Tag Archives: heart valve surgery

Nordic Walking After Heart Surgery

Nordic Walker notes that clicking poles are in sync with the clicking of new mechanical heart valve

Under the subject line, “The Long Road Back,” Iain Leiper, a Nordic Walking stalwart from the UK, recently told other NW enthusiasts about an unexpected medical adventure (and permitted me to share his story here): 

“I’ve probably never been so appreciative of Nordic Walking and the range and scope of its ability to bring an individual back to fitness as I am right now. Seven days ago I underwent heart surgery having being diagnosed with what is known as a bicuspid aortic valve (apparently a birth defect which has only manifested itself in the last few months).

“For those who know me this was a severe body blow — it had never affected me during my time as a Marine Commando nor in my time thereafter when I undertook various types of Ironman events such as 70 Wild Miles. However what I did know for sure was that at 49 years of age suddenly any kind of exertion was out of the question. This has been the status quo for nearly 6 frustrating months.

“As I start my journey back to fitness however I know Nordic Walking is ideally suited for such a purpose – providing physical support by way of the poles and the option to undertake fairly gentle exertion at first without any particular strain on any part of my physique, with the option to gradually up the exertion level considerably as fitness increases.

“How I have longed during these 6 months to grab my poles and get out there and now at long long lasty the moment is upon me ! However the tick tick ticck of my poles has a new competitor to vouch with for the breaking of silence…the click click click of my new mechanical aortic valve !!!

“Walk Well, Iain”

Tom Rutlin, who developed Exerstrider poles and created the Exerstride Method of fitness walking with poles, responded with encouragement and this caution:

“I know that your indomitable spirit along with some regular, moderate, good use, Nordic walking will have you back living life to the fullest soon. As far as gradually upping the exertion level considerably, I’ll just suggest that life should never be looked at as being a race. More intensity is not necessarily better for your health and longevity. Life is not a race, it’s an endurance event, and my goal is to finish as far back in the pack as possible – while enjoying optimal functional health and every stride along the way!  Wishing you a short road back, Tom”