By Josine Baines at
Nordic Walking Tonbridge is 1 year old this month and it has certainly been a moment for me to reflect on my journey from Finance Director to Nordic Walking Instructor!
The health benefits of walking are indisputable – almost any news or magazine article about health and wellness will include walking amongst the top activities to improve physical and mental fitness whatever your age. Until I took up Nordic Walking, I had not truly experienced this first- hand and I had no idea of the profound impact Nordic Walking would have on my health and wellbeing.
Prior to taking up Nordic Walking 2 years ago, I was suffering from stress/burn out (there was barely a day that went by that I did not cry or shout at my family) and I was living with a chronic auto – immune disease. I am sitting writing this today having shed much of the burden of stress (or at least I am able to cope with stress much better as my mind is healthier) and, more remarkably, I have recently been told that there is no longer any trace of disease in my body. You can listen to my full story here Walking On Air Podcast episode 36 on 23 March 2022.
I was fortunate enough to be able to leave my stressful job behind me and launch myself into daily Nordic Walking. I am well aware that not everybody can do this and free up the time or space to walk miles every day! However, it does not need to take a complete life change to experience the difference walking and, specifically Nordic Walking, can make. The blogs on the main WALX site have countless stories of people with health conditions (some very serious) who have found Nordic Walking to be hugely beneficial:
Hip replacements and other joint issues – Nordic Walking helps maintain mobility and strengthens muscles to help support joints.
COPD – Nordic Walking works your heart and lungs, which in turn helps your body use oxygen more efficiently. Over time this can improve breathing in COPD patients.
Obesity and weight loss – a study (from the University of Verona) has shown that Nordic Walking is more effective than ordinary walking when trying to reduce weight. In the study, Nordic Walkers (compared to walking without poles) had a greater reduction in BMI, waist circumference and total body fat and Nordic Walkers showed improved strength in the upper and lower body.
Parkinsons disease– Nordic Walking helps with posture and keeps you more upright while a slightly longer stride can gently stretch your limbs and provide a gentle body rotation. This is great for coordination.
Depression – it is well known that exercise is important as part of a treatment plan for depression. Nordic Walking is outdoors and by joining a group you can socialise with like-minded people. Being outside encourages the brain to produce serotonin and melatonin – chemicals that improve mood and sleep. With improved mood and self esteem we are likely experience reduced levels of stress.
This list is by no means exhaustive – there are remarkable stories about the impact of Nordic Walking on recovery from many other illnesses including cancer and long covid.
Many of my clients join Nordic Walking Tonbridge with a health goal in mind – to get fitter, improve mobility, or as part of a journey to recovery from illness…….however, most stay for the camaraderie, sociality, friendship and huge sense of community that comes from being part of a Nordic Walking group.
If you would like to join us, I am starting a new Nordic Walk in the Park class on Thursdays 11:45-12:45pm in Tonbridge Park. The first class will be on 5 May. These classes are for people who are less confident in their fitness or who have an underlying health condition. The walking will be gentle and there will some mobility, co-ordination, and strength activities. They will always end with a chance to pop to a café for a coffee! There is no need to do a Nordic Walking induction before joining the class as I will teach the technique slowly over a number of weeks……and I will provide the poles! All classes are pay as you go so no need to commit to coming every week!
Alternatively, why not join a 45min Nordic Power Walk in Tonbridge Park – every Thursday 1:15-2pm. As before no prior induction is required and I will provide the poles! These will be speedier walks so to fit some exercise into a lunch hour!