While a familiar pastime and way to stay active in many European countries and other parts of Canada, Nordic walking is not an activity commonly seen in our little corner of the world – unless you’re in the town of Paradise, that is.
During the summer and fall of 2021, the Town of Paradise partnered with a local Nordic walking instructor to try out the activity with residents.
When seen, Nordic walking looks like cross country skiing but without the skis or the snow! Walkers use a specific technique and specially designed poles – which the town bought with a Wellness Coalition-Avalon East grant – to propel themselves along a trail or sidewalk. Like regular walking, Nordic walking uses the lower body but also engages the arms, shoulders, and back of the upper body. It has low impact on hip, knee, and foot joints, and improves cardiovascular fitness and posture. (1)
The Paradise pilot offered weekly instructor-led sessions. The opportunity to try something new attracted adults and older adults who weren’t usual participants of the town’s recreation programs. Once participants learned the technique and gained confidence in their abilities, some of them requested to borrow the poles for independent walks outside of those that were scheduled because they enjoyed the activity so much.