Review by Kerry
Lisa has an immensely kind, wise, and cheerful approach, combined with very good teaching of technique which she helps us build on in each session. She leads a group of all levels through the countryside, giving individual attention and encouraging us all onwards and upwards! In her many brightly coloured and joyful outfits she lights up a grey day and makes every expedition fun! especially when she leads the way in her hat with the little umbrella on top.
I’ve been walking with Lisa’s Steventon group for two years. Not long after I started Nordic walking I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a time of awful fear, but knowing I had a fitness activity I loved and a great instructor and group was in itself an immediate help, and walking did become a huge part of my recovery. Lisa very kindly even offered me some one to one Nordic walking time, although I didn’t need it, just hearing that was a big support.
My main reason for walking then was to combat depression, which often accompanies illness. After a walk I would feel calm and happy, and able to think positively or just get on with my day with less worry. I really noticed a difference between the days I did walk and the days I didn’t. I decided that I would and go out even if I didn’t feel like it at first. I was always glad afterwards. Post surgery, walking was a lovely distraction, and slowly it brought me a sense of better security about my body again. I had no choice about the cancer, but there were still a vast array of other choices I did have.
During that first year it was very healing just to be out in nature so much, and being immersed in beautiful landscapes instead of looking at pictures of them on the hospital walls. There is something wonderful about looking at green leaves, grass blowing in the wind, sunlight sparkling on water, blue hills….
Of course the walking helped physically too. I had some odema ( fluid in tissues ) following surgery and radiotherapy, and the nurses told me that Nordic walking had probably helped keep mine to a minimum. They also said that on the days I do Nordic walking there is no need to do lymph circulation exercises. Hurrah!
It was lovely to make new friends in the group, and some of us have been on fantastic walks together in our free time. We did so much, completing the Country Walking 1000 miles challenge, discovering new walks locally, and walking the Oxfordshire Way. With my family, (who were all incredible too, and should have their own write up!) I climbed Ben Nevis, followed a few days later by Snowdon and Scafell Pike, our own three peaks challenge.
All my walking was inspired by Lisa’s brilliant and enthusiastic instruction, and by her love of the outdoors. Its hard to imagine coming through that year without Lisa and the lovely people I met at her group. I would have I think, but looking back,all the great people I met helped me do it in style, and I have fantastic, warm, and funny memories which go far and above simply getting better.
It put my own illness in perspective to meet people at the group who have been through so many other things, strokes, hip and knee replacements, and Parkinson’s. Illness can feel isolating, and I felt better many times just through being with everyone and all choosing to do something good that day, walking. It was uplifting to hear about the good things in people’s lives, new grandchildren, holidays, and more everyday stuff like what’s for dinner tonight.
I love being able to just stride out of the door with my poles. It’s a very simple activity really, yet even the same walk is different every time. There are always new places to go, and more to learn to improve technique, which is very interesting and great fun.
In the months after my diagnosis I found it hard to believe that life would be normal again, let alone peaceful and happy. It is normal now, but it’s a different normal, in some ways better than before. There’s also a ripple effect to the work that Lisa and people like her do- starting just in my own family, if one of us is feeling better, it rubs off on the others, and this only spreads outwards.
Review by Dick
It was a great pleasure to meet you last Monday and I really enjoyed the Nordic Walking training session. The venue at Kingston Bagpuize Millenium Green was ideal.
I very much liked your relaxed but extremely informative instructing style. I was a little concerned that I would find one-to-one instruction a bit challenging, but you immediately put me at ease and off we went!
I learned a huge amount, all backed up by very solid and convincing advice. In particular you clearly described what to do, while also explaining why. I felt very positive at the end of the session, about the benefits of Nordic Walking.
The new Exel Curve poles are great and the straps are an excellent fit. Delivery within 48 hours of ordering was very impressive.
I will certainly recommend your training services to our friends.
Best wishes, Dick
Review by Graham
I have been Nordic Walking , under Lisa’s supervision, on a Thursday morning in Steventon for a year with Oxfordshire Fitness
Lisa is a magic instructor who gets the best out of all who meet her. Today for example we had hill climbing technique , with the poles and correct use, you soon zoom up the hill.
We start just before 10am meeting in the village hall car park, with a warm up on the sports field, when new members, who have joined us from tasters, are introduced and learn to enjoy how their bodies respond to fairly gentle movements using their poles for support.
We then go for a Nordic walk and talk along lanes, up gentle hills, fields and down through woods.
Faster walkers can go at their own pace, but find they will return to the main group by retracing their steps if too far ahead.This means that if they wish they can walk for much longer, but still be part of the group.
