Thursday, July 31, 2008


Nordic Walking UK - 'The Big Story' Update!

Further to the 'Big Story' post on Monday (July 28th). I now have further details from NWUK. My thanks to the management at NWUK for giving me permission to post this information on this Blog. Although I have been privy to it for a few days, it has been held back to allow NWUK instructors (to whom it is addressed) to have access to it first. Emails were sent out to NWUK instructors earlier this week.

The article was written by Martin Christie, NWUK's Head of Training & Education

Dear NWUK Instructor

For the past 18 months there has been a huge amount of work and effort that has been going on behind the scenes to prepare Nordic Walking UK for the next stage of developing Nordic walking in the UK. As a national training organisation we recognised the importance of making sure we stayed in line with the demanding standards within the UK. Learning from the experiences of the fitness industry over the past five years, understanding the diverse backgrounds from which our instructor came and the extensive markets to which Nordic walking was being adapted, Nordic Walking UK Ltd employed the highly experienced services of Santé Solutions to assist in the future development of the Nordic Walking Instructor training & support programme...

...We recognised that essential expertise required to take this next big step lay outside of the existing management team. From the outset, Santé Solutions shared a vision and mission to establish the most professional Nordic Walking training company in the world; together, we wanted to make sure there was clarity to both the instructors and the consumer, particularly as to qualifications within our UK industry.

As many of you will know, I spent a huge amount of time and effort establishing Nordic Walking UK as the only REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals) accredited Nordic Walking Instructor course, allowing those with fitness qualifications to attain 16 CPD points. Nordic Walking UK, under the new management of Santé Solutions, is now moving to another level again and with our combined expertise, is working with REPs to apply a much clearer structure of qualifications. This will not affect your existing accreditation or training and Nordic Walking UK has accommodated these to fit within the new structure.

Due to the requests from many instructors, PCTs, Local Authorities and health clubs requiring more support to help promote the benefits of Nordic walking, Santé Solutions, under the brand name of Nordic Walking UK, has developed a complete range of additional courses and support programmes. You will see on the new website,, how this will help instructors from all backgrounds access new and different markets. Nordic Walking UK has also established a voluntary Code of Practice to distinguish its instructors from others and the new marketing Tool Kit provides one the most advanced business support tools ever seen in the leisure industry.

Since launching Nordic walking in the UK in 2003, Nordic Walking UK has worked with INWA in the delivery of instructor training programmes. INWA provided the instructor manual while I then wrote and developed the programmes in the UK. With no developments from INWA on the manual or developmental courses since 2005, Nordic Walking UK with Santé Solutions has taken its own huge strides to ensure rising standards.

Nordic Walking UK has now, therefore, moved away from delivering the INWA course. With INWA also came the requirement to use Exel Nordic walking equipment. Without influence now from Europe, Nordic Walking UK is able to advise on a number of different manufacturers of poles and is even working with a new company to develop a completely new range. This doesn’t exclude Exel and, personally, I very much value the work done in the past by Exel and INWA. We can now, however, look forward and concentrate on the requirements of the UK and Nordic Walking UK Instructors.

Some of you may have received a communication from Karen Ingram or Catherine Hughes who delivered some of our instructor courses. Now that Nordic Walking UK has now moved away from delivering the INWA course, Karen and Catherine have taken over the mantel for INWA in the UK. Nordic Walking UK wishes them every success in their vision of not-for-profit Nordic walking activity promotion.

The changes occurring within Nordic Walking UK should only have positive results for Nordic walking instructors. If relevant for those looking to work abroad, however, previously gained INWA qualifications remain valid.

On a final note, and for those who know me personally, I am saddened that Francis, with whom I have worked for five years, has decided not to move forward with the new Nordic Walking UK. Francis will concentrate on his position as a board member of INWA and I very much wish him well in this international role.

Please do take time to explore all the benefits of the new website and the new Nordic Walking UK – this is just the beginning!

Kind regards

Martin Christie

Monday, July 28, 2008



The Nordic Walking scene in the UK looks very different today! Nordic Walking UK, who have held the INWA (International Nordic Walking Association) licence for the UK since 2003, have announced that they are now under new ownership and operating independently of INWA. They will now be running their own instructor training program, specific to the needs of the UK market and (I quote): "...away from the influence and politics of Europe."

