NHS Service introduces Nordic walking to benefit Parkinson’s patients

A Nordic walking programme is being used by Warrington Community Neurosciences team to support patients with Parkinson’s.

Nordic Walking group

The Neurosciences team, based at Orford Jubilee Hub and delivered by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, provides rehabilitation services to empower people with neurological conditions.

As part of their aim to help patients fulfil their maximum potential and improve their quality of life, they have introduced a successful new Nordic Walking programme.

Lucy TillingWarrington Community Neurosciences Physiotherapist Lucy Tilling said:

“Recent research from the University of Tuebingen, Germany has found that Nordic Walking can provide a number of benefits for people with the condition, such as increased mobility, improved balance, general fitness and reduced episodes of freezing.

“We take referrals to the group from a variety of different professionals including physiotherapists and specialist nurses from both the Neurosciences team and neurology hospital, The Walton Centre. Patients undergo a physiotherapy assessment before being placed in one of two walking group levels dependant on their needs and requirements.”

Over eight weekly sessions, Physiotherapist Lucy Tilling and Rehabilitation Assistant Rebecca Bothwell work with the patients on their confidence, balance and mobility.

Nordic walking poles are used to aid alternate arm and leg swinging which improves posture, speed and general fitness. At the end of the programme patients are then reassessed for any improvements.

One of the patients to participate in the programme is Susan Rees aged 63 from Birchwood. She said:

“I really enjoyed the walking and exercises with the rest of the group and also the one-to-one guidance and support of the physiotherapists. It has given me much more confidence especially using my left arm which has encouraged me to do it more naturally.”

Another patient Pat Johnson, aged 70 from Callands commented:

With Lucy and Becky’s guidance and encouragement, it has really helped me with my confidence especially my balance. I also enjoy the social element of walking in the group and meeting new people.”

Following the success of the programme and the high number of requests from patients who wished to continue walking, Physiotherapist Lucy Tilling got in contact with Nordic Walking UK.

Lucy explains:

“I enquired if Nordic Walking UK had any local instructors who would be interested in running the groups, specifically for people with Parkinson’s. I was introduced to Anita Lobban, an experienced walking instructor, who was able to support the programme.

“Anita now runs follow on groups for patients who have completed the eight week programme. Before they start, with the consent of the patients, we pass on information regarding their specific goals and how they are with their walking so Anita is fully aware of their capabilities and can tailor her sessions accordingly to meet the needs of the group.”

Gill Stewart Programme Director from Nordic Walking UK commented:

“We are very pleased to be involved in this excellent joint working initiative with Bridgewater and have been delighted by the number of people looking to continue walking with Nordic Walking UK on completion of their eight week programme with the Warrington Community Neurosciences Team. In addition I would also like to thank Parkinson’s UK for providing some funding enabling us to keep the costs down to a minimum for the walkers.”

If you would like any further information regarding referrals onto the Nordic Walking programme please contact the Warrington Community Neurosciences team on: ALWCH.neurowarrington@nhs.net

If you would like to find out more about Nordic Walking please visit: www.swmanchesternordicwalking.co.uk.

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