I have been encouraged by medical practitioners and family members to get out and walk. I realize the tremendous health and psychological benefits attained from walking. However, what happens when your vestibular (balance) system makes walking a challenge? A compromised balance system leads to imbalance, stumbling, disorientation, muscle weakness, etc.
Taking my first steps:
After the first vertigo spell the ER doctor encouraged me to start walking as soon as possible. My first attempt at walking after the spell was clumsy, weak and unsteady. The walk around the block felt like a mile, I held onto a family member for dear life.
How I felt emotionally:
It was a terrifying experience. Once anxiety and fear set in, it became difficult convincing myself to take a stroll.
Months and years go by:
Over time I found myself resistant to walking long distances and my overall health began to suffer. There had to be a safe way for me to walk around the block! I then set out determined to find the ideal walking apparatus.
Searching the internet:
I looked into canes, crutches, walkers, rolling walkers, rollators, etc. Beside not being ascetically pleasing, they were not practical for walking down the sidewalk in my neighborhood. I needed something sturdy that allowed for equal distribution of my weight, and freedom to move my arms and legs.
My million dollar idea:
I thought I had a million dollar idea on my hands. I could cut the tops off two canes and replace the tops with sturdy handle bars! With my million dollar idea in mind, I set out for another internet search. With each Google search result return, I quickly realized my millions were slipping away. According to Wikipedia, the idea of a trekking poles (sticks) has been around since the early 1900’s.
“Trekking poles (also known as hiking poles, hiking sticks or walking poles) are a common hiking accessory used to assist walkers with their rhythm and provide stability on rough terrain.”
Trekking poles to the rescue:
My family was open to the idea of trekking poles but no one had never seen or used them. I was blessed at Christmas receiving a pair of trekking poles from my fiance. I have been using the poles for 8 months and they have been a blessing.
* Stability and balance
* Cork handles ( when my hands sweat it is not an issue, the cork handles are slip-resistant)
*Adjustable length ( I am short and having adjustable settings is essential)
* Wrist straps ( I place my hands within the straps and there is additional support around my wrist)
* Rubber pole tip ( The pair I am currently using has rubber walking tips. If you remove the rubber tip a metal tip is exposed. I have used the metal tip walking on dirt and rough terrain. )
If there is a will there is a way! There are days when the imbalance and dizziness get the best of me. However, with these trekking poles I can participate in a safe walk. For other dizzy suffers I suggest being prepared for interesting comments made from folks when walking with your sticks. We are used to living with a hidden disability and these sticks definitely bring attention. Here are some interesting comments made when I am walking the neighborhood:
” are you training for the Olympics?” ( I am 5′ nothing and 25 lbs overweight)
” are you practicing skiing? ” ( I have never skied in my life)
” what is that?” ( One mom hit her kid after he yelled this out!)
I really need to start thinking of some creative comebacks. I am learning not to take comments to heart. At first I was rather annoyed, but once again, people are curious. As long as I am walking and getting out of the house I am happy! I am looking forward to trying Nordic walking sticks seeing how they compare. Hope this information is helpful! Don’t be afraid to get out there!