At the start of May, I qualified as a Nordic Walking Intructor with Nordic Walkng UK. In order to dispel some of the myths and jokes around this activity, i.e. 'are you expecting snow?' and 'isn't that that silly walking with poles?', I thought I'd write you something about it.
It started in the 1930s by the FInland Cross Country Ski team as they needed some off-season training and this replicated their sport closely. In the 80's it started to be become more popular as enthusiasts noticed the additional upper body workout they achieved compared to normal walking.
In the late 90's the Finnish sports institute joined forces with other agencies to formalize the technique of the sport and to develop specific poles for Nordic walkers. Research into the effects of this simple technique soon led to it being trialled as a health and rehabilitation technique – results were so impressive that it became a major tool in activity promotion and wellness programmes worldwide.
In 2001 the first UK Nordic Walking classes started and it has grown in popularity since, with 2500 instructors in the UK and over 10million Nordic Walkers worldwide.
So thats enough background, what do i REALLY think about it?
Well, having competed in rowing successfully at a high amateur level, trained for the London Marathon, competed in several triathlons and long distance cycle sportives, and qualifiying as a personal trainer, I know a little bit about exercise and training hard.
Not for one minute have I been sceptical about Nordic Walking.
I firmly believe that there are way too many sedentary people in our Country, and that for whatever reason they don't like/can't do exercise at my level. But that doesn't get away from the fact that over half our adult population are obsese/overweight and need to get out and exercise more.
Fresh air makes you feel good,
Walking is easy on the joints,
Nordic Walking is even easier on the joints and you get to work your arms at the same time.
You walk faster, its sociable, its not intimidating. If you get the technique right you can actually get a decent workout from it. The bonus is that you don't feel as though you are working as hard as you are.
Anyone can do it, come rain, wind, snow, day or night - those that join my walking groups will start to embrace night walking!!
The British countryside is so beautiful, you can get to enjoy it whilst getting fitter and possibly loosing weight (if thats your goal) at the same time.
Anyone who is sceptical should come along and try it.
My taster sessions are only a fiver so you've got nothing really to lose.