KAPAA — It took no time for Mary Medeiros, newbie to Nordic Walking, to get her poles situated Tuesday morning at the beginning of an eight-week class with Esti Grinpas.
“I travel a lot. I do cruising and I love it, but this, eight weeks, it’s perfect for something to do while I’m here,” Medeiros said.
Medeiros was one of about 15 people who showed up to the debut class, which was free for seniors age 55 and up and meets every Tuesday at the Kapaa Neighborhood Center.
“This is my first time at a senior center thing,” Medeiros said. “I can’t believe that I’m actually here, but I thought I’d give it a shot.”
Grinpas has been teaching Nordic Walking for eight years and said it’s been great for her dad, who’s been using the walking sticks nonstop since she introduced him to the activity.
In addition to weight loss, Nordic Walking is known to improve the cardiovascular system and be beneficial for metabolism, the lungs, posture, bone density and balance.
“It’s good for the seniors, for balance and flexibility and mobility, but it’s also good because it feels easier than walking but you’re using every muscle in the body,” Grinpas said.
While walkers were cruising around the Kapaa Neighborhood Center with their walking sticks, Rachelle Bachran, public health educator with the state. was picking them off to do some tests.
She ran participants through a variety of activities to determine a starting level of fitness. At the end of eight weeks, Bachran will do the tests again to show the results of the Nordic Walking.
Information on how to prevent and get up from a fall was also available at the first Nordic Walking session.
“We want to keep the healthy people healthy and this is one way to do it,” Bachran said.
After an hour of practice with the walking sticks and completing tests with Bachran, class members left the Kapaa Neighborhood Center and took to the walking path.
“We’ll head north and if you feel like you’re done you can just turn around,” Grinpas said. “Go at your own pace.”
Though clouds hovered on the horizon Tuesday morning, the group didn’t get rained out, but some of them were wishing they’d brought their umbrellas.
“As we go along here, you’ll find you’ll group yourselves into little clusters of people who walk at the same pace,” Grinpas said. “Get to know the people walking with you. You never know, your next walking buddy might be in this group and having a walking buddy is the best way to get yourself out of the house.”
Grinpas’ Nordic Walking class meets every Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. and the group walks the path until around 10 a.m.
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Nordic Walking two-month courses for seniors are being offered in Kapaa, Lihue and Kekaha.
Thursdays, 8:30 to 10 a.m. Kekaha Neighborhood Center.
Tuesdays, 8:30 to 10 a.m., Kapaa Neighborhood Center.
Wednesdays, 4:30 to 6 p.m., Kapaa Neighborhood Center
Fridays, 8:30 to 10 a.m., Lihue Neighborhood Center.
Walkings sticks are provided. No cost for seniors 55 and up. Info: 822-4599 or firstname.lastname@example.org