Walk tall naturally with purpose

How can Nordic walking benefit our health & well-being ?

Nordic Healthwalk, Cuckmere Haven – Sussex Walking Festival 2014.

What do people say themselves about Nordic walking and their own health and well-being ?

Read the examples of personal testimonies below listed under four categories of people that Nordic walking has the potential to benefit.

People living with certain long-term health conditions

I wanted a way of exercising without needing to join a gym. I can honestly say that I did not realise how much of my life Nordic walking would become. I joined up with 3 other groups as well as the Nordic Healthwalks. This means that in a normal week I do a minimum of 2 walks. It has definitely improved my health and wellbeing. A couple of miles used to be a long walk. Now, 10 miles is a good walk. We have made many new friends, so the social aspect of walking in a group has improved our mental wellbeing.
Woman, early 60s, living with Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes, and her husband, late 60s – 2014

I do find that Nordic Walking helps with my asthma – the way you stand and walk, with chest open and shoulders back I feel allows more air into the lungs. I have been able to walk for long periods without having to stop for a rest. It has also been enjoyable walking – something I have not done for a very long time.
Woman, early 70s, living with asthma – 2014

My friend and I used to run 2 or 3 times a week. Due to her developing a bad back, we could not continue. I probably should have given up running some time before my knees were ruined from a history of twists and falls. We agreed that maybe we could find a replacement activity that allowed us to keep fit, enjoy the countryside and talk to each other. Nordic walking has improved overall health and well-being. My body is suppler and energy levels higher after walking. Being out in the countryside is very definitely wonderful for emotional well being.
Woman, 50, living with arthritis, knee replacement & ligament injury now moving on from running – 2015

In 2014, getting my sore shoulder looked at led to a precautionary bone scan that revealed osteoporosis in my spine. As a result, I altered my lifestyle partly by taking up Nordic walking. A follow-up scan this year showed the condition had stabilised and not worsened. Regular Nordic walking alongside medication and a diet rich in vitamin D has clearly been beneficial. I am also fitter. My posture and gait are much improved. I’d recommend Nordic walking to anyone with this condition as one of the best forms of flexible physical exercise that also involves the mental health benefits of walking in countryside and the social contact benefits of being in a group.
Man, early 70s, living with osteoporosis – 2019

On a scale of 1-10 we give it full marks. It gives one a good work out as well as encouraging you to use and build up your core strengths. Whilst participating in Nordic Walking, we have traversed many different kinds of terrain, enjoyed different vistas throughout the seasons and found it to be very invigorating for both body and mind.
Woman, late 60s, living with osteoporosis, and her daughter and son – 2010

I feel that Nordic walking helped me to lose the last few pounds to get to my target weight. Additionally, being low impact, it was good for my joints. Being part of a group, it is a social activity too – MUCH better than pounding a treadmill at the gym on your own!!
Woman, late 40s, living with osteopenia – 2015

Having heard about Nordic Walking on the radio in relation to its benefits for health and well-being, I decided to give it a try and I’m very glad I did. I now Nordic Walk about 3 times a week and have certainly benefited from it. As my stamina has improved, my chronic fatigue and back/shoulder pain has reduced, which in turn has greatly improved my emotional well-being and quality of life. Most importantly, I really enjoy it and as a consequence am motivated to continue.
Woman, early 50s, living with hypothyroidism – 2015

Cervical spondylosis
I think working on my posture, in future, will really help relieve some of the symptoms and hopefully help stop it progressing. Yes, I found Nordic walking beneficial. In chats with my doctor and physiotherapist, anything that helps me strengthen my neck and develop a better overall posture is very beneficial for this condition.
Woman, mid 40s, living with cervical spondylosis – 2015

Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
I have been fast walking for eight months because of the effect it has on the brain, particularly its ability to produce neurotrophic factors which mend damaged neurons. I now use Nordic poles having had instruction. The technique offers a lot to people with PD, as it encourages big arm movements, coordination and it helps improve upper body strength. These are on top of the benefits to brain, muscles, bones, lungs, circulation etc. that basic walking provides.
Woman, 60s, living with PD

I live with mobility problems due to neurological difficulties. I wanted to improve my co-ordination, posture, confidence and stamina, so I could walk longer distances. All of the above have benefited. My movement is more fluent so my balance has improved. The opportunity to walk in a group on a regular basis is also important to my well-being.
Man, early 30s, living with epilepsy and hydrocephalus

Individuals recovering from treatment/rehabilitation

To date, thirty people living with/beyond cancer have taken up Nordic walking on Nordic Walking for Health’s tailor-made courses, after which a Macmillan Cancer Support self-help group was formed. Having successfully completed a course, feedback included that “the courses were very good with very professional, clear and focussed tuition from a dedicated, encouraging, enthusiastic, flexible, patient and supportive instructor.
The Nordic Wanderers – 2018

Diagnosed with bowel cancer 3 years ago, I started Nordic walking 2 years ago, not long after my treatment had finished. I have found Nordic Walking to be a sociable and health-giving form of exercise for mind and body. Seeing the countryside close-up and changing through the seasons is a real delight. We walk in all weathers and laugh our way through rain, mud and snow! I have now completed over 200 walks of 4/4.5 miles and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The support I have gained from the group has been invaluable. A number of them have been on the cancer journey and understand what it means. Nordic Walking is a terrific and fun activity and can really help cancer patients move forward in their lives.
Woman, 50s, living with cancer – 2015

