Healthy Living
June 16, 2017 By Barb Gormley
The rewards of family fitness

When Elizabeth Coutinho discovered more than 20 years ago that she had type 2 diabetes, she was told it was important to start exercising. But the idea of beginning even a modest walking program stirred up unhappy memories of long-ago school gym classes and made Elizabeth, now 65, resistant to changing her inactive lifestyle.

Many years later, in 2012, Elizabeth’s daughter Agnes began teaching Nordic walking—sometimes called “cross-country skiing without the skis.” Agnes was excited to introduce the activity to her mother, who is now living with additional health issues, including kidney disease (nephropathy), pain and numbness in her feet (neuropathy), poor balance, and general muscle weakness. Agnes hoped that the stabilizing effect of walking with poles might help boost her mother’s confidence and manage her pain enough to allow her to start walking. She was right.

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