simply defined, it is walking with poles which gives the user a total body workout.
The poles provide extra stability and help reduce stress in the knees and other joints.
Reports show it helps those with arthritis, back pain, cardiac syndromes, osteoporosis and more.
‘‘The sport started in Europe where people are used to the motion of skiing,’’ said Smith.
She moved to New Zealand from Switzerland in 2007 and decided to become an instructor.
She has been teaching in Hamilton for nine years now.
‘‘It’s very different in New Zealand because people are not used to skiing,’’ she said.
‘‘But there are many benefits of Nordic walking, it gets your heart rate up as much as running does but there isn’t the extra impact of your feet hitting the ground.’’
The exercise also helps with posture, she said, because using the poles opens a user’s solar plexus.
She said it was great for people with sore hips as well because the poles help with balance.
‘‘If you are walking with a cane, that cane supports you only on one side but walking with a pole in each hand gives you support on both sides, and helps propel you forward.’’
She said long hours of sitting and other lifestyle changes have caused some muscles to become tight and weak.
Normal walking uses 70 per cent of muscle mass with full impact on the joints and feet.
Nordic walking uses more than 90 per cent of muscle mass and works against resistance with each stride.
The Ladies Long Lunch is a gathering of Resthaven residents and other women in the community.
It is held once a month, and is a fundraiser for the Resthaven Foundation, with proceeds going towards its van. Every month it has a new guest speaker.
Over the next two-to-five years a number of projects will be completed, such as the village hub, sports fields, skate park and public piazza.
The Tamahere Community Committee will head a new community plan and will consider a raft of questions.
It could include issues around roading, footpaths, community events and youth facilities, reserves and destination playgrounds.
Other issues may cover flooding, clearing pest weeds, improved intersections, improved signage and needs of businesses.
The committee is keen to hear residents’ views via workshops.
People can also email their thoughts and comments to: email@example.com