Crucially they are now independent of a specific pole brand (having previously been tied into Exel poles which was a requirement of their INWA licence). This means NWUK will now work with a number of different pole manufacturers and promote a number of different pole brands.

Oh, and you will see in the press release below that I get a mention too. I am delighted to say that I fully endorse the new vision of NWUK and I am excited to have been asked by the new owners to contribute my own knowledge and experience to their cause.

The potential for Nordic Walking in the UK has always been there but now building on the strong foundation created by the former owners - Nordic Health Ltd - I'm firmly convinced that with the vision of the new owners, there really are exciting times ahead for Nordic Walking in the UK.

Do check out the new look NWUK website which will give you further information about the direction of NWUK - visit:

David Downer
Nordic Walking News

Here is the PRESS RELEASE from NWUK ....

Nordic Walking UK Training under new ownership

After 12 months of advising the previous owners, Nordic Health Ltd on developing a new instructor training programme and structure for the future of Nordic Walking, Exercise Anywhere Ltd has now acquired the training business and brand of Nordic Walking UK from them.

It was Exercise Anywhere’s objective to make sure the training standards were in line with the requirements and appropriate to the UK market and move away from the influence and politics of Europe. Nordic Walking UK will also now be in a position to remain independent of a specific pole brand and will work with a number of different manufacturers. This allows the instructors to have more choice and flexibility without compromising on health and safety.

Exercise Anywhere have also developed a range of courses and support programmes for Instructors, PCTs, Local Authorities & Health Clubs together with consumer products to assist the promotion of Nordic Walking and it’s integration to all levels of the community. They have also launched a voluntary Code of Practice for instructors to sign up to.

To accommodate the diverse backgrounds of instructors and extensive markets to which Nordic Walking can be delivered there will be a new structure of instructor qualifications, providing better clarity to instructors and the consumer alike. This structure will accommodate the previous qualifications to avoid re-accreditation.

The two founders of Exercise Anywhere have applied their combined 47 years of expertise in the fitness and leisure industry and more specifically their knowledge of special populations, cardiac rehab programmes and working with local communities.

Managing Director and founder of Exercise Anywhere, Mike Rollason has 27 years of experience in the leisure industry and was a director of The Fitness Industry Association for 10 years. He has played an integral part of the development of standards in the fitness industry that are now being recognised throughout the world. This knowledge will be used to assist the future professionalism of Nordic Walking in the UK. Co founder of Exercise Anywhere, Gill Stewart has twenty years of experience pioneering many community projects including GP referral, cardiac rehab and workshops for special populations. Similarly, Gill’s vast knowledge will help with establishing Nordic Walking from a community level through to working with Government.

It’s not all change and there are some familiar faces in the new look Nordic Walking UK. Martin Christie, who can without doubt, claim to have trained more Nordic Walking instructors in the UK than anyone else will head up Education and Training and David Downer, probably best known for his written work and internationally acclaimed blog, will be helping advise Nordic Walking UK instructors in a new Instructor Forum Group. Their experience and knowledge will be invaluable and be a great asset to everyone.

Friday, July 25, 2008


A Nordic Walking tidbit

I think that by now most readers will have heard of the Cooper Institute report about physiological responses to Nordic Walking. You will recall that this was the 2002 published study which shows that Nordic Walking gives an average increase in calorific expenditure of around 20% compared with ordinary walking.

It’s also worth recalling that the Cooper Institute itself was established by Dr Kenneth H. Cooper in 1970 as a centre for the research into preventative medicine. Dr Cooper’s book “Aerobics” first published in 1968, and which introduced a new concept in exercising, can now be said to have achieved iconic status.

The former medical director, Dr Tim Church who headed the now famous Nordic Walking study mentioned above, is now director of preventative medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. Amongst other things, his current research interests include the study of exercise and the treatment of mood and anxiety disorder. However, Dr Church tells me that there are currently no plans to examine Nordic Walking with this issue in mind. He has, however, generously sent me a number of learned papers about the subject and I hope to be able to include something about this in a future article.

