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Get fit with Nordic Walking (Skiing Without Skis)

Published: 12th July 2010 20:31

My name is Julia and I'm a Nordic Walking (Skiing Without Skis) Instructor. I say it through gritted teeth, waiting for the odd looks and questions, which are invariably followed by the "where's the snow? Jokes." But I remember as a young racing cyclist, seeing my first Mountain Bike fresh to the UK on the back of a craze that had swept Canada and the USA. It was staunchly opposed by all the serious road cyclists at the time and classed as a sport not to be taken seriously, a fad that would go away if ignored. I could say the same about curry. My Mum used to make a curry once a week with raisins in from the Sunday Lunch leftovers. We classed it as a meal pretty much a kin to bubble and squeak.

 Nordic WalkingNordic walking

 Well Curry is now the most popular English Dish and cooking a good curry takes many years of handed down skill and experience. Mountain Bikes have superseded racing bikes on most children's Xmas lists, off road trails are strewn across the country and being a Professional Mountain Bike Racer is on a par with that of a Professional Racing cyclist.

So what lies ahead for Nordic Walking? Where is it now in this country? Where did it come from? And most importantly, why, over all the other sports and leisure pursuits available, would anybody want to do it?

Nordic Walking is mushrooming in this country. People from all walks of life and of all ages are gradually getting the bug, having a go, training, joining Group Walks and doing there own thing with their poles in small numbers all over the country.

Nordic Walking has its origin in Skiing. During the summer months, skiers would retain their fitness for winter skiing by Nordic Walking. From here it spread across Europe as a leisure activity and sport in it's own right and has now swept across the USA.

Why Nordic Walk then:

  •  Well all you need to start are a set of poles. They're light, maintenance free, compact and cheap compared with golf clubs, football kit, bikes etc.

  •  You can Nordic Walk anytime and any place. To the shops. On your lunch break. On tarmac, sand, grass, rock, mud, almost anywhere. So even on a tight time schedule those determined and organised will be able to cram in a Nordic Walk at some point in the day.

  •  It engages 90% Skeletal muscles in the body. Each muscle that you use burns energy and is fed with new blood, it becomes more elastic and stays toned and healthy. Because muscles attach to bones, stronger muscles mean stronger bones, means better posture, means fewer aches and pains and better circulation. This then raises the metabolism, which makes it easier to stabilise body weight, reduce stress and anxiety and promote well-being. Good posture when exercising will lead to good posture when sitting, which can, over time help to rectify lower back, neck and shoulder problems suffered by many desk bound office workers.

  • Nordic Walking distributes the bodies weight onto 4 limbs using the poles. This reduces the weight borne onto the hip, knee and ankle joints. As someone who has suffered with arthritis since the age of 3 and gets joint pain from regular walking, I can say with conviction that Nordic Walking doesn't hurt my joints even when I walk all day and for consecutive days. I also don't get joint stiffness anymore either.

  • So do you have to be fit to Nordic Walk? No, Nordic Walking is similar to cycling in that, it can be as challenging or as relaxed as you want to make it. Also, like cycling, it is with the correct technique injury free. However, Nordic Walking can be taken up to a high and competitive fitness level for those who are already fit and want to compete in the sport. It works equally well as a companion to an existing sport. To add weight-bearing exercise for swimming, cross training for cyclists and runners, aerobic work for weight trainers and endurance training for those who partake in field and racquet sports. It is also very good for those recovering from injury.


  •  Nordic Walking can also go beyond the boundaries of exercise. Many people who join walking groups meet new people and make new friends. It's a relaxed and friendly environment where people meet to primarily have fun and leave with so much more.

If you like the sound of Nordic Walking, and want to find out if it's for you, then contact me and arrange a Taster Session. I primarily work in Yate and North Bristol and can be emailed at: Julia.stone@blueyonder.co.uk or telephoned on: 01454 883779. If you need an instructor for a different part of the country or would like more information about Nordic Walking then visit www.nordicwalking.co.uk



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