Ankle and shoulder injury
Having suffered a severe ankle fracture and then a three-part shoulder fracture, I was in despair of finding any form of exercise (let alone enjoyable exercise!) which I could do until I learned about the Nordic walking course I completed. Excellent instruction enabled me to walk distances which I had feared I would never be able to do. The pleasure and increased self-confidence this has given me have transformed my life.
Woman, 70, having recovered from operation on fractured ankle – 2014

Weight control and lack of stamina
My motivation for learning Nordic walking was to become fitter and I noticed a major improvement in fitness. The first time I took part in a Martlets Midnight Walk, I found the final, uphill stretch at the end of the 13 miles extremely difficult despite being a regular walker. Since taking up Nordic walking, I have noticed a big improvement in my ability to tackle hills without difficulty.
Woman, late 50s, regaining fitness after a foot operation – 2013


People with defined health risk factors and self-reported health problems

Osteoarthritis and weight control
I took up Nordic walking to improve my cardio-vascular fitness level and joint flexibility. For my own well-being, I also wanted to learn a new skill, get out into the countryside and meet new people. Since taking it up, I have lost a stone in weight. My joints are less painful and more flexible. I can walk up hills more easily. I’ve enjoyed time out in the beautiful countryside with interesting people from all walks of life. Nordic walking has been a real bonus for my physical health and well-being.
Woman, early 60s, living with ostearthritis – 2014

High blood pressure
My main motivation to learn Nordic walking was to help improve my health, having been diagnosed with high blood pressure. I also wanted something a bit different and new, perhaps something that others hadn’t tried. I was frequently asked what Nordic walking was. Nobody I knew seemed to know anything. I have no doubt whatever that Nordic walking improves my health. When I went mountain walking in Crete after the course, I could walk much further, for much longer and tackle both ascent and descent more efficiently. It has improved my everyday walking style and posture. The instruction made me more body aware and the tuition was inspiring.
Woman, late 60s, living with arthritis and hypertension – 2014

‘Bad’ back and knees aggravated by years of running
I used to run but this was no longer good for my knees so I was looking for an alternative which was more strenuous than simply walking but still outdoors. I am now doing it every week and am very much enjoying it. I had very bad lower back pain before I started and this disappeared completely after only a few sessions. I can feel my back muscles being much stronger.
Woman, late 40s, moving on from running – 2015

Lower back pain
I wanted to improve my health in general. I have found that the niggle in my sciatic nerve has become far less. I think the longer strides whilst Nordic walking stretches the hip muscles and this seems to help.
Woman, mid-60s, living with sciatica – 2013

The comparatively healthy, e.g. those seeking a healthier, and better quality of, life in older age

To get more out of walking exercise
Following a report on the BBC’s Countryfile, the idea of Nordic walking appealed to me. I have always enjoyed walking, and the idea of doing something I enjoy and something that was good for me seemed worth pursuing. Initially, I hadn’t realised how important Nordic walking would be not only for my health but for my well-being. I have been walking in a group once a week since the course and am very happy to cover 5.5 miles. I often arrive feeling quite down about my earlier visit to a Care Home. Walking at a pace with people, who have now become friends, just makes so much difference to me. Being able to forget worries and enjoy the countryside is brilliant. Having reduced my hours at work, I now walk twice a week. Physically, it must be doing me some good!  It’s just brilliant to be outside and being active – the thought of doing a workout at the gym really doesn’t appeal. Nordic walking has really become an important part of my life!
Woman, late 50s – 2013

To get more out of walking exercise
I took up Nordic walking to maintain and to improve upon a level of fitness I had already achieved through regular walking. My fitness level has not diminished as a result of Nordic walking. My stamina has in fact increased, so that I can now confidently exercise alongside younger women at a local outdoor gym.
Woman, early 60s – 2013

To get more out of outdoors exercise
I’d heard lots of positive things about Nordic walking, but did not know what it was. I know the benefits to me of being out doors, both physically and psychologically. With a busy desk job, I was keen to try something to get me outside more. I really enjoyed having a regular session I could commit to, being outdoors learning a new skill. The course was sociable and fun. Since then, I have been walking much more than I used to. I have taken some of the skills with me to improve my walking and particularly my posture. When I walk I remember the stance, the relaxing of the arms and the focus on my core muscles. It works for me ! I walk taller, faster, and happier, as I look up more! Doing the course encouraged me to be mindful of my body as I walk.
Woman, late 40s, coping with a busy office job – 2015

To move on from going to the gym
I had previously attended a gym almost daily for six years. I had to give it up due to pain in my knee at all times. I decided my priority was to make sure I could walk, and far. Nordic walking was perhaps the way to do this and learn how to walk differently, get some exercise and enjoy the English countryside. The benefits have been a new interest, time out to remove myself from my busy life and meet interesting people. Most importantly, it has given me confidence that I still can walk and over long distances. Even going up hills does not leave me short of breath due to the more efficient technique that I have learned in Nordic walking.
Woman, late 40s, coping with a busy life – 2013

Feeling unsafe walking downhill
I had read and heard about it and wanted to know more about the techniques, already being an avid walker. I have learned more about posture, which has been really useful and developed a better technique in descending steep slopes – I’m still nervous but know I can do it !
Woman, 70s, having had a fall outside – 2013