Malcolm Jarvis, Nordic Walker Leeds UK

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I'd Pick More Daisies

A few years ago, whilst taking part in a post grad course on management, I recollect one of our tutors giving us a sheet of paper containing a particular inspirational text. It is said to have been written by the late Nadine Stair of Louiseville when she was 85 years old. I have always kept it, and I found it this morning whilst sorting out some papers at home.
Whilst out on my usual Nordic Walk during the afternoon I was constantly reminded by some of the sentiments contained in the text. Primarily the feeling about being "in the present". Nordic Walking seems to promote those kinds of feelings.
So, I thought I would share it with you. You may, or may not like it, but here it is:

I’d Pick More Daisies

If I had my life to live over, I’d try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would be crazier. I would be less hygienic. I would take more chances. I would take more trips. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets…. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones. You see, I am one of those people who lives prophylactically and sanely and sensibly, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I have had my moments and, if I had to do it all over again, I’d have more of them. In fact I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead each day. I have been one of those people who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I had to do it over again, I would go to places and do things and travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over, I would start bare-footed earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would play hooky more. I wouldn’t make such good grades except by accident. I would ride on more merry-go-rounds. I’d pick more daisies.

Attributed to the late Nadine Stair from Louiseville

Malcolm Jarvis, Nordic Walker Leeds UK


Our planet's future

Having planned a number of articles to do with global environmental problems which we now face, I thought you might ask “what has this to do with Nordic Walking?” In suggesting an answer I will say that Nordic Walkers are, first and foremost, citizens of the planet and we all owe a common duty of care to our world and its future. There are many things we can do as individual citizens and also, there are some measures we can expedite as part of our Nordic Walking praxis. In forthcoming articles I plan to talk about both. You must also forgive me if this opening chapter sounds like a rant. It is.

This first episode sets the stage.

During the last thirty or so years the world has become increasingly aware of the environmental problems its rapid development is causing. I recollect the groundbreaking analysis published in the magazine “The Ecologist” in 1972 entitled “A Blueprint for Survival” and it’s still hard to see any change in our seemingly mindless rush towards environmental impacts. Already some of the major problems previously identified are now affecting the planet.

In 1987 the Bruntland report (also known as “Our Common Future”) alerted the world again to the urgency of making progress towards a more sustainable future. Twenty years later and we are still not dealing with the problem in an adequate manner.

Air pollution from emissions, the consumption of natural resources, the production of vast quantities of waste, acid rain, poverty, global warming and ozone depletion are all affecting us now. Governments are beginning to recognise that the level of environmental degradation which current practices of economic development are having cannot be sustained without significant impacts upon future generations. But yet we do not have a multi-nationally agreed strategy to solve the problem.

A shocking report emerged very recently which has shown that the air quality in Beijing is so bad that the marathon may have to be deleted from the Olympics! We learn that officials in Beijing have introduced measures to improve matters for the games. But what happens when everyone has gone home?

Apparently, data gathered by satellite reveals that Beijing is one of the worst environmental victims of China’s rapid industrial growth. Furthermore, air pollution is so bad nationally, that conservation groups say that acid rain falls on one third of China’s territory. This has resulted in around 70% of rivers and lakes being so full of toxins they can no longer be used for drinking water.

Climate change is particularly challenging. Whilst the warning signs are there, governments, the big corporate organisations and also individual citizens have only taken tentative steps towards a sustainable future.

Only recently I noticed an advert in a popular magazine for a new “vitamin water” drink launched by a well known cola drink company. (A press release I subsequently found on the same subject read “thirst no more….”) Later in the same magazine, there appeared an advert for a charity whose aim is to bring drinking water, of any description, to a massive section of the planet where there is a dire shortage. As a member of the developed world, I felt utter shame.

I could go on….and on. A bleak picture perhaps, but one which we must face. What can we do as ordinary citizens, or as Nordic Walking citizens? I will look at some of the things which we can realistically do in forthcoming articles. It’s not important that the measures I suggest may only be “drops in the ocean”. At least, if implemented, you become part of the solution and not just part of the problem.

Malcolm Jarvis, Nordic Walker Leeds UK

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Now that summer's here!

The longest day passed a few weeks ago and we are now well into summer. Having said that, I sit here in the north of the UK and wonder if summer will ever actually arrive!

On the occasional sunny day we have here I am reminded of the risks to which we put ourselves by lengthy and unprotected exposure to the sun. We may frown at those who lie out for extended periods but we think nothing about going out for an hour’s Nordic Walk in blazing conditions. Of course, if you live in part of the world which has continuous hot summers you will probably have developed your own coping strategies. It’s interesting to note how one of the members of the eCommunity (nordicwalkingecommunity) who lives in Macedonia has to try all sorts of tricks to defeat the sun in order to get her “daily fix with the poles”.

