Nordic Walking originally came about through Skiers needing to maintain their fitness levels during the summer months. It seemed obvious that ‘poles’ might need to be involved as they are involved in Skiing and using the arms are important as well as legs! The introduction of poles to walking means that the whole exercise becomes more aerobic and so more beneficial overall. Walking with poles also helps those with back problems and joint pains e.g. knees to keep active.
There are two official organisations representing Nordic Walking in the UK and I actually took a weekend course with a friend near York several years ago run by an Instructor from Nordic Walking UK. We loved the course and inspired by the overall health benefits as well as the added aerobic qualities of Nordic Walking as opposed to just ‘walking’ we came home and promptly bought a pair of Leki Poles each. Using the poles means I can certainly walk faster as they help propel you along if used correctly and I can actually keep up with my other half instead of him leaving me half a mile behind!
The other NW organisation in the UK is British Nordic Walking and last year I discovered that a Nordic Walking group had started up in Bude run by Gill Taylor. Gill has been in the Fitness Industry for over 25 years as an Occupational Therapist as well as a Fitness Instructor. Gill runs NW groups twice a week in Bude on a Monday and Thursday at the moment.
Monday is a gentler walk and Thursday’s is a little more challenging! The walks generally start from either River Life Cafe or Crooklets Beach but if you ask to be put onto her email list, she will send you specific details in a weekly email of the walks planned for that week. Gill isn’t on Facebook but her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whilst I was thinking about writing this article, the organisation Age UK Cornwall asked Bude & Beyond to spread the word that they hope to start a NW group in Bude very soon. They currently have one set up at Roadford Lake and hope to start more. I was able to pass this information onto Gill Taylor and she is now in touch with Age UK as well.
I’m a fair weather walker, not being keen on mud, so I have not joined in on one of Gill’s group walks yet but I have been out a few times this year using my poles to walk around Tamar Lake. You don’t need to be climbing a mountain to use the poles and we have so many places to walk around Bude including the coastal path and beaches too.
Nordic Walking is a great activity to take part in with a group from not only the health and fitness benefits but also the social aspect and making new friends. If you want to give it a go you do not need to rush out and buy some poles, which cost around £60 for a good pair, as you can hire them from Gill Taylor and Age UK for £1/£2 a session. You need a good pair of walking shoes/boots or trainers.
I hope this has been informative and inspires some of you to try NW walking! I will write again with an update once Gill Taylor has finalised her summer walking schedule and Age UK have contacted me again with their definite plans. If you want to contact Age UK regarding their NW Group their phone number is 01872 266383.
You can get more information if interested from British Nordic Walking and INWA (International Governing Body) INWA monitor all the Research done…and Nordic Walking is now on the advisory list for Public Health England. https://britishnordicwalking.org.uk/