Category Archives: Instruction

Guest Post: Nordic Walking Epiphany

Mary Collette Rogers, "Kitchen Coach" and new Nordic Walker.

 Nordic Walking coach introduces “Kitchen Coach” to new  fitness activity 

 The other evening at a writers’ gathering , I spent time chatting with Mary Collette Rogers. We started talking about food, and ended up talking about Nordic Walking, which she recently took up. Mary knows a lot about healthy eating and healthy cooking, and shares that knowledge in person, via cooking classes and online. She calls herself a “Kitchen Coach” because she is an authority on kitchen organzation, the author of  Take Control of Your Kitchen, teacher and speaker who guides people into gaining good health through good (and good for you) food. In short, her health awareness is stellar. 

Still, like so many people, Mary started  having bothersome knees and recently started Nordic Walking. She got its benefits immediately — just as people “get it” when she introduces them to restructuring their kitchens, pantries and habits to eat in a more healthful way. I appreciate her appreciation, but I’d share her Nordic Walking revelation even if she didn’t give me any credit me for it. Here is her guest post — for which I thank her:
A Nordic Conversion  

If you live anywhere close to Claire Walter’s circle of influence, you’ve heard a lot about Nordic Walking.  To me, it didn’t look like much more than walking with two sticks, so I wondered why all the fuss.  

 Unfortunately, in making this quick dismissal I forgot one of the more painful rules I’ve learned over the years:  Judgment should always be preceded by experience.  So now, having dismissed Nordic Walking without ever trying it, I have to eat my words.  “Walking with two sticks” is actually a terrific activity.  

 Maybe it was the promise of decreased knee pain that finally made me swallow my pride and join the monthly walk sponsored by local running store, Fleet Feet.  Who knew that walking could be such an absorbing, full-body workout?  Under the guidance of INWA National Coach Annette Tannander Bank, I learned how the simple addition of poles turns walking into a serious fitness activity, with pre-walk stretches, five or six different strides and forms, uphill and down hill strategies, speed variations and cool down stretches. 

 The specialized poles used for Nordic Walking force the arms to serve as additional “legs.”  So they get a great workout (especially those triceps), along with the entire upper body.  As if that’s not enough, pushing those poles Nordic style creates good posture–automatically.  I think that was my favorite part:  feeling tall and looking up and around as I walked.  

 Lest I forget, the poles do indeed make walking easier on the knees.  Along with everything else, that’s a big reason for shifting my regular morning walk to a Nordic Walk–if I can just remember my poles!  Here’s a tip:  I’ve started hanging poles with jacket until they become an habitual companion.  

  So here’s to Claire Walter’s persistence and Nordic Walking–a twist that adds a whole new–and fun–dimension to an ordinary activity. 

 Mary Collette Rogers is a healthy eating coach who loves just about any form of physical activity that can be done without aggravating or adding to the physical injuries she has already accumulated.  Visit her at

Nordic Walking “Coach Kit” Tunes Up Technique

Malin Svensson’s package audio workouts, book, poles, pedometer & more

Malin Svensson, a certified international Nordic Walking coach, has assembled several key products into a kit called “My Nordic Walking Coach” to keep Nordic Walkers on track and their technique tuned up. She wears several hats in the Nordic Walking community, the first of which was her LA-based Nordic Walking USA. Malin’s business is no relation to this blog, except similar names and a passion for fitness walking with poles.

She teaches the International Nordic Walking Association technique — born in Europe and imported to the US — that calls for powering through each strike with a straight arm, a definite push with the pole and a slight forward lean. Deviations from the technique can diminish the maximum benefit from the workout, and Svensson’s kit is designed to help combat problems the way a coach would.

The basic standard kit ($147, above)  includes her book called Nordic Walking,  five CDs containing eight workouts, a pedometer, a four-week calendar and a magnet so you have no excuse not to put it on the fridge. Click here to order. The deluxe kit ($295, or $327 with three payments of $109) also includes  pair fixed-length LEKI Platinum poles. Click here to order.

From the Snowbelt to the Sunbelt

Lori Clinch Adams follows Lindy Speizer Smith to Florida — differnt places, different reasons, but still teaching & leading Nordic Walking

Lindy Speizer Smith, who as LEKI USA’s marketing mavenette helped put Nordic Walking on the North American fitness map, moved from Buffalo to Florida a couple of years back. I wrote about her leadership in bringing Nordic Walking to the Fort Myers area. Click here to read it.  Her company, Walk With Lindy,  offers instruction, encouragement and inspiration in southwest Florida. Among her upcoming events is the B.Y.O.B. Walk, a free group  where participants are told to “bring your own breakfast.” If you’re in the area, click here to find out more and/or register. 

