Nordic at 90

Nordic Walking
“At first, the women were skeptical – and frankly, so was I – but the results speak for themselves!” – Ruth Carmeli, director of Ezer Mizion’s walking program.
As always, Ezer Mizion is on the forefront of new ideas to better the quality of life for the elderly. Programs range from hydrotherapy swimming sessions under the guidance of professional therapists to gardening, thereby increasing the golden-ager’s sense of accomplishment and social sharing. One division provides professionally trained mentors for holocaust survivors. Another offers home repair assistance, everything from changing a light bulb to repairing a leaky roof. Yet a third, entitled Generation to Generation, nurtures relationships and fosters understanding between young people and the elderly, while alleviating the isolation and loneliness experienced by many seniors.
Walking has been found to not only provide much needed exercise but promote emotional well-being and create social relationships. Ezer Mizion’s Golden Age Walking Groups have been meeting regularly for an hour of healthy movement and good company. The energizing walk on park paths surrounded by the beauty of nature is a sure formula for rejuvenation and fitness.
Recently, the walking program integrated a new technique called “Nordic Walking,” a sport resembling cross-country skiing, which involves walking with the help of two poles that facilitate movement of the upper torso. The technique has a dual purpose: improving posture and balance – especially helpful for the elderly and for people who are recovering from leg injury, and muscle strengthening – appropriate for young, healthy people as well.
After just a month of Nordic walking, the women are sold on it:
 A 90-year-old woman, whose back was stooped to one side as a result of years walking with a cane, has noticeably straightened up, enhancing her physical and emotional well-being!
 One woman, a mother of young children, who comes to accompany her elderly mother on the walks, insists on being assigned her own pair of Nordic poles – “It has done wonders for my back!”
The program’s success has encouraged the director to incorporate the technique in additional groups. The attendees are proud to have been the first group to master Nordic walking and look forward the next creative activity to be introduced by Ezer Mizion staff as they research safety and effectiveness of varied programs designed to enhance the daily living of the elderly.
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