Sunday, February 08, 2009


Is Nordic Walking a Sport? A former Leisure Services Director responds.

The following article was sent to me by Paul Chesmore of the City of York, here in the UK. Paul had been trawling through the archive of “Nordic Walking News” and was particularly intrigued by the article entitled “Is Nordic Walking a Sport?” As the former Director of Leisure Services for the City of York, Paul has a particular philosophical outlook on such issues. Here is his response:-

Is Nordic Walking a Sport? A former Leisure Services Director replies.

The article “Nordic Walking and Sport” (Nordic Walking News 3 August 2008) posed the question: “Is Nordic Walking a Sport?” The spirited analysis by Malcolm Jarvis struck a chord with me. So here is my reaction to the question, for what it is worth.

In England it has been usual for a local council to provide, or support, a wide range of free-time activities for its community. It is essential that elected politicians and their advisers can determine defensible priorities and make valid investment choices between indoor and outdoor sport, music and drama, museums and libraries, parks and playgrounds, allotment gardens and community centres, etc. Could we find a single word that could bind all these wide-ranging and apparently disparate things to a common purpose that would make comparisons and decision-taking valid? My department was called “leisure services”. The word “leisure” was pretty good, but it has never been an easy one for policy-makers in England: probably because it sounds too much like idleness and that offends our ingrained puritan instincts! But help is at hand.

I put the case for the word “recreation”. To make the point, add a vital hyphen: “re-creation”. Whether you play soccer in the park using jackets as goal-posts, play tennis in the local league, or are in an elite squad with Olympic pretensions; whether you collect matchboxes, grow prize-winning vegetables, paint pictures or sing in a choir: these are all things we do to re-create ourselves after the paid work and our other commitments are out of the way. And, I suggest, we define ourselves and who we are as much by our free-time pursuits as much as by our paid employment. The need for recreation binds us together: amateur and professional, activist and spectator, and helps us to share common values.

So don’t agonise too much about Nordic Walking as sport: accept that it may evolve competitive dimensions for some, simply because competitiveness is part of the human condition. But sport can only ever be part of it: recreation in all its manifestations brings benefits to mental and physical well-being. Let Nordic Walking take its place on that basis. Above all, just do it!

Author of the article - Paul Chesmore
Ex-Director of Leisure Services for the City of York

Hey Pal great insight.
Having a great deal of background in these areas is another conversation...
To re – create (Recreation) is always the early stages of unstructured personal play. When one brings a winner and a loser component you have entered the level of competition (Sport). When you enter repetition or practice you are in training for Sport. In fact everyone regardless of their level of ability is an Athlete. When an individual plans the frequency, intensity and time necessary for re-creative training in a sport you are doing what any athlete would...
Semantics is a wonderful thing...
I am on task and privileged here at Foot Solutions to grow the next fitness trend of this millennium --The Nordic Walking Wave and in our case the Balance Walking.
The conclusion quickly is Nordic Walking and all its complimenting brands is a Sport for those whom decide to recreate at the next level…..or those that decide it is just fun and recreation … :)
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