Age Cymru arranged for Sarah Stone - Deputy Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, to experience one of Europe’s fastest growing ways to exercise yesterday by taking part in a Nordic Walking taster session.
Sarah joined John Jones, a 66-year-old Nordic Walking instructor and former miner, who organises an Age Cymru Nordic Walking group in Carmarthen.
Says John, who is now retired due to ill-health:
“I’m delighted that Sarah joined our group to experience Nordic Walking and I’m sure she’ll be singing its praises to all the older people that she and the Commissioner’s office come into contact with in the future.
“I can honestly say that Nordic Walking has changed my life because over the years I’ve had my share of health problems including type 2 diabetes, skin cancer and industrial asthma.
“I got involved in Nordic Walking when I saw a notice in the local paper advertising for volunteer Nordic Walking instructors, so I applied for one of the positions and haven’t looked back since.
“Once I gained all the qualifications and undertook the training, I set up a group in Carmarthen and I’ve now trained hundreds of older people and I really believe that I have changed their lives.
“They can see that if I can do it with all my health problems, they can do it too – in fact Nordic Walking has improved many of my ailments.
“My breathing is improved, my joints feel stronger and my loneliness, depression and self pity have gone away and have been replaced with confidence and a real sense of purpose.
“I now really understand that adding life to years really does mean adding years to life and I’ve Age Cymru to thank for giving me the opportunity to change my life and others too.”
Says Sarah Stone:
“I really enjoyed giving Nordic Walking a try and meeting the walkers in Carmarthen.
“Groups like this are so important, not only because they encourage people to stay active, but also because of the opportunities they provide to socialise, helping to prevent loneliness and isolation and promoting a sense of wellbeing.
“We are so lucky in Wales - not only do we have such wonderful outdoor spaces, which are ideal for keeping fit and healthy through activities like Nordic Walking, but we also have so many great older volunteers like John Jones, who are the backbone of our communities and do so much for so many.”