General News:

Nordic walking six-week pilot course is hailed a success for Sport Aberdeen


Award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen recently trialled a six-week Nordic walking pilot course with a small group of six participants who already attend its Parkinson’s specific classes.

The aim of the pilot was to enable participants to learn the fundamental skills of Nordic walking, improve their leg strength and cardio vascular fitness, and improve the pattern of how they walk (gait).  

It was delivered by two Nordic walking qualified instructors who completed additional Parkinson’s training – they designed and led the course – and the poles used were supplied by Sport Aberdeen.  

The sessions lasted for 60 minutes and took place in the local Westburn and Victoria parks nearby the charity’s Get active @ Westburn venue.

The focus initially looked at technique and turns, then as the participants progressed, they took part in uphill and downhill walking, as well as more complex turns, intervals and medium-to-long duration walks using their newly acquired skills.

Each session finished with a strength circuit consisting of five exercises. These exercises were compound movements targeting all the major muscle groups.

One participant commented: “The class was small and personal, it was very enjoyable with just the right amount of instructions to gain more experience.”

Another participant said: “It has given me the confidence to attempt daily walks at home, I feel my length of stride has increased.”

Outcome measures were completed before the pilot and on week seven – results demonstrated that all participants improved their leg strength (tested by a sit to stand test in 30 seconds with repetitions).

A six-minute walk test was carried out and the group average increased by three laps – on week zero, the average group score was 49 laps, and this went up to an average of 52 laps by week seven, resulting in improved cardiovascular fitness. 

Jonathon Lurie, who co-led the pilot said: “Having set aims for each weekly session enabled the participants to learn new skills and see their progress, which led to a high level of motivation and enjoyment.”

“With two instructors present, it gave us the capacity and flexibility to tailor certain movements for participants when required.”

Feedback was gathered after the pilot through a survey, with all six participants agreeing that six weeks was a suitable duration for the course, and they would attend a weekly Nordic walking group if it was set up.

Those with an interest in Nordic walking or working with individuals who have long-term health conditions are invited to get involved as volunteers. Sport Aberdeen will offer training and support to help get a permanent Nordic walking group up and running.

To find out further information or express an interest in volunteering, please email