Two Chinese media reports refer to Nordic Walking’s appearance in China
The eyes of the world are trained on Beijing right now for the Summer Olympics, but I was also struck by a headline “Nordic Walking Hot in Beijing” that was published on August 15 in a blog about learning Chinese. The original story had appeared in the China Daily nearly two years ago under the subhead, “City Life / Hip & New.” Here’s the story in its entirety.
“Last Saturday, about 300 Beijingers gathered in Yuan Da Du Site Park to
join a great Nordic Walking parade along the bench of the moat. Nordic Walking
uses specially designed poles to engage the upper body during fitness
walking, which originated in Finland as first used when it was a summer
training method by cross-country skiers. It was then developed into a
fitness exercise with specific training equipment.Nordic Walking has been
widely accepted and loved by Beijingers ever since its first appearance in last June, as it involves more muscles than any other traditional fitness activities, and
consumes much more energy. It is even safer than jogging as there are two
poles to support the exerciser’s body. Nordic Walking is one of the best exercises for almost everybody.”
Three hundred seems to be the magic participation number, no matter what day of the week is referenced. Another website reported, “About 300 Beijing residents gathered in Yuan Da Du Site Park on Tuesday night to join a great Nordic Walking parade along the bench of the moat….,” continuing with the exact words of the post above, concluding with “Nordic Walking is one of the best exercises for almost everybody.”
A piece published by the People’s Daily On-Line (also 2006) reported,
“Nordic walking, a less known sport to Chinese, has only come into bud in the
oriental country, with as many as 5,000 fans going into it within three years’
“‘In Europe and North America, about seven million people from 30
countries have been doing the sport,'” International Nordic Walking Association
(INWA) chairman Aki Karihtala told Xinua in the Earth Temple, Beijing on Wednesday.
“‘Nordic walking is safe, easy and aerobic. Scientific researches have confirmed that the sport can help prevent and cure heart diseases, and it also does good to arthroses,'” added Karihtala, who is attending the Nordic Walking training sessions in China.
“Nordic walking, which took its origin from the skiing sports in the remote
and icy Finland, is one of the most rapidly spread aerobic exercises. With two sticks in hands, the sport can involve all limbs in action, and consequently increase the intensity of exercise.
“While climbing mountains, it can reduce the pressure under the arthroses, so it’s especially suitable to the elder. ‘In Europe and North America, people with the sport are mostly above 30 years old. In China, people have a good habit of morning
exercise, I believe Nordic walking can prevail among the elder quickly.’ said
Yao Xinxin, the director of the Nordic Walking Promotion Center, which is
affiliated to the Institute of the Sports Science and Research of the State
Sports General Administration of China.
“The sport is now only promoting in Beijing. We have sent qualifier trainers to parks around Beijing regularly to teach those interested people for free. “And if we succeed in Beijing, we will bring the sport to more cities like Shanghai and Xi’an.”
The China Times story was accompanied by a canned photo of three very Nordic-looking walkers. Does anyone in Beijing actually Nordic Walk? I have no idea, but host groups of 300 can mushroom quickly in a country like China, and of course, many poles of various levels of quality are now manufactured there. Stay tuned.