“It is even said to be safer than running or walking as propelling with sticks and long strides ensure there are fewer chances of injuries or stress.”
Hang on... "propelling with sticks and long strides" - that's walking with crutches, isn't it?
But then again, on second glance... "propelling with sticks and long strides" could be stilt-walking, right?
The opening description of a mythical injury and stress free form of transport is in fact the latest slightly eccentric sport to sweep across large open spaces in central London: Nordic walking. About 200 people tried out this new sport on Sunday in Hyde Park; the free training from a handful of ski pole wielding professionals has hopefully got the first wave of Nordic walking enthusiasts doing their skiing mime show boldly across the face of our city, ski poles held aloft with pride and a healthy Nordic glow all around them.
While new to us in the UK, Nordic walking has actually been around for almost a decade. It originated in Finland as a way for cross-country skiers to keep training through summer. It's basically walking with ski poles or cross-country skiing without skis and apparently burns more calories than just an average walk because it offers a complete workout in the propulsion of the sticks and the co-ordination required for the skiing motions. It's suitable for all levels of ability and fitness and it seems there are a lot of trainers, clubs and groups to join to get into this sport.
So, if you do see sporty types looking like they got lost on the way to the dry ski slope, but are gamely skiing without their skis over zebra crossings and through foot tunnels regardless, it's Nordic walking, it's a real sport and it's in London. On no account should you report them to the Ministry of Silly Walks.
For more information about Nordic walking in London, go to the Nordic Walking UK website here.