Christina came to Capital Nordic Walking hoping that Nordic Walking would enable her to remain active and get strong and fit as she dealt with a raft of serious health challenges including complications of breast cancer surgery, hip and knee joint problems and pain, and shoulder rotator cuff injury.
Christina and her sister Sheryl went through breast cancer at virtually the same time. Although they are sisters it is not believed that genetics is the cause but rather something environmental. And although it was difficult for Christina seeing her sister go through something like breast cancer, she said that it was also easier having her go through it at the same time.
Last year they celebrated that we had made it through their first 12 months free of breast cancer. Christina said that having the support of each other and our family and friends helped them get through an incredibly traumatic and emotional time.
Christina's son Jake was Capital Nordic Walker's NW of the Year in 2016. Jake has Asperger’s Syndrome – and whilst that means he clearly has above average intelligence he struggles with a few things like some social interaction and communication, some motor skills and changes in routines. Jake’s also not so keen on big team activities – so Nordic Walking suited him well. I was really touched by Jake’s love and care for his Mum – he was so protective of her.
Jake worked so hard during our lessons it was often hard for Christina and I to keep up with him! And he’d usually end the lesson hot and sweaty and having covered a lot of ground. It was clear that he was putting his new skills into practice in between lessons as he picked up the technique quickly and in no time
Despite many ongoing challenges Christina and Jake have set themselves some training goals that include a “Walk for a Cause’ in 2017. Capital Nordic Walking is joining them and adopting their ‘Walk for a Cause’ for the Canberra Mother’s Day 5km Classic.
Benefits of Nordic Walking for breast cancer recovery:
The treatment for cancer frequently leaves people utterly exhausted with a feeling that their energy is just so low that they lack the strength to exercise. However, exercise is key – both in helping increase energy and also to protect against future cancers.
The beauty of Nordic walking is that the poles act as support and can really help empower you to get out and be active – from the point of diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. An added benefit is that the perceived level of exertion (how hard you feel you are working) is far less than how hard you are actually working - so most people can do a lot more when Nordic Walking without feeling fatigued.
The whole-body nature of Nordic Walking improves circulation and makes it an excellent weight bearing activity for those worried about osteoporosis. Nordic Walking is ideal as it is a low-impact, total-body exercise that tones over 90% of the muscles in the body and provides excellent heart and lung fitness - much greater than regular walking.
Many people with breast cancer have the lymph nodes under the armpit partially or entirely removed during surgery. This has a knock on effect on the lymphatic system and people often end up with lymphedema. The pendulum swing in the Nordic walking technique helps drain the lymph. It also increases the blood flow to the whole shoulder and chest area, helping with healing.