Nordic Walking Case Study
We've been working with British Nordic Walking since 2016, using the activity to help a wide range of people across Derbyshire become more active.
Thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund we joined forces to help train eight Nordic Walking instructors – one in each Derbyshire district – and provided them all with a set of poles to set up Nordic Walking sessions in their areas. As a result we've introduced more than 200 people to the sport.
Creating a sustainable activity
The aim of the initiative was to increase social cohesion and raise physical activity levels. Therefore improving health, reducing social isolation and boosting self-confidence.
The concept is simple – recruit volunteers passionate about Nordic Walking, give them the necessary training, equipment and ongoing support and give them ownership of their sessions so each one is tailored to the needs of the local area. Doing it this way helps the activity become sustainable over a longer period of time, rather than just a one-off project.
Sessions are held in public parks and open spaces and cater for both beginners and those who’ve learnt the technique.
Why Nordic Walking?
Catherine Hughes at British Nordic Walking said: “Nordic Walking is really beneficial to health. Doing it regularly can lower the risk of chronic illnesses and it can be used as part of an exercise programme to lose weight, whilst being easier on the joints than normal walking. One of the main benefits is it’s accessible to everyone. People with joint conditions or those who are overweight can take part, opening up the sessions to people who wouldn’t usually take part in physical activity.
“Social interaction is a major part of the sessions. People can chat as they walk, encouraging new friendships both within and outside of the sessions.”
How people are benefiting
The initiative has benefited people across the county. The instructors describe how their training allowed them to pursue something they’re passionate about whilst some tell how it gave them a purpose again after retirement or injury. The participants get great satisfaction from learning the technique and becoming more active, particularly those who were fairly inactive before starting.
Thanks to the way this initiative was put together, it’s allowed instructors to build on the success of their groups so they can help even more people. Sessions are now being delivered to everyone from mental health patients to school children. It’s testament to the benefits which can be achieved when communities take ownership of activities in this way.
Watch the video below to see why everyone loves Nordic Walking.