Subject Advice

Nordic Walking

Why Nordic Walking ?

When I retired, I suddenly found that I had the time to run, walk, cycle and go to the gym. There were no excuses for making unhealthy lifestyle choices, or for being unfit. I embraced the concept of ‘positive ageing’ – maintaining an optimistic attitude, feeling good about myself, keeping fit and healthy, and engaging fully in everything.

But ... I missed full time work. I needed purpose in my life!

I trained to become a Nordic Walking Instructor. It has provided me with a means by which I can use all of my skills as a teacher, a mentor and a leader.

Being a Nordic Leader gives me immense satisfaction. I work hard to encourage and inspire people to develop skills and become more physically confident. I love being part of the Nordic Walking community.  It is  almost as good as teaching Chemistry!

What is Nordic Walking?

Nordic Walking is a total body exercise that is easy on the joints and suitable for all ages and fitness levels. If you can walk, you can Nordic Walk! It really is for everyone. It is estimated that more than 10 million people globally, enjoy this activity.

It is performed with specially designed Nordic walking poles. The poles are different from hiking poles – they have a glove that attaches to the pole and ensures your hand is in the right position.

Nordic Walking involves applying force to the poles with each stride, which propels you forward as you walk.  When used correctly, the poles take the weight off the knees and lower body joints – this makes you feel lighter on your feet. The poles engage the arm muscles and boost the intensity of the exercise.  This makes the walking action more aerobic challenging and encourages good posture. On any surface, the poles provide more stability for walkers who have balance, knee or leg problems. It is so much more than walking!

More information about the benefits of Nordic Walking can be found on: Nordic Walking 

Nordic Walking Technique

The Nordic walking technique is based on your regular walking pattern. However, it is often confused with activities such as trekking, climbing, or trail walking, because all involve the use of poles. Nordic walking uses an entirely different technique.

In Nordic walking, the poles remain behind the body as an extension of the arms, pointing diagonally backwards at all times. The pole technique is a basic enhancement of the regular arm swings you make when walking normally. They are planted behind the body with each stride, in order to propel you forward; working the arms, shoulders, back muscles, and upper chest.

Good technique matters! Many local councils offer courses which teach Nordic Walking.  There is also instruction available from commercial organisations.  If you are thinking of setting up a Nordic Walking group in your u3a, find out about whether there are any local courses available. 

Whatever the technicalities of Nordic Walking, it is important to remember that the key benefit is that it will get you out in the fresh air, where you will be walking and talking and having lots of fun with like-minded people!

Nordic Walking with Lancaster and Morecambe u3a

Nordic Walking in Portugal 2023

Southport u3a Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking with Lancaster and Morecambe u3a

Nordic Walking with Lancaster and Morecambe u3a

Our Nordic Walking group started in March 2020 and now has more than 100 members and six Walk Leaders.

The Lancaster and Morecambe area is an amazing place for Nordic Walking. In how many places can you do a relatively short walk that takes you from a canal

to a river, to the sea?  From the top of a hill to a flat cycle track?  From a busy City Centre to a quiet riverside path? Through a nature reserve to an absolutely beautiful park?

We are fortunate to have access to many interesting circular walks of between 4.0 to 6.0 miles around our local area. Walks that are on well-established tracks or quiet country lanes which provide a walking fantastic environment, without the worries of too many stiles, cows, muddy fields, farm dogs, windy ridges and mis-reading the compass. Walks that end up at some very good cafes!

Our Nordic Walking follows a ‘hybrid model’. If you have Nordic Walked before, you will know that sessions tend to focus on the ‘exercise’ element of the activity and offer the standard ‘one-hour class framework’.

But an hour is just too short! No sooner has it begun, and everybody is heading off into the distance. And, for those who have to travel to the starting point of the walk, an hour of activity can seem like a lot of effort for little return.

Our u3a Nordic Walking group delivers the exercise element of Nordic Walking. During the walk there will be periods of brisk activity designed to raise heart rate and provide the opportunity to improve aerobic capacity. But  the session also allows us time to explore our local environment and experience the joys that each season has to offer.

The group walks between 4-6 miles in each session, starting at 10:00am and usually finishing between 12:15 and 12:30pm. We have two groups in each session, walking at different distances and at different speeds. This means the sessions are accessible to anybody who has a reasonable level of fitness. 

We always end the morning’s activity in a local café.  This brings business into the area and provides a social end to the walk.  There is no pressure to stay at the end, but the invitation is extended to all, and most people embrace the chance to socialise. 

There is a Lancaster & Morecambe Nordic Walking Facebook page which provides details of our walks and photographs of our activities.  It can be accessed at:

Nordic Walking in the Portugal November 2023

After the success of the 2022 trip, twelve members of the Lancaster and Morecambe Nordic Walking Group have spent another glorious week in Portugal. The ‘Seven Hanging Valleys’, a walk along the River Arade to the picturesque town of Silves and the beautiful clifftop walk from Praia da Luz to Lagos were some of the ways we spent our days.  There was of course time for other activities including swimming in the sea, beach walks at sunrise and sunset, taking a boat trip into the amazing limestone caves and eating some very decent Portuguese food.

Nordic Walking and the Walking Exchange Programme

Nordic Walking and the Walking Exchange Programme

Lancaster and Morecambe Nordic Walking Group are part of the u3a Walking Exchange Programme. We have been working with one of the Southport u3a Walking Groups as part of this programme.

The Southport group was exploring the possibility of setting up a Nordic Walking Group. In order to introduce them to ‘walking’, I visited Southport and ran a half day training session. 

The next stage was a visit by the Southport group to Scorton near Lancaster, when some more experienced members of the Lancaster and Morecambe group offered paired tuition.  The weather was dreadful, the ground was water-logged, and the sky was grey. But we all had a great time. And of course, there was a great opportunity for socialising at lunch!

In my role as Advisor for Nordic Walking, I am hoping that there will be the opportunity to bring Nordic Walking into the Walking Exchange Programme.

If your group is interested in visiting Lancaster and exploring the beautiful Lune Valley, I can set up a Nordic Walking Exchange. There are many budget accommodation hotels available in the area. Nordic Walking tuition would be provided. There is also access to a limited number of Nordic Walking poles for your group to borrow.

 For u3a groups in the North-West, it would be possible for me to visit and deliver  a tuition session.

Starting a Nordic Walking Group

If you wish to explore the possibility of starting a Nordic Walking group, finding out about accessing tuition or developing your existing provision, please contact me: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If your u3a is located within easy driving distance of Lancaster, it would be possible for me to visit and deliver an introductory tuition session.

Or, why not take advantage of the ‘Walking Exchange Scheme’  (u3a - Walking) and arrange a group visit to Lancaster, where it would be possible to ‘learn to Nordic walk’, in the beautiful Lune Valley.

The Nordic Walking group follows all of the protocols of other Walking Groups so the ‘Resources and Support for running a Walking Group’ on the u3a Subject  Advice page is invaluable in ‘getting started’: u3a - Walking

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