Alternative London Workouts #19: Nordic Walking

By Londonist Last edited 141 months ago

Last Updated 21 August 2012

Alternative London Workouts #19: Nordic Walking

Has the summer of sport made you want to get fit?

Nordic walking on Hampstead Heath photo by

What: Walking with sticks taking long strides. This is exercise for your arms as well as your legs; it’s rather like using a cross-trainer. The poles propel you along which makes walking seem easier but you’re actually giving yourself more of a workout than you think.

The rundown: To join a group you need to enrol in a series of 4 classes to ensure you can manage the poles and get your coordination right; there is a bit of skill involved. You are then issued with a membership card which means you can join a Nordic walk anywhere in the country.

Walks last around an hour with occasional longer walks that might involve a pub stop or two; that definitely sounds like our type of exercise.

Is it the right fit for you? Exercising in the open air (and even in all weathers) is preferable to being on a static gym machine. You might get wet (with a pole in each hand there’s no way of holding an umbrella) but it’s exhilarating to be outside getting fit without too much effort. It’s a social activity too unlike the gym.

Nordic Walking arrived in the UK around 2006 to some raised eyebrows but has become much more popular in recent years. However, you might still get the occasional smart arse comment as to where your skis are.

Where and when: There’s no need to go abroad for a Scandinavian walking holiday as you can Nordic walk here in many of London’s open spaces including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest.

Both these areas host regular (several times a week) Nordic walks at varying times of the day and evening. There are also groups in Greenwich, Cockfosters and Dulwich to name just three. Search for your local group on Nordic Walking UK’s website.

By Joanna Moncrieff

Browse our alternative London workout archive for other interesting ways to get London fit.