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‘Pole position’ for keeping fit in Essex this summer

Published: 3 May 2024 at 13:00

A person Nordic walking

ARU launches free sessions of Finnish-inspired exercise with British Nordic Walking

The Essex public are being encouraged to “get fit like a Finn” this summer, by taking part in free Nordic walking sessions at ARU Writtle, near Chelmsford.

Launched during May, which is National Walking Month, Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) is the first university to offer sessions to students and the public in association with British Nordic Walking.

Participants will learn the 10-step method of Nordic walking and also get the opportunity to explore some of ARU Writtle’s beautiful 150-hectare campus of open fields, farmland and landscaped gardens.

Nordic walking originated in Finland in the 1930s, as a way for cross-country skiers to continue with their training during snow-free summer months. 

This enhanced walking technique is kinder to joints than running, as it is low impact exercise, and by using poles, it provides a workout for both the upper and lower body. 

Nordic walking has been found to improve posture and gait, strengthen back, core and abdominal muscles, and help people burn up to 40% more calories than walking without poles.

As well as its physical benefits, it also promotes mental wellbeing by encouraging people to explore natural surroundings. Nordic walking can be enjoyed by people of all ages and walking in small groups means it’s also an extremely sociable activity.

Anne Mills, a British Nordic Walking instructor, said:

"I'm very much looking forward to working at Writtle. The benefits of Nordic walking still amaze me. Seeing my clients improve in their physical and mental health is testimony to this incredible activity. 

“Where else can you work out, without feeling as though you are? Anyone can do it; you don't need to be super fit. Once you've got the technique, you are away. But be warned – it can become addictive!"

Steve Spencer, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science at ARU Writtle, said:

“Nordic walking has many benefits and we’re delighted to be adding this to our weekly activities here at ARU Writtle.

“Nordic walking is inclusive, utilises our wonderful green spaces, and supports not only physical health, but also has many social and mental health benefits. We think it will prove very popular with our students, staff, and the local community.”

The free sessions at ARU Writtle start on Wednesday, 8 May and continue throughout May, June and July. For further details and to register, please email [email protected]