Health & Wellbeing Services & Support

Nordic Walking: the outdoor cross-trainer

Nordic Walking in Chorley, Healey Nab (image: Mark Tattersall)

Nordic walking is becoming an increasingly popular activity across Lancashire, with people of all ages benefiting from the enhanced effect that it has on their usual stroll.

Nordic Walking Preston’s Matt Gibbs told The Care Magazine more about the technique that’s helping turn lives around…


Nordic walking began as a way for cross-country skiers to keep fit in the summer months, but its effectiveness has seen the activity become popular among walkers of all abilities to aid their fitness, mobility and posture.

Matt Gibbs, of Nordic Walking Preston, believes that the pole-assisted technique is the perfect antidote to the stresses that modern life puts on the body.

Nordic Walking in Chorley
Nordic Walking in Chorley (Image: Mark Tattersall)

“Driving cars, commuting, sitting down in offices and looking down at mobile phones all lead to niggly aches and pains,” said Matt.

“Nordic walking is a way to get out of that seated position, improve your posture and to be active outdoors.  Because you’re using your arms as well as your legs, you’re mobilising most of the joints in your body and using the muscles of your upper body as well,” Matt explained.

“That means that you are circulating blood better through the system; you’re using more muscles; and that allows you to efficiently burn up to 77% more calories than ordinary walking.”


The outdoor gym alternative


Nordic walking adopts the same straight-arm movement as cross-country skiers; the walkers use the poles to propel themselves forward, increasing the effectiveness of the physical activity, setting it apart from trekking or hill-walking.

Nordic walking poles wrist straps
The specially-designed wrist straps mean that people with arthritis can still use the poles effectively (Image: Mark Tattersall)

“We say it’s an outdoor cross trainer,” said Matt, “because that movement of pulling the handles along with moving the legs is very similar to Nordic walking, but then you also get the benefits of being outdoors, and walking and talking with friends.

“You get the sun on your face, which is good for vitamin D; get fresh air; and you’re stimulating senses that you would be missing by being indoors or in the gym.”


Positive effects


Di Duckworth, 60, has been a regular on the Nordic Walking Preston outings for over a year and a half.  She believes that it has had a positive effect on many aspects of her life.

“It has really helped my back,” said Di.  “I used to suffer quite a bit from backache because I sat down all the time at a desk.  I wasn’t very mobile at all – I used to spend a fortune going to the chiropractor!

Nordic Walking expedition in Chorley
Di Duckworth on a Nordic walking expedition (Image: Mark Tattersall)

“I’ve noticed that since I’ve been doing the Nordic walking I just feel so much better,” said Di.  “I don’t get that lower backache now at all.”

People of all abilities can experience the wide range of benefits that Nordic walking offers.  Many that had previously been put off activities due to ongoing physical issues are increasingly turning to Nordic walking to aid their mobility.

“We’ve got clients that have got arthritis; some have had knees or hips replaced,” said Matt.

“Anyone who’s walked down slopes without this technique and are struggling with arthritis or dodgy knees – they know how that can be painful, and how that can put them off actually going out walking,” he explained.

“We’ve got lots of clients for whom it’s just turned their life around.  They go out; they walk further; they go down the slopes and they don’t experience that pain; and if we can change people’s lives by keeping them active, then that’s a great thing.”


Nordic Walking Preston work alongside Nordic Walking UK.  They offer taster sessions, Learn To Nordic Walk courses, and regular walks in and around Preston, South Ribble and Chorley.

You can use the online booking system at to register for their regular walks and sessions or call Matt on 07530 813225 for more information.

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