IT’S THE fastest growing fitness activity in the world with over 10million people participating all year round.
With one hour of Nordic walking burning approximately 400 calories and using 95 percent of the body’s muscles, the Standard’s Beth Wright put her best foot forward in a taster session.
I WOULD be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly apprehensive about taking a ‘Nordic-walk’ with former police officer Ian Northcott who skied for his Army Corps in the 15 kilometre langlauf competition.
I expected to be intimidated by this super-fit instructor and to feel embarrassed about being out of shape and my lack of co-ordination. But I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Ian could not possibly have been more friendly, encouraging and patient in explaining exactly how to co-ordinate my two left feet and flailing arms.
The activity is an enhancement of ordinary walking where two poles are used to ensure the upper body is worked and has the added bonus of propelling the walker along.
Although he or she is working harder than usual, the support given by the poles really does make it feel easier.
Ian broke down an introduction to the sport and taught me how to walk in rhythm, with my left arm swinging forward at the same time as my right foot and vice versa. And it really is as simple as that.
The most difficult thing was keeping my arms straight as I felt inclined to bend them at the elbow as I would when jogging.
But after Ian explained how to think of the pole as an extension of my arm, I soon had the swing of it and was enjoying splashing through muddy fields and flying up gentle slopes with my posture feeling better than it had ever been.
After an extremely enjoyable three-and-a-half kilometres, over which I experienced all four Nordic walking ‘gears’, I was disappointed when the session came to an end and surprisingly shocked by how quickly the two hours had passed.
The next day I had a few aching muscles but nothing unexpected and was pleased it seemed to be the ones I struggle to activate myself in the gym such as those pesky inner thighs and upper abs.
Ian’s four week Learing to Nordic Walk course, which grants walkers a ‘passport’ on completion to any Nordic Walking UK sessions, has recently been subsidised by Bromsgrove District Council to just £10 from £45.
“It’s excercise that is inclusive to everybody,” Ian added.
“It’s kind of a gym without walls that everyone can enjoy.”
Aspiring walkers can visit www.merciannordicwalking.co.uk or email Ian on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.