‘Walk­ing re­stored my sense of joy’

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Real Life -

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,


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