So my new course started today. I have tried out a couple of mama-baby courses (and written about some here) and my latest course to take part in is Nordic Walking with Baby. I had a few reservations about this course, mainly because it is something I thought was a bit of an old-person sport and not really a good, sweating inducing, workout. I also didn’t really want to be out basically on a glorified amble with sticks. When I workout, I want to feel the burn! Well, at least I like the idea of it. The reasons I chose to do it anyway were:
- It is right by my house so it is really not much effort.
- I like being outside in the woods.
- I thought it would be nice for Baby C to see the world from her baby sling on my back rather than lying in her pram.
Those are my main reasons. The reason I do any exercise really is so that I can eat more and one day maybe look in the mirror and feel like I can be responsible for this body.
Pretty Low Maintenance
The course started at a decent time, 10:45, in-between napping and feeding. I got my sports things on (jogging trousers, sports bra, long-sleeved sports top, all-weather jacket), put the baby in her snow suit and then her sling and trotted off the the woods. Because I was the usual just-on-time kind of late, I had to start with quite a pace and soon realized that this little bundle of joy on my back was going to add some intensity to my walk. What that means is that by the time I had walked the three minutes from my house to the woods, I felt like the warm-up was done.
The group was mixed, which I am always happy to see, an awkward bunch of women thrown together because of their minions and common aim to find a body they once owned or wish to own in the future. We all stand arounds and make some polite small-talk before the course leader started to hand out the sticks. Since I am pretty short, I got short sticks, 110 cm, just smaller than my older daughter. They have nifty little hand attachments which I saw the other ladies putting on like gloves.
Getting The Pace
So we were a group of women with children on our backs and with sticks in our hands. We were ready to go. This is when our instructor told us she would start the course with the „basic steps“ and build up different techniques each week. You can imagine that I was more than surprised to learn that this was more than a one-technique kind of sport.But I kept this surprise inside, since you don’t want to annoy your instructor in case she makes you work harder than you planned on. The biggest surprise was still to come though because you don’t have the sticks in front of you as you would expect or naturally do, no, you stretch out one stick at the same time as the opposite leg, plant it lightly forward and then kind of pull back as your next arm/leg combo go forwards. It is most comparable to cross-country skiing I’m told, which is no use to me because I have never skied. It’s embarrassing when even this simple diagonal arm with stick and leg thing is a challenge, but I got the hang of it after a while.
And Off We Went
After a trial circuit around the children’s playground, which was thankfully empty, we were off on the trail for real. Long arms, long legs, it would be the ideal sport for Barbie. I felt more like a struggling hobbit, but that does work up a sweat! We did a decent trail in the woods and broke up long stretches of Walking with some lunges, squats and arm exercises. The pace was fast because we had some experienced „Walkers“ at the front, but it meant that it was not just an amble. I did have to concentrate sometimes to keep my arms and legs in sync and make sure I was taking long strides to really get the benefit (as I was often told). But in the times when my mind wandered, it was nice to talk to the baby strapped on your back and enjoy the woods around you. It is also nice to sweat but not be in a sweaty room. The very brief rain shower was not an issue, and the babies had a great time. Baby C was awake throughout and made noises that sounded pretty happy and relaxed.
The main reason I’m sticking with this course, is the fact that it is outdoors and for me this really lowers the „are we nearly finished yet“ factor hugely, but that is just me. I also feel like it does my baby good to see the trees, flowers, mud, birds etc. Of course I could do this on my own, but the group factor here really means that you push yourself more, learn how to do it properly, and feel like less of a wally when you see other people. There is safety in numbers but also companionship. That is a huge value-added for me with any course I do right now, not to make friends for life, but just to have a pleasant chit-chat while cursing your burning muscles under your breath. And although it wasn’t too tough at the time, I was definitely sweaty under my jacket and my legs are suggesting that we will be remembering those lunges tomorrow!
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