We’re visiting friends, whose computer I am using right now. Internet Explorer comes up automatically, so I naturally typed ‘Nordic Walking’ into the search engine to see whether this blog came up. I got to the 40s without seeing it. I found numerous other Nordic Walking sites, including all sorts of links to Nordic Walking resources in other countries. One that intrigued me is iWalk, part of am enterprise that seems to design and organize walking programs (or, since it’s the UK, programmes) for individuals and companies seeking to improve health and wellbeing. It is based in Richmond/London but seems potentially or actually countrywide in scope. So while I’m disappointed that this blog didn’t come up anywhere near the top, as it does on Google, I am happy to find other information on Nordic Walking to post here.
I was intrigued by their idea of HealthHubs to encourage ongoing participation through an organized framework of groups and “coaches” to lead them. This is iWalk’s explanation of “How it Works”:
“Your HealthHub is run by a dedicated HealthHub Coach, who plans and organises
the group’s regular HealthHub session. They are your personal point of contact
and can be reached via email or telephone, 7 days a week.
“Each HealthHub has 6 – 20 members who want to iWalk Nordic walk regularly at the same time and location (this can be changed during the year with the members
agreement). With us to facilitate the group and our continuing help and support,
you join together to create a small network of like-minded people.
“The Hub members combine their buying power to reserve a regular private iWalk
session at a time they want and for their group’s exclusive use. All at a
fantastic monthly rate.
“The more people who initially join each HealthHub and the more HealthHub sessions your group wants per month the lower the individual monthly membership fee is. The fee is also dependent on whether your group wants 1 or 1.5 hour HealthHub sessions? For those who prefer to join an existing Hub (as long as there is spaces available) you’ll qualify for the same monthly fee as its current members.
“We are also offering HealthHub Quarterly Cashback – literally a cash payment from us to you that we put straight back on the payment card you use to pay your monthly HealthHub subscription. To qualify you just need to have been a member of the same Hub for the 3 months prior to the date that the Cashback is being awarded.
“This reflects that our HealthHub is not just another ‘one size fits all’ approach to
membership. They are a bespoke solution designed for groups of people who want
to be directly involved in how they achieve long-term health and wellbeing.
“The network of private members guarantees that your HealthHub’s regular
iWalk Nordic walking session is always running. So even if others may be away on
holiday or business you know that your show will go on!”
The standard Monthly Membership costs £39 per person. When iWalk starts a new HealthHub group, the monthly cost drops to £34 for groups of 10 to 14 and to £29 for groups of 15 to 20.
they put on “Taster Sessions,” a delightful English phrase for sample or demo sessions and promote their LifePass, a loyalty program promising various discounts and benefits for £29.99 per year.
Logos at the bottom of the website include Exel poles, the Registry of Fitness Professionals, the Central YMCA, the International Nordic Walking Association, Nordic Walking UK and others that imply legitimacy and and commitment. I have no idea of exactly who started this program, when it was started, who the HealthHub coaches are, whether coaches give ongoing instruction or simply organize and lead walks, or how successful iWalk’s HealthHubs are. But I am certainly impressed with the organization. It addresses the desires of many new Nordic Walkers to participate in group walks with others, it could be a model for the US — should anyone wish to plunge in and set up it and get it going.