The four of us - all over 60 years of age - headed off to an urban park in downtown Calgary to test out my new poles with a little coaching from the expert - my sister. We headed off along the river, left pole/right foot, right pole/left foot - off I strode trying to find my rythmn. With a few laughs and jerky moves I figured out it worked much better when I stopped thinking about it. We strolled along, deep in conversation, enjoying the Canada Geese and their 30+ gozzlings floating along beside us. We stopped at the fork, waiting for the guys to re-surface from their many forays through the brush for closer looks at the wild life. I was talking about how we should have planned for some more time and we might be able to walk all of the way to the new Peace Bridge connecting the island park to Memorial Drive when I looked up and to my amazement we had covered a lot more ground than expected and the bridge was right there - red, candy-striped conversation-starter for many disgruntled Calgaryians! I was shocked that I had walked this far with no knee pain. In fact, the only small discomfort was a bit of sorness in my arm muscles from moving the poles back and forth.
If you have been following my blog, you will know this is a huge milestone for me along my journey to good health. I discovered I could walk for two hours without pain as long as I planted one pole solidly in front of me with each step. I even worked up a bit of a sweat - surely that was the evidence of fat burning somewhere inside my belly!
On this evidence alone, I will give my full recommendation to any and all, who, for various physcial limitations in their lower extremities, can no longer walk where they want to walk for the length of time they wish. Although I could enjoy watching the trees and flowers and ducks and geese and even the people busily biking, skating or running along these pathways from the basic comfort of a park bench, I cannot tell you the glow of excitement I experienced when I discovered that I don't have to accept this stationary outlook on the world moving by. It is a small thing when you have never had it taken away from you but looms much larger when you have had even a short-lived moment in time when you weren't sure you would ever be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of a walk in the park.
So, as the rain, and even the threat of snow, reminded me that spring/summer in Alberta has many faces, I am now planning my next foray - perhaps further afield in our beautiful Rocky Mountains. Of course, it will have to be on flat terrain without too many streams to ford!