British Nordic Walking is the only UK member representative of the International Nordic Walking Federation (INWA). INWA is the governing body for Nordic Walking, and is the only international organisation authorised by the creators of Nordic Walking to promote, develop and safeguard the characteristics of Nordic Walking worldwide. The INWA method of teaching Nordic Walking is recognised internationally and is of the highest standard. This is the Ten Step Teaching Method™, and British Nordic Walking is the only organisation in the UK authorised to teach this method. Whilst Nordic Walking enhances the health and general fitness benefits of walking, the INWA technique retains the original elements of Nordic Walking which, when taught correctly, maximise those benefits in a way that many other techniques don’t.
All British Nordic Walking instructors are required to achieve these high standards, and having successfully completed a course become accredited INWA instructors with an internationally recognised qualification. Those who wish to consider adding exercise programmes to their walking instruction train for a level 2 fitness qualification. Instructors passing successfully will have a UK recognised fitness qualification and be an accredited INWA instructor.
What kind of poles do I need?
Very little is required in the way of equipment other than some poles. Nordic walking poles are different to trekking or walking poles. They use a strap that is left and right specific as opposed to a loop as is found on trekking and walking poles. They have a removable rubber paw, for on road and other similar surfaces. Underneath the rubber paw is a tungsten carbide tip for use off road. Whilst it is possible to use Nordic walking poles for trekking it is not possible to use trekking poles for Nordic walking.
How long should the poles be?
Although some poles are adjustable for length it is generally recommended that fixed length poles are used as they are lighter and stronger. Adjustable poles may be useful for those who travel where limitations of space may be a consideration. Pole lengths vary in 5cm increments. When determining the correct length a useful guide is to multiply your height in centimetres by 0.68. However, wherever possible try before you buy as differences in stride length and other factors may result in the ideal pole length being longer or shorter than the equation indicates.
How much should I expect to pay for poles?
When purchasing poles it is always best to go for the best that your budget allows. Good quality poles can be purchased for between £50.00 to £100.00. Cheaper poles are available and can be useful as a starter. However, some of them may not be heat treated and therefore may lack strength and can shatter. More expensive poles will have an element of carbon in the construction. This affects the weight, the shock absorbency and the ability to transfer power through the pole. The higher the carbon content the better the performance but at a higher price.
How do I look after my poles?
Poles require little maintenance. Some parts such as the rubber paws will wear over time and the tungsten tip will wear if used for extended periods over gravel and stone. Replacement parts are relatively inexpensive.
When should I purchase poles?
I suggest you don’t rush out to buy poles but use ones provided on all our courses to begin with. You may find that after a couple of sessions, as technique improves, you end up with a different length pole to the length you started out with.
What other equipment do I need to take part in Nordic Walking?
One of the advantages of Nordic Walking is that you do not require any specialist clothing or footwear. It is recommended that shoes are worn for Nordic Walking rather than boots. This allows greater flexibility at the ankle. Clothing is best worn in layers and unless walking is going to be confined to sunny days a waterproof jacket is required.