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.

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