Nordic walking

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007 at the age of 42. Now, I want to share how Nordic walking has helped me get stronger and have more flexibility.

Sportline XC550 Total fitness walking poles

During my last years in the army, around 2014, I picked up a set of walking poles to add Nordic walking to my workout routine in preparation for the annual army physical fitness test (APFT). I stumbled over these Sportline XC550 Total fitness walking poles at a garage sale. I thought these poles might help me increase my fitness level. Since the price was only $2 I thought I‘d give them a try; what did I have to lose?

As it would turn out I tried to use the walking poles just once and got so frustrated with them I put them away. I had too much difficulty trying to maintain my coordination. They didn’t feel right, and I didn’t think I was getting any benefit from them.

Since my retirement from the army, my wife and I began to travel and we realized how much we enjoyed hiking on our holiday trips. During one trip to Sedona, Arizona, I injured my knee while hiking. That injury made it impossible for me to hike anymore. So I saw a physical therapist and she gave me some stretching and strengthening exercises to do for rehabilitation. However, because I didn’t like doing the stretches and exercises she prescribed me I knew needed an alternative.

Fast forward to summer 2020, the year of the COVID-19. I stumbled across my old walking poles again. Since my regular walking routine was growing stale and I still had the soreness in my knee I decided to pull out the walking sticks again and give them another try. I thought they might spice up my walking program and take some pressure off my aching knee.

At the same time, I began to do research on YouTube for videos on pole walking and stumbled across Exerstrider by Tom Rutlin. I didn’t purchase any of the Exerstrider equipment, but I did look at Tom’s instructional videos and found them extremely helpful in teaching me the proper techniques to Nordic walk or pole walk.

Not only did Exerstrider teach me to Nordic walk properly it also taught me stretching techniques using the walking poles.  This was a game changer for me. Stretching with the walking poles has helped me more than the exercises prescribed to me from the physical therapist or anything else I’ve tried. I now feel more limber, have freedom of movement, and reduced ache from the muscle tension and rigidity associated with Parkinson’s. What’s more is since I started Nordic walking I have more strength and energy than I did before. I have also lost 10 pounds and do now 25 push-ups daily.

I’ve attached the links to the Exerstrider videos that have helped me so much. I hope they help you as much as they did me.  Thanks Tom!


Exerstrider videos

Exerstrider Instructional DVD – Exerstrider Method

In the Nordic walking technique video you will learn about: Preparing the equipment, Installing the Optional bell-shaped tips, Setting up the OS2 poles, Stowing the OS2 poles, Installing the large snow baskets on the OS2 poles, Installing the small baskets on the OS2 poles, The new ERGO/SC strapless comfort grip, How Exerstriding works, The handshake & the pump handle, Exerstriding is as simple as walking, Learning the techniques: The transition method, Proper arm motion

Practice makes perfect: Some fine points of technique

Controlling the tip, FAQ, How do I maximize weight loss?, Where can I use Exerstrider? How fast should I Exerstride?

More Exerstrider Videos:

Pole assisted bends and squats, Range of motion exercises, Warm-up and stretches, Hand dexterity exercises

Fitness walking instruction

Stability for Mobility Instruction

Introduction to Exerstriding Equipment

Raising your heart rate

Enough is enough


Here are some inspirational thoughts from Kumite Quest – a warrior with Parkinson’s disease.

Five steps forward and two steps back is still three steps forward.  We are at war with an enemy that shadows our existence, knows how to physically and mentally assault us!!  We are strong however and we will endure and find beauty and joy in the day to day nuisances of our existence, we will not go into the shadows willingly.  We are the first wave of resistance against this global Pan Continental Epidemic called Parkinson’s’ Disease.

We are called to arms in this battle against a disease that is growing faster than humanity care to acknowledge and recognize. This is an enemy that lays dormant in us slowly creeping its way to the surface to be diagnosed and seen for the threat that it is to our global communities years after. It assault on us is individually tailored and crippling.

