Striding confidently through the grassy plains of Richmond Park
Nordic Walking has been growing in popularity due to the crying need for an exercise that combines dynamic movement with an opportunity to spend time outside, enjoying beautiful scenery. It is a truly wonderful way to keep fit whilst fully appreciating the great outdoors.
Thanks to the lovely Elin Sandal, who runs Nordic Walking classes in parks across London, a couple of staff from the Kingston store got a chance to try it out. And, although the weather really wasn’t on our side, we had a great time and met some lovely people.
After a quick warm-up, using the poles for resistance and balance support, we were off!
The poles are used in a distinct way, very different to hiking or trekking, as they are not placed in front of the walker but in a specific way that increases the use of the upper body.It was the coordination that took a bit of getting used to (“be at one with your pole” we were told) but Elin took us through each step and soon we were both striding confidently through the grassy plains of Richmond Park.
The poles seem to propel you forward as they dig into the ground between strides, supporting and concentrating your walking style while working the muscles in your arms and waist in the process.
The group we were walking with were incredibly welcoming and had signed us up for another session by the first water break.
It was wonderful to talk to the other members; some had only started Nordic walking a few sessions earlier, while others had been doing it for years. There was a real community feel within our group and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.
As we made our way around the park Elin told us how versatile Nordic walking can be. Your stride, route and pole technique can all be changed in order to suit particular needs.
People sign up with a goal in mind, such as increasing fitness levels or marathon training, and the instructor can alter their session to increase intensity or target specific areas.
The best part of the walk was just being in the park itself. Walking through such lovely landscape, even in the rain, was a real treat. We even walked past a group of deer who, completely unfazed by our poles, carried on munching grass and stared at us blankly as we sped past.
All in all it was a good day and we would definitely recommend giving it a go. The only advice we would give is to check the weather forecast beforehand and make sure you take the right kit.
We were lucky in that respect and our Rohan gear kept us comfortable throughout the session. Tom’s Striders triumphed against the wet weather and the Barricade in my Cloudcover Jacket made it through a very soggy warm-down and an even wetter walk back to the station.
If you are interested please come into the Rohan Kingston shop as we have vouchers for £5 off a session.
Kirsty – Rohan Kingston