The slowest walkers are never ever left behind and really set the pace .
After fifty odd minutes of fun and exercise follows a Lisa led enjoyable stretch down— those that wish can have a coffee and further chat about all sorts of things in the local Munchies coffee shop .
By using most of the different parts of your body you will find balance, concentration and mood are all improved, if my experiences are a guide.
Review by Suki
Earlier this year, after three years of horrid illness, I approached Lisa to learn about Nordic walking. Since then she has become a vital part of my recovery. She has (surreptitiously) added more and more exercises to the mix, both to strengthen my wasted muscles, and to exercise my heart. She pushes me hard when I have the stamina, but she encourages me whatever I achieve.
She has become so much more than I signed up for, and she’s simply smashing. Frankly, I can’t believe my luck!
Review by Anne
I have been Nordic walking with Oxfordshire Fitness now for two years, I can honestly say it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. My fitness level has increased one hundred per cent.
Nordic Walking is a all round body workout but not in a horrible way. What better way to improve your health than walking in our lovely Oxfordshire countryside, meeting new friends and having lots of laughs.
Lisa Young our Nordic Waking leader is one of the kindest ladies I have met, everyone in her classes is special, no one is left out. No matter what your fitness level is Lisa makes time for us all.
If you are reading this, why not give it a go, you will be part of a very HAPPY group of people who all want one thing and that is to improve our health. I am so pleased that I did give it a go.
Review by Pam
Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou for the walking poles and the instruction. I am having a wonderful holiday aided by my Nordic poles and have I needed them. Long walks and awkward climbs have been made a lot easier or even possible. I did drop out of today’s because it was over 400 metres up the side of a steep mountain to Buffavente Castle here in N Cyprus but I did get halfway. Hope to see you next week.
My very best wishes
Pam ( from Steventon)
Review by Sallie
My Nordic Walking Tale
Lisa and I first met when we were both working at the same school (I was her boss at the time!) From the off it was clear that Lisa was a little human dynamo, apparently with enough energy not only to support her pupils all day but also to run her various keep fit classes during the evenings. We hit it off from the very beginning – which wasn’t hard to do.
When Lisa added Nordic Walking to her repertoire we were all very interested of course. However, it was when she wanted to work towards a further qualification that I became involved. She required a ‘guinea pig’ to create an individual programme for and I seriously needed to address my issues with osteoarthritis in my knees (caused by 35 years ‘on my pins’ teaching plus various other daft activities such as careering downhill on a set of skis and lots of high impact dancing!) Not content with medics talking about wear and tear, the ageing process, steroid injections and joint replacements, what I really wanted to do was help myself somehow!
So, in May 2014 we embarked on a mutually beneficial scheme – Lisa would teach me the techniques of Nordic Walking and devise a programme specifically for my needs (or my knees even) and I would provide feedback for her study. This worked brilliantly and the staff and pupils alike soon got used to seeing us striding out across the school fields at certain times of the day!
Right from the start I was able to learn a really good basic technique (hope Lisa agrees!) which has stood me in good stead ever since. Warm up and cool down routines also became a vital part of each session. The whole idea was to strengthen all the muscles around my knees and to enhance flexibility of movement through a graduated and appropriate exercise regime. We took it gently to begin with and I slowly came to believe that this was something I could actually do. Not being able to ride a bike any more, and experiencing awful pain when using the stairs is enough to knock anyone’s confidence!
Almost two years down the line I’m still Nordic Walking like a good ‘un! I attend one of Lisa’s sessions on a Monday and go out about five times a week in my own village. Using the poles means that I can stride out confidently and I’ve got to know the village all over again, not to mention the many folks I meet and greet along the way. I often combine a circular walk with a trip to the local shop or the Post Office, taking a short route home when my rucksack is heavier! My poles have also enjoyed going on holiday and have accompanied me all over Devon and Cornwall, not to mention the Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly!
What is absolutely undeniable is that Nordic Walking has really helped me in many ways. I am able to manage my arthritis on a daily basis without any medication at all and I am fitter that I’ve been for years. I know my cardiovascular fitness has improved as I am now able to combine walking and gossiping with the best of them! Lisa’s sessions are great. Just as when she was at school, she is quick to spot individual strengths and weaknesses and is able to boost, challenge and develop each group member accordingly. The sessions are also very social occasions – inclusive in their nature with plenty of chat and laughter. The fun element is an ever present and important feature but at the same time the activity is both rigorous and challenging, a great balance which is why Lisa’s sessions are so popular. I can’t recommend them highly enough – Lisa’s my boss during these hour long sessions and so far she hasn’t taken advantage of that on too many occasions, give it time though……!