By Gill Stewart at
Peter Mills has always embraced the need to be active and has exercised regularly for many years. He told us his mission was that he wanted to make sure that as he aged and IF he were to succumb to any illnesses………..he would be in the best possible shape!
Indeed, his regime which included cycling, strength circuits and even an annual ‘Body Holiday’ at a fitness resort fulfilled all the Govt. guidelines for recommended physical activity levels.
So, when Peter was diagnosed with stage 3- 4 Cancer in 2019 he was determined to cope with the necessary treatment and fight his way back to those previous fitness levels. He is convinced that his fitness did help in this regard, and he was soon back in the gym and participating in Body Pump circuits as well as getting back on his bike.
However, just as he felt he was getting back to pre- cancer fitness (and weight) levels, disaster struck and he ended up hospitalised once again.
A nasty cycling accident in 2020 resulted in 19 fractures to his hip and 8 to his pelvis and he was fitted with one of the largest metal plate/screw sections available (see picture)
This time it was harder to regain fitness levels as although Peter was able to use a stationary cycle, his gait was not good, and his right leg tended to swing out as he walked. Undeterred, he worked hard on his fitness and was open to trying anything that might help and that’s when he was advised to try Nordic walking.
Peter attended classes with his local Instructor Rachel Carter in Wiltshire (pictured with Peter) and she helped him master the poles as well as build up his stamina as the weeks went on. Peter recalls
“Initially I was always at the back, but I immediately felt that the poles were providing not only support but propulsion and an upper body workout too! As I had always believed in a whole-body approach to fitness I just knew I had found the right exercise to not only aid my recovery but to get myself back to full fitness. I think the good posture that Nordic Walking encourages helped enormously with my gait and rehabilitation. As the weeks progressed, I built up my stamina massively too, so I am now amongst the faster walkers in the group, using poles once or twice a week with Rachel and when out with my dog”
Rachel told us
“Pete started walking in our group in the Spring of 2021 . Initially whilst welcoming him I was concerned when I heard about the severity of his accident & his mobility was quite compromised.
Fast forward 6 months, Pete’s fitness levels have improved dramatically . He’s walking so well with great pace & enthusiasm & his range of movement has hugely improved. The hills that once challenged him have become achievable!
It’s been inspiring to see this improvement & he seems to be really enjoying the social side too !
The power of the poles has never been more visible !
Peter’s Consultant remarked that his recovery was progressing far better than some 20 year olds with the same injury and Peter told us he is convinced that this is due to Nordic Walking.
He added “I love it! I love the fact that it is holistic (whole body), I love the fact it is outside in nature and that Rachel makes it into a workout with her pace drills etc.
Peter is now back cycling and playing tennis regularly, but he will always make time for Nordic walking in his exercise regime.