Nordic Walking and Hill Walking
Everything you need to know about Nordic Walking in the UK
"Nordic walking is one of the fastest growing recreational fitness sports in the world" - International Nordic Walking Association
"Nordic Walking is the most revolutionary invention in sport for fitness and health . . . " - Leki - supplier of Nordic Walking Gear and Equipment
There's certainly no denying that afficionados of Nordic Walking have a real missionary-zeal about their sport.
Developed originally in Finland, the sport has steadily increased in popularity in mainland Europe where it is estimated that about 3.5 million people are active Nordic Walkers.
And now Nordic Walking seems to be growing in popularity here in the UK too. Nordic Walking poles are appearing amongst the racks in high street outdoors retailers, Nordic Walking clubs are forming up and down the country, Nordic Walking classes are being offered by organisations as diverse as up-market fitness clubs and Primary Care Trusts.
So, as keen walkers ourselves - with or without poles - and already intrigued at the prospect of 'walking with legs and arms', we were interested to find out more about this phenomenon.
What is it? Who is doing it? How and why? What does it have to offer regular hill-walkers - or those who currently may not be so active?
We've been helped in this by Lilian Sullivan from Leki, who are one of the major manufacturers of Nordic Walking poles and Raija Kusima from University of Brighton, who is both a devotee and a trainer of Nordic Walking.
In order to get a more 'hands on' introduction to Nordic Walking, Leki were kind enough to provide us with one of their training consultants for a couple of hours.
And Theresa Howard from the go4awalk.com office volunteered to be put through her paces . . .