‘Yes, you can’, I replied. We will just call it Yordic Walking instead! Wolftracks’ first Nordic Walking session was a total hit. Four lovely ladies and one Yorkshire lad tried this fitness session out on Monday, and they loved it so much, they are coming back every Monday at 9am for more next week. News spreads fast and three new members have also already booked their places.
My Yordic Walkers were complete beginners, so I started off by telling them a bit about the origins of Nordic Walking. Those Finnish skiers couldn’t have guessed that by training in the summer without skis but using their poles for upper body fitness, they would start a new sport that has taken Europe by storm! Nordic Walking is growing at a fast rate in the UK, and encouraged by a friend who was already qualified, I soon found myself enrolled on a training course. Now I am a qualified Nordic Walking Community Guide with eight new sets of poles, thanks to the kind donation from Settle Age UK, so we are up and running!
My group soon had the technique right, and we headed off down a lovely trail, poles angled backwards to propel ourselves forwards, straight arms swinging from the shoulders as we walked to engage our core muscles… this discipline is good for back and core strength, posture, arm muscle tone, general fitness and of course mental well-being. We did warm up exercises with the poles in a quiet, grassy area, and our cool down stretches by the River Ribble before heading back to Settle’s market place. With an optional cafe stop to finish off the session, it was nice to see friends catching up, meeting new folk, networking… It really promises to be a fab summer activity, so book yourself a set of poles (provided by Wolftracks) and come and join the Yordic Walkers any Monday in July or August (up until the 10th August – classes will resume in September after a two week break). It’s only £5, pay as you to allow you the flexibility for other summer plans.
How long are the walks? – The session lasts one hour. This does not mean we walk for the full hour. We spend a little time adjusting pole lengths, fitting hand cuffs and getting to grips with the technque. Then we head off out of the market place to somewhere quieter to do some warmups for a few minutes. At the end, there is a 5 minute cool down, which again, we do with poles.
Will I be fit enough to join in? If I see there is a difference in fitness levels, I will choose the route carefully to allow for this. Some walkers might then choose to do an extra loop whilst others take a breather. Park benches can be planned in for those who might need a minute to sit down. Nordic Walking is accessible to all, and I will show you how to adapt the intensity according to your own needs/ability.
What if I really want to try this, but not with others?
Wolftracks offers 1:1 or 1:2 Nordic Walking sessions with ‘ledge’ poles suitable for those who are concerned about balance or lacking in confidence. This means there are no cuffs and the poles are not attached to you in any way, which is much safer. You will find the poles offer you extra stability when stopping and starting, more flexibility and fitness as they help you use your upper body, not just your legs. 1:1 sessions are tailor made to ensure the activity is right for you, helping you achieve goals in little steps. We record our weekly distances and challenge ourselves as appropriate, for example, trying a rougher path or a bit of a hill. A session would cost £40 (or £25 p.p. for two) and can include picking up by car, dropping off, getting out to various beauty spots on easy paths at YOUR pace. There will be time for break, coffee from a flask on a bench or perhaps a cafe if you wish.