Now Lori Clinch Adams, who calls herself a health adventure coach and is likewise a Nordic Walking promoter and enthusiast, has moved from Idaho to Florida. She has morphed her former business (and website) Treasure Valley Nordic Walking Adventures in Idaho and Oregon into Nordic Pole Walking in Polk County Florida. She’s a certified instructor and master trainer. She is offer classes, workshops and all sorts of encouragement to the fine folks of Polk County, smack in the middle of the fat part of Florida. Her new website is full of images (like that on the left) and also a YouTube video. Check it out. To connect with her, call 863-268-4404 or email

Nordic Walking in Tubingen

 Nordic Walking classes easy to find, easy to join

The Nordic Walkers I have seen in southwestern Germany (but didn’t get to photograph because I was on a moving bus or something) all move with a purposeful pace and straight European style. No surprise, because this is, after all Europe. In fact, Germany, where people tend to learn correctly.

Nordic Walking instructor friends in the US tell me that many  people will come to one session, preferably free or very inexpensive, and when that is over, they are done.  I found indication of the reason that people here are so much more technically advanced in the medieval university town of Tübingen. The steep cobbled streets don’t lend themselves to Nordic Walking, but  paved recreation paths around town are ideal.  

A sign outside a business called Fit Durch Bewegung (which translates to Fit Through Movement) promotes Nordic Walking. A flyer lists eight Nordic Walking classes offered Saturday afternoons at 3:00 for €80 (approximately $125), including use of poles. Compare this with 10 sessions of back-strengthening exercises or of Aquajogging  for €75. It is my understanding that German health care pays for all of these programs, in full or in part.

I ducked into Fit Durch Bewegung while on a walking tour of the town, so I didn’t have time to do anything more than grab the price list. An Aquajogging class was going on in a small pool visible through a window in the vestibule. I would have loved to talk to Anette Diesselhorst who runs the enterprise to find out more. She has no website or even an E-mail address that I can find — just a prominent downtown location with a sign on the street. So just consider this informational and inspirational on what is available to Nordic Walkers elsewhere and how little effort seems required to promote it.

Nordic Walking Gets Big Boost Down Under

Free intro classes offered in October — in Australia

The Victoria-based Nordic Academy is be on a springtime roll with a country-wide promotion to boost Nordic Walking participation. The Aussie organization’s website lists FREE “Walktober” intro classes on various dates between the 2nd and 10th of October in the Melbourne area, Whyalla and the Barossa Valley(both  in South Australia) and Perth in western Australia and in Canberra on October 25.  In a separate E-mail, there also seems to be National Nordic Walking Month. Whatever it’s called, it’s all good.

The Nordic Academy’s website also has a click-to “Find an Instructor” function, organized by state. I would link directly from here, but the WordPress link function seems to be a nonfunctioning function this morning. Sorry.

ANWA Nordic Walking in October

Gottfried Kürmer returns to US to teach and train on both coasts

I don’t think I’ve ever gone two weeks without posting on this blog, but I’ve had killer article deadlines and a little “distraction” called the Fourmile Canyon Fire, which scorched more than 6,000 acres in the foothills west of Boulder and even had us under a possible mandatory evacuation alert. We live on the west side of town, and strong winds could have driven the fire over a ridge or two right into town. We packed up, ran the sprinklers to wet down what we could and waited for the reverse 911 call that never came. In the meantime, I’ve neglected this blog, for which I apologize.

It’s quite appropriate that I restart with the news that the American Nordic Walking Association is bringing master coach Gottfried Kürmer back to the US in October. When I seriously started research for Nordic Walking: The Complete Guide to Health Fitness and Fun, Kürmer came to Colorado, and I spent a day getting my instructor certification. I never intended to teach, but it was immersion into classic European technique. 

Kürmer will be in Baltimore, October 22-24 and in Los Angeles October 29-31. Courses offered are Nordic Trekking and Weight Loss Workshop, Nordic Fitness Workshop for Nordic Blading and Skike, Nordic Walking Guide Workshop and ANWA certification workshops for Basic, Advanced and Professional Instructor levels.

According to the ANWA website, the Trekking/Weight Loss workshop “will focus on combining Nordic Fitness with Europe’s revolutionary new weight-loss and body-shaping tool Wrap’nGo.” It including an assortment of lotions and potions, plus a wrap belt, wrap suit and several foil suits, which gives you an idea of how it aims to help people accomplish weight loss. Click here for more details. In the US, a Wrap’nGo system sells for $749.50, which is not a trivial purchase. I am not sure how it can be incorporated into a one-day workshop.

