Best foot forward in Nordic fitness regime at Sandringham

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While many are focused on getting fitter in the new year, an instructor from Gaywood is encouraging people to give Nordic walking a try.

Using walking poles similar to ski poles, the fitness regime is fast catching on as one of the most popular ways to get fit, said Mark, who regularly runs sessions at Sandringham.

“Nordic walking was originally developed so that skiers could train in the summer when there was no snow,” said Mark, who was the British champion for roller skiing in the late 1980s and also, until two years ago, held the world record for distance roller skiing.

“Nordic walking is for anyone, whatever their age or level or fitness. People come because they want to exercise, they may be recovering from an injury, or they want to lose weight. It’s suitable for absolute beginners right through to competitive athletes.

“It’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels, simple to learn and really sociable. By using the specially designed poles, you can use all the major muscles in the body and burn up to twice as many calories as ordinary walking but the best thing is that the poles actually propel you along so it feels easier.

“The outdoor world is our gymnasium, and outdoor exercise is just as good for mental health is it is for physical fitness.”

The poles reduce pressure on the knees and joints and the gentle upper body movement is great for easing back and neck pain too. However it is not simply a case of taking up a pair of poles and walking with them, according to Mark, who holds a Nordic Walking UK instructors’ certificate.

It requires the correct technique in order to get the whole body working and it is essential that this is taught by a qualified instructor to achieve the best possible results.

Mark will be holding free taster sessions at the end of January for people interested to give it a try. As well as Sandringham, he is hoping to set up sessions in Harpley soon. The beginners’ course of four one-hour sessions costs £30, after the free taster, and further sessions cost £5.

Anyone interested in taking part can contact Mark on 07443421089 or 01553 780226 or email marktaoh@hotmail.com He also has a Facebook page at West Norfolk Nordic Walking.