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Nordic walking. General benefits. Minimal equipment required ( special poles) Enjoy the countryside Walk alone or in small groups Social, meet new people Gadget factor – motivational Use of poles creates stability Poles redistribute effort (to the upper body) Learn a new skill

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General benefits
General benefits

  • Minimal equipment required (special poles)

  • Enjoy the countryside

  • Walk alone or in small groups

  • Social, meet new people

  • Gadget factor – motivational

  • Use of poles creates stability

  • Poles redistribute effort (to the upper body)

  • Learn a new skill

  • Lead to other activities - x country skiing

Physical benefits
Physical benefits

  • Physical fitness

  • Body composition

  • Strength

  • Mobility


Psychological benefits
Psychological Benefits

  • Brain training (cross patterning)

  • Increases endorphin release

  • Increases muscle relaxation

  • Improves mood (acute and long term)

  • Reduces stress levels

  • Improves self-esteem

  • Increases opportunity to socialise

Feasibility of nordic walking as a public health activity
Feasibility of Nordic walking as a public health activity

Attractive activity for established walkers

What about the rest of the public ?

Is Nordic walking attractive for beginners and less sporty types?

Nordic walking

  • Feasibility of recruitmentfor Nordic walking amongst overweight women.

  • Measure effects of 8 weeks NW & pedometers on physical activity levels, fitness and body composition.

  • Measure effects of 8 weeks NW & pedometers on physiological parameters


  • 46 middle aged women

  • Slimming world clients

  • Over weight (average BMI = 30Kg/M2)

  • Tynedale residents

Study design
Study Design

  • Randomly allocated to control / intervention group

  • Delayed control group

  • Intervention - 8 weeks of self regulated walking with use of pedometer PLUS 1 x weekly Nordic walking session

  • Assessments - pre, post, and 2 months follow up

Nordic walking

RCT Timeline


Intervention A






Intervention B



WK1 WK8 WK16 WK24


  • Body weight & waist circumference

  • PA levels – pedometer counts

  • Physical fitness – Rockport 1 mile walk

  • Barrier to physical activity self-efficacy

  • Self-efficacy for physical activity

  • Self-esteem

  • Enjoyment score

  • Process evaluation

  • Focus group feedback

Process results
Process results

  • Attendance – 90%

  • Retention – 87%

  • All participants were technically competent at ‘health’ level (steps 0-5) many at ‘fitness level (step 5 -10).

  • Sessions were mainly delivered as planned

Physical measures
Physical measures

  • Significant changes for experimental groups - reduced body weight, reduced waist circumference, increased V02max and step counts.

  • No significant changes for control group.

  • Therefore change must be due to the intervention

Psychological measures
Psychological measures

  • Experimental group – significant changes in all 4 measures of psychological parameters – self-esteem, self-efficacy for PA, barrier self-efficacy and enjoyment.

  • Control group – changes in all 4 measures, but not significantly different.

Key feedback from the groups
Key Feedback from the groups

  • Enjoyed participating in a new, beneficial form of activity

  • Liked exercising as a group

  • Knowing people in the group was key (confident that others would be non-judgemental & supportive)

  • Loved wearing pedometers daily

  • Appreciated the support from Instructor and members of the nordic walking groups

2 month follow up data
2 month follow up data

  • 58% of people maintained or increased activity levels further

  • 36% returned to pre – intervention levels of activity

  • 6% no longer active due to injuries / poor health

  • Many people had gone onto other forms of activity (swimming with friends) or had joined a gym.

  • One lady took up x-county skiing

  • Several people have joined the health walks and exercise on referral

  • Two ladies have returned to work (as a result of increased confidence gained on the NW course)

Other case studies
Other case studies….

Darlington Doorstep Walks

Berwick schools

Darlington doorstep walks
Darlington Doorstep Walks

Claire Glass, 43, referred to Darlington Doorstep Walks by her GP

Started Nordic walking March 2010

Fitness and posture changed

Self esteem increased

Helped reach target weight of 9 stone 12lbs, losing a total of 5 stone 4lbs!

Now taken up running and is training to be a Nordic Walking instructor.

Berwick schools
Berwick schools

Funding via North Country Leisure ( leisure services provider) from NCC Communities for Health pot.

Delivered by Shepherds Walks, a private company, on a weekly basis

Aim of project was to work with school children during term time and have intergenerational events during holidays, but the project has been such a success that an afterschool club has also been set up (32 parents and children).

2010 = 60 children

2011 = plan to get 200 adults & children involved.

Very positive feedback.

Main barrier – poles, especially for kids

Nordic walking who s it for
Nordic Walking - Who’s it for ?

  • Older adults

  • Cardiac patients

  • Obese adults

  • People with mental health problems

  • Kids

  • Injured athletes

    ………………Any able bodied person

    If you can walk…….you can Nordic walk

Nordic walking and wfh
Nordic Walking and WfH

We initially thought that Nordic walking would be a progression activity for walkers who wanted more of a challenge. However, evidence suggests that it may also be of use to frail walkers and those with specific joint and back conditions.

Several health walk schemes are now combining ordinary walking with Nordic walking and find that this works well.

Nordic walking

  • Additional considerations

  • Health walks are aimed at beginners

  • Health walks are free

  • Additional training for volunteers

  • notes

How to integrate it with wfh
How to integrate it with WfH

Run separate taster sessions to teach interested walkers the technique.

Trained suitable candidates as WfH Volunteer Walk leaders

Use those VWLs who are competent Nordic walkers to run Nordic Health Walks.

Ensure those walks are only open to walkers who have successfully completed the Nordic walking tasters (issue with a competency card)

What happens next
What happens next?

  • If you are interested in knowing more about setting up Nordic health walks, contact

    Kate or Alison:

    07810 150936

    07799 860481

Lets have a go
Lets have a go:

Pull on your outdoor gear

Collect some poles