Walking with aid of poles is probably almost as ancient as walking without them but the modern version has its roots in the summer training methods developed by cross country skiers in the early part of the last century.
The sport of Nordic Walking was invented in Finland as recently as the 1980s but is now one of the fastest growing recreational fitness sports in the world with over 8 million walkers worldwide. But what exactly is it and what’s the appeal?
Quite simply, it is a natural, safe, effective and complete physical activity suitable for all. Using specially designed poles similar to skiing poles, Nordic Walking is a scientifically proven activity that combines technically correct walking with features of Nordic cross-country skiing’s arm and shoulder movements. Active and controlled trunk movements together with correct body alignment and core stability are key elements of Nordic Walking.
The sport is governed by the International Nordic Walking Federation (INWA) and is currently represented in more than 40 nations with 20 national member organisations. It is also a member of TAFISA which currently operates in 132 countries worldwide and is a partner of WHO (World Health Organization), IOC (International Olympic Committee) UNESCO (United Nations Educational and scientific and Cultural Organization) and ICSSPE (International Council of Sports Science and Physical Education). Co-operation and networking with TAFISA also supports the overall promotion of Nordic Walking.
INWA, representing Nordic Walking as its official and recognised World Federation, offers many practical opportunities to develop this natural, safe, efficient and suitable-for-all form of physical activity around the world. It creates projects with international and national health and sports organisations, government bodies, public health authorities, ministries and school organisations both directly and through its member organisations in countries all over the world.
INWA has recently updated its website, which now better reflects the development of Nordic Walking and INWA. Please visit www.inwa-nordicwalking.com
UK representation on INWA is provided by British Nordic Walking and one of its founders, Catherine Hughes has just joined the board of INWA. Catherine is a personal trainer and fitness professional and in July 2008 set up British Nordic Walking with fellow INWA coach and co-director Karen Ingram.
The BNW website offer excellent help and advice on all aspects of Nordic Walking from clothing, equipment and how to get started and develop your skills to where to find an instructor or community project in your area.
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