The history of Nordic walking
1930s – Super fit competitive cross country skiers in Finland started to use poles in their off season training when there was no snow – they soon realized that this was giving them a massive advantage and that the technique was a perfect training aid that kept their heart and lungs in top condition and ensured upper and lower body muscles remained in top shape.
Nordic Walking began to be used by more people as a recreational physical activity in its own right and enthusiasts realized that they were achieving a whole body workout that was fun and simple to incorporate into every day life.
1997 – 2000
The Finnish sports institute joined forces with other agencies and the ski pole manufacturer Exel plc to formalize the technique of the sport and to develop specific poles for Nordic walkers.
Research into the effects of this simple technique soon led to it being trialled as a health and rehabilitation technique – results were so impressive that it became a major tool in activity promotion and wellness programmes worldwide.
Nordic walking grew in popularity all over mainland Europe with millions of regular participants. In some European countries such as Holland, Austria and Germany, Nordic Walking rapidly became a mainstream activity with specific magazines dedicated to it as well as clothing, shoes and of course, poles.
The first Nordic Walking classes in the UK began in South West London - they were taught by Martin Christie our master trainer and Francis Mitchell.
Nordic Walking UK was formed and the first INWA Instructor training courses were launched by Martin Christie.
2005 - Present
There are now well over ten million regular Nordic Walkers all over the world and it is rapidly becoming a common sight in Europe, the USA, Australia and the UK. NWUK have trained over 2,500 Instructors and Nordic Walking has been featured repeatedly in the National press and fitness publications - see our media pages
Exercise Anywhere acquired the Nordic Walking Uk brand and combined their expertise, passion and business acumen in order to ensure standards, professionalism and continued growth of this fantastic activity.
2009 - 2010
Nordic Walking is one of the fastest growing exercise activities in the UK - Nordic Walking UK doubled their Instructor numbers in a year and developed the innovative CYQ qualification which combines fitness industry basics with Nordic walking specialism. This is a formal vocational qualification and has bridged the gap between the medical fraternity and fitness industry.
Nordic Walking UK launch an even more comprehensive National standard programme for participants all over the UK with a competence card scheme that provides added benefits for all those taught by participating NWUK Instructors. Many Local Govt organisations now use this as a way to ensure that Walk Leaders only lead Nordic Walkers that have been taught correctly to a recognised standard.
NWUK first Instructor Conference sees over 100 attendees
NWUK join forces with major International experts - Tom Rutlin - the Father of Nordic Walking (USA), Mike Gates of Poleabout in Australia, Fabio Moretti (Italy) and Jose Manuel Fernandez Molina (Spain) to form the World Nordic Walking Federation. This organisation recognises the need to promote safe, affordable nordic walking to communities worlwide and the focus is on accessibility and standards of education. It is NOT linked to any retailer and is totally inclusive.
NWUK second Instructors conference sees nealry 300 attendees over 2 days
NWUK launch Nordic Walking Exercise referral training to enable Instructors to utilise the technique to aid those with medical conditions to become more active and manage their health.
NWUK launch a specific children's fitness course to enable Instructors deliver the technique safely to youngsters.
see our media page here