Of course, there is a serious issue here and the risks associated with exposure to the sun are becoming better known. Here in the UK a leading cancer charity (Cancer Research UK) is running a campaign called “Stay safe” which, amongst other things, offers guidance about the risks of skin cancer brought about by exposure to sunlight and how to protect yourself from such risks. They give five “SunSmart” messages and I would like to share these with you:-

Spend time in the shade between 11.00 and 3.00
Make sure you never burn
Aim to cover up with a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses
Remember to take extra care with children
Then use factor 15+ sunscreen or higher

Protection afforded by clothing is becoming increasingly important and in recent years some clothing has been given “protection ratings”. These garments tend to fall into the outdoor activity or travel categories so are well suited to the needs of Nordic Walkers. However, whilst there does not appear to be an internationally agreed standard, those used in Australia and the UK have become well respected. The following table shows the UK “Clothing Protection Factor” or CPF:

CPF rating and description
less than 10 is low (inadequate for summer use in the UK)
10 is medium
20 is high
30 is very high

So, even though it’s hot (well, warm anyway) make sure you protect yourself at all times, but especially when out Nordic Walking.

Malcolm Jarvis - Nordic Walker Leeds UK

Friday, July 04, 2008


The Origin of the Walking Pole Family

Many thanks to MIKE GATES from Australia for this enlightening and factual article. Mike was one of the 'original' instructors to train with Marko Kanteneva and INWA and heads up the 'PoleAbout' team in Australia. You may know of Mike for is 'ultra distance' exploits as previously featured on this Blog.

G'day David

I have been giving some long thought to this walking with poles process and my involvement from the early beginnings. I have drafted a basic genetic pathway. I have long time been advocating strongly, well against all others belief (Nordic walking orgs and manufacturers) the universal generic term for walking with poles sits well with the wording "Pole Walking" all others terms & styles follow.

This document is a blue print of my thoughts & knowledge but I am more than both humble and grateful if people would like to add or detract from my rough blue print as walking with poles belongs to the people. So all positive productive comments welcome from all you wish to share it with.

Warmest Regards
The Walking Wizard from Down Under

The Origin of the Walking Pole Family Starts within a Gene Pool

No wording of Nordic or any other name precedes this genetic factor above, it was born from a pole or a stick. Genetics show the true source of Origin

1) Walking Staff or Pole or simply walking stick.


Some Nomad or Shepherd long before we where here and maybe before Jesus Christ himself…

Trekking with a pole or Bush Walking with a stick was genetically created from above and all else follows this gene pools biological pathways.

2) Ski-pole transformed to the modern day walking pole with the Strapless – Method


An innovative way to enhance walking with the concept derived from the sport of skiing. This innovative creation was the efforts and energies of Tom Rutlin (Wisconsin, USA) which was termed Exerstrider (mid 1980’s). This legend worked tirelessly and with endless passion to bring his innovative waking method to the global community some years before Marko Kantaneva's Method.

Exerstrider is a credit to the man above and the belief in the “Strapless Method” of walking with poles.

All other styles and brands evolve from this gene pool and biological pathways

3) Ski-pole transformed to the modern day walking pole with the Strap Method.


Summer condition for X-Country Skiers in past history some say at the turn of the last Century. Modernised for the Global Community by Marko Kantaneva (Early / Mid 1990’s) and known by his fellow Finnish countrymen as Sauvakavely. “Sauva” means Pole and “Kavely” means Walking. No Nordic there.

Exel joins forces with Kantaneva (1997), and the Nordic WalkerTM pole product was born then the slang word of Nordic Walking was termed & adopted by all who became involved.

Kantaneva was a main force behind establishing INWA - International Nordic Walking Association (year 2000) and then other European pole manufacturers and education organisations followed and the rest is history.

Marko Kantaneva - Modern “Strap Method” - Credit to the man above as he’s been the “True Spirit & Blood” behind the European Walking way with poles.

Whatever you may wish to call it; all other styles and brands have evolved from this gene pool and biological pathway.

“The greatest thing of all is genetics and biological pathways of all things known to man can be traced from the original origin man can try and clone/genetically modify but all must start from the origin, just like it all started with a pole.”

So why not establish the “POLE WALKING” family?

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?