Nordic Walking Notes

Ultra Walker Mike Gates on the Move Again

Australia’s Mike Gates, nicknamed “Walking Wizard” for his ultra-endurance Nordic Walks is reportedly planning to break his own Nordic Walking 36-hour nonstop record on August 5-7, when he is aiming for 48 hours of nonstop walking with poles. He set his previous record in 2006 on a street course and is planning to throw in some variety with 80% of the course on sandy beaches, bush routes and pathways through coastal villages. In addition to raising Nordic Walking’s profile, Gates will be raising money for Kids In Need,” (K.I.N), which assists seriously ill and disabled children with rehabilitation equipment, ongoing medical expenses for specialised treatment, therapeutic and  medical equipment to enhance the quality of the child’s life. Norman Trubik, one of several co-moderators for the Nordic Walking eCommunity, reports, “”On his previous marathons, Mike used conventional Poleabout strapped poles. This time he will be using strapless Exerstrider poles. Mike will also be wearing Vibram Five Fingers (KSO Treks). These two changes which will give some good feedback to the E-Community.”

Map My Run App Praised 

In a comment on the Nordic Walking eCommunity of which he is another of the co-moderators, Virginia-based Marek Zalewski, also Owner/Editor of Nordic Walking US, wrote, “if you already have a smart phone and no wrist-mounted GPS device, a great and free way is to download the free Map My Run app (runs on Android phones and iPhones). It will track your walk, draw it on the map and allow you to save it. You will get the distance, the average speed, etc.” Map My Run is also an eCommunity created for runners and joggers but also applicable for Nordic Walkers.

Nordic Walking in Your Own Backyard

Discovering a nearby route ideal for Nordic Walking is always a something of a thrill. Twin Cities instructor Rhea Kontos of Nordic Walk This Way recently posted an item on the Great Lakes Nordic Walkers blog extolling the benefits of 60-acre Caponi Art Park in Eagen, Minnesota. She exclaimed, “Suburbia, wooded, maintained, two abreast nature trails, and Free!” She knows her way around Nordic Walking venues in her area, but her delight at finding a new one is palpable.

DIY Poles: A Discussion

The Instructables is a site for do-it-yourself devotees. A discussion of Nordic Walking poles is interesting for equipment junkies and arguably for anyone interested in NW’s image. And for the record, I’m not advocating making your own when there are good, reasonably priced and sturdy walking poles on the market.

Nordic Walking on YouTube

A new (or new to me) Nordic Walking video on YouTube — in Italian:

Nordic Walking in Eastbourne

Nordic Walking Fitness in Eastbourne, UK, has an info-packed website and blog with links to Nordic Walking videos, and also offers monthly demos so that newbies can get a taste of Nordic Walking.

Wisconsin to Host "Walk Strong" in September

Midwest to host another key event: “Walk Strong” in September

Having participated in the recent second annual Nordic Walking Expo in Minnesota, California’s based Suzanne Nottingham is returning to the Midwest with her “Walk Strong” training program in Greenfield, Wisconsin, on September. 9-12. Her Nordic Walk Now team trainers, Tom Rutlin of Exerstrider and Malin Svensson, president of of Nordic Walking North America and INWA trainer and of course Suzanne herself. In addition to “Walk Strong,” Nottingham promotes “Walk to Live,” a program of “fitness and empowerment course is for those who enjoy fitness walking in their communities with friends and family, and who desire to be knowledgeable about Nordic walking poles, their benefits.” Details and registration for these programs are on the Nordie Walk Now website.

Nordic Walking in Saas-Fee

Swiss resort village makes it easy to learn or practice Nordic Walking

I’ve recently been traveling in Palestine (West Bank), where I walked a lot but not with poles. It was a fascinating and intense trip, and what I fantasize about right now is a place of scenic beauty and tranquility. Saas-Fee, Switzerland, is such a place. As is the case so often in Switzerland, I’m especially impressed by the vilage’s commitment to Nordic Walking and organization.

An introductory program is offered every Tuesday from tomorrow to October every Tuesday. The class forms up at 5:00 p.m., starting at Hohnegg Alpine Resort. The cost is CHF 15.– or EUR 10. Rental poles:cost CHF 7.– or EUR 4.70. Reserve a spot by 5:00 p.m. the previous evening by calling  (+41) 27 958 10 70. Easy.

I’ve previously written about Switzerland’s nation-wide Helsana Trails, marked and mapped to encourage people to get out and get fit. Saas-Fee’s, the first in the canton of Valais, features eight signposts spread over an easy 5-km loop gives Nordic Walkers, walkers and runners useful tips, including  Nordic Walking tips. The full distance of the Helsana Nordic Walking Trail is a longer, more challenging loop of more than 15 km from Saas-Fee through Saas-Almagell, Saas-Grund and back to Saas-Fee.