Enough is enough! Let us pick up the shield and sword that Michael J. Fox has so valiantly wielded against Parkinson’s and our societies ignorance, denial, or fear to address publicly.

Excuse my ranting and raving, I no longer apologize for miss spelled words because the tremors that over take my hands and makes hitting the correct keys almost impossible seizes my body that was once a fine tuned physical instrument impossible to control.


Sentiments on Intrepidness


Intrepidness – is a powerful word. People who overcome adversity are intrepid.   Intrepidness means resolutely fearless or undaunted. Synonyms for intrepidness are brave, courageous, or bold. To fully understand intrepidness, however, one must understand it’s polar opposite – trepidation. Trepidation is fear, alarm, turmoil, and anxiousness.

Fear can be a difficult topic to talk about. Fear is a barrier that holds us back from getting and becoming all that we desire. What is fear? It is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, whether the threat is real or imagined. Fear is crippling because it has to do with darkness and ignorance. At the root of fear is a lack of understanding.

Fear is the most insidious adversity we can face. Fear is the enemy within us that causes doubt and insecurity. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed, “The only thing we have to fear is, fear itself.” Fear ultimately makes us weak and helpless.

Fear is a powerful, primal emotion. Everyone is afraid at some level and must either confront their fear or let it control them. To overcome fear everyone must pass through its darkness to get to the light. I have experienced my share of fear as I deal with the affects Parkinson’s Disease has had on my life. I have had to learn that I cannot just cope with my disease, or just survive, but I must overcome it. To do that I need to understand fear and make a resolute decision to be an overcomer.

I have learned that adversity and fear are internal, I allow them inside my mind. If I am distressed by anything, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but my perception of the thing; and I have the power to change that perception at any moment. Fear is a way of thinking – I must chose to a higher way of thinking to overcome fear. According to Mark Twain, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not the absence of fear.”

I sometimes become fearful and insecure when I’m out in public.   I feel that people are staring at me because of my dyskinesia caused by Parkinson’s. Dyskinesia like moving uncontrollably or becoming stiff and immobile. My fear is amplified when my medicine is not working well. These fearful thoughts only make my condition worse.

I also fear emotional suffering. I know there is no way I can avoid suffering. Everyone suffers to some degree or another. The negative thoughts that creep into my head are a mindset that leads to fear. When I’m angry, I’m afraid. When I’m frustrated, I’m afraid. When I feel like I’m losing control of my life, I’m afraid.   I have learned fear does not come from the Source of all life, the Source produces only love. Love is the most powerful ultimate force in the universe. Just as light drives out darkness, so love drives out fear.

So, what is my solution to overcoming fear? Marcus Aurelius said, “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” I must change my thought process. I must decide to take action and take my fears to the Source of all that is true. I need to remind myself of the truth – that I have a spark of the divinity living in me. The Creator of the Universe has given me the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. Romans 8:11 states, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Thus, I have a choice in the matter – I have a decision to make. I can decide not to be fearful, but to focus my mind on the truth and thoughts that inform me I am an overcomer.

I have realized the Universe has an objective for me – to grow and improve myself. I must be still and allow the Source of all light and goodness to work and move through me. By doing so, I can help other people and have a positive impact on my part of the world. This gives my life meaning, direction, and a purpose.

I also realized I need to be open with my fears. Openness shines light into the darkness. I can learn to overcome my fears by seeking light. Talking about my fears helps to change my perspective on my thoughts and feelings. Just as I need to show my wounds to a doctor to be healed, I must reveal my fears to be healed. Dale Carnegie said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy”.

A Japanese proverb says, “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” Thus, intrepidness and fear are at war in my mind – the battle is in my head. My thoughts are my life. The miracle is changing my perspective of the events in my life. I take fear captive by reminding myself of the truth. The truth is God can help me overcome my fears and I don’t have to be controlled by them. The truth is that only love overcomes fear. I must chose to focus my thoughts on the Source of all goodness, in whom there is only love and light, then fear and darkness will vanish, and I can overcome any adversity.