Why is Nordic Walking beneficial for Young People and Schools?

Walking in the Alps - Aug 2010
Great exercise in the great outdoors...

Nordic Walking is a fun activity and great way to engage young people through developing:

health and fitnessburning 46% more calories than walking without poles and using 90% of skeletal muscles, and all of the benefits of outdoor fitness

confidenceby learning a new skill, and working with others in peer analysis and teaching each other and staff

communication skillsthrough teaching and analysing, and encouraging young people to talk and demonstrate Nordic Walking with others respectfully

working with otherswe encourage our young Nordic Walkers to help each other, and develop a team spirit whilst working in small groups, pairs and whole class activities

spatial awarenessusing games and fun activities to encourage movement of Nordic Walkers often in close proximity to each other, without physical contact

motor skills – learning to co-ordinate arms and legs whilst using the poles can be challenging

Nordic Walking is also applicable for the development of Young People through the “Every Child Matters” ethos:

being healthywe develop a healthy approach to physical and mental activity so that everyone can achieve

staying safewe hold relevant DBS clearance; our sessions are conducted with the utmost professionalism and in the school grounds with teachers present, we promote a “can-do” approach!

enjoying and achievingwe make each session different and challenging for each pupil – the emphasis is always on fun and learning

making a positive contributionwe encourage all participants to take their Nordic Walking beyond the classroom and encourage it to become part of a healthy lifestyle that can be enjoyed by all the family. We also encourage young people to become active in Nordic Walking Racing, for which there are activities and events throughout the UK.

economic wellbeingwe encourage schools to loan or purchase sets of Nordic Walking poles so that all young people can enjoy the activity alongside more traditional forms of sport such as netball, football, hockey, rugby etc. As a result, we offer training for teaching staff in order that they can deliver sessions to their pupils.

Nordic Walking is also great for older students who are undertaking Duke of Edinburgh’s Award  (Physical, Skill or Expedition) and for School Expeditions (incl. pre-training). Our experience of leading expeditions in the hills and mountains of the UK and overseas has concluded that “those who use poles with correct technique enjoy their outdoor experience…so much more”. The correct use of Nordic Walking poles encourages good posture, as well as significantly improves efficiency and effectiveness of walking with poles.

Who are we to teach Nordic Walking to Young People?

Using the skills learned from a teaching career (Programme Leader/Lecturer in Outdoor Education and Sport at Wiltshire College) and as a Nordic Walking Instructor and National Coach, we have created a weekly programme of Nordic Walking activity (1-1½ hours) for Primary/Secondary Schools and Tertiary Education to be used during their ‘enrichment time’. Throughout a Term or Half Term of Nordic Walking sessions we employ a traditional teaching methodology with a ‘recap-plan-do-review’ format, with sessions consisting of:

  • Student centred learning
  • 10-Steps to Nordic Walking
  • Developing health, fitness & fun through Nordic Walking
  • History of Nordic Walking
  • Components of Nordic Walking
  • Teaching Nordic Walking to others
  • Developing peer analysis and communication through Nordic Walking
  • Taking Nordic Walking out of the classroom – exploring new places!

Our interaction and communication with both children and staff at schools is vitally important to ensure that pupils get the most out of their Nordic Walking sessions.

We encourage and welcome feedback and are always looking to develop a smarter way to deliver to all students in a manner that suits their specific learning style.

Who do we work with?

We work with a wide range of organisations in addition to both young people and adults – all using Nordic Walking poles!:

Stanton St Quintin Primary School – since September 2015, we have been working with Year 5 & 6 pupils… with amazing results and great feedback from both staff and students. We will also be working with Yrs 1 & 2, as well and Yrs 3 & 4 during the 15/16 academic year

Testimonials from Yr5 & Yr 6 Students:

“I really like Nordic walking because I think it was fun, easy and it was a nice thing to do” – Leah

“I like the cool down because it stretches my body and I feel nice an loose afterwards” – Anon

“I liked it because its good exercise and I like it because it gives me some fresh air” – Shannon

“I liked it when we learnt the 10 steps to Nordic Walking” – Vanessa

“I liked the walking around the field because you can push your muscles to the limit” – Anon

“I really liked doing the stretches” – Anon

“I enjoyed trying out Nordic Walking” – Izzy

“I liked it because it was awesome!” – Anon

Testimonial from Karen Winterburn – Headteacher at Stanton St Quintin Primary School:

“Nordic Walking was such a good sport to learn, developing skills for all children. Those children who you thought would pick it up quickly because they took part in lots of sport, weren’t necessarily the ones that shone in their technique and fitness levels weren’t a barrier to practicing and mastering the 10 steps. It was great to see how the children peer coached each other demonstrating good understanding, and really drilling down to the specifics. We have been very fortunate for Steve to have worked with our children – both myself and the children have had some very enjoyable afternoons.”

We also work with schools in Oaksey, Sutton Benger, Lea and Luckington.

British Nordic Walking Instructorsin developing lesson plan templates for INWA Nordic Walking Instructors to use with Schools

Wiltshire Collegewe delivered a session on the principles of Nordic Walking to Sports students who were looking at alternative sports and activities

BAIMLwe have trained members of the ‘British Association of International Mountain Leaders’ who are also professional primary and secondary teachers to become Nordic Walking Instructors and as such deliver their own sessions to Schools

How to start Nordic Walking at your School?

Simply email Steve Ellis at steve@geminioutdoor.com or call 07752567959, and we will arrange a convenient time to visit you at your School and take it from there.

“I have had the pleasure of walking the hills with Steve over the years. Steve is extremely knowledgeable on a variety of subjects and the mountains are no different.”