‘Walking restored my sense of joy’
I’ve always been an outgoing person, and was enjoying my job as a probation officer – I liked helping people and making a difference.
But everything changed when I was attacked by an inmate. Although I felt fine initially, I developed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 2005, and became housebound with anxiety, unable to return to work.
Although I received therapy, which eventually helped me to manage my symptoms, I knew I also had to do something to help myself. So, in 2012, when I saw an advert for Nordic Walking UK, I booked myself a place.
Nordic walking is a coordinated exercise where you walk with the aid of special poles. Because it uses a specific technique, it engages your mind as well as your body, making it extremely calming.
I found it difficult at first, but, after three lessons,
I’d mastered the technique and bought my own sticks.
Now I walk and talk with a group of 10 people on a regular basis – something that would’ve felt impossible in the past. I’ve also got an allotment, and I attend a writing group at my local library. Not only am I no longer housebound, I’m also fitter and happier!
For me, walking has been a journey – both physical and emotional – on which I’ve discovered some of my former sense of joy.
Nordic walking has
proved beneficial all round
Thelma Smith, 57,