Meet a lively group who exercise together during Parkinson’s Awareness Week

Nordic walking group. Picture: Theresa Saunders
Nordic walking group. Picture: Theresa Saunders

Exercise classes for people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease have proved popular and more are being welcomed to join.

The invitation to the classes held at Clapham village hall on Wednesday mornings is being made as one of the ways of marking Parkinson’s Awareness Week.

Clapham village hall exercise class for people with Parkinson's. Picture: Theresa Saunders

Clapham village hall exercise class for people with Parkinson's. Picture: Theresa Saunders

The classes were launched by a retired PE teacher from Bedford whose husband was diagnosed with the debilitating condition aged just 58.

Jane discovered that exercise – particularly Nordic walking – was something that was really making a difference to his condition. With the help of Nordic walking teacher, Theresa Saunders, Jane decided to try to use her time and fitness experience to help others.

They consulted PD specialist nurse, Debbie Blake, who was spread the word among sufferers and the first classes started last year, attended by just three people.

They enjoyed a range of exercises, including Nordic walking in fine weather, and the popularity of the class has grown so that today they regularly see 20 or more attending.

With lively music, people of varying ages and mobility are encouraged and inspired by the enthusiasm of their leader, and apart from the exercise there is a chance to break the isolation by talking to others facing the same issues.

One member said: “When I joined the group in September, I was still struggling to come to terms with the shock of the diagnosis just months after retiring and believing myself to be ‘young’ and reasonably fit. Having the chance to try to help myself with the exercises but – equally important – to enjoy meeting and sharing experiences with other sufferers, some of whom have far more experience of the condition, has been more helpful than I can say.”

The Nordic walking group meets on Tuesdays at 9.45am in Bedford Park.

For more details, call Jane on 07740 103227 or email

Parkinson’s Awareness Week runs from Monday, April 18 to Sunday, April 24, and the group will be manning a stand in Bedford Library on Thursday, April 21, morning only, and Friday, April 22, and then in the Harpur Centre on Friday, April 29.