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POLES APART FROM A WALK IN THE PARK

POLES APART FROM A WALK IN THE PARK

8 October 2010

You may think that you already know how to walk, skip and jump, but Nordic Walking - the latest sport sweeping the globe - could set you straight, writes Emma Ailes...

That’s the promise from Nordic Walking instructor Tug Wilson, who can regularly be seen striding with his poles across Peckham Rye Park, and says that Nordic Walking will use 94 per cent of your muscles - whereas a swimmer uses around 70 per cent - and can even cure back problems.

So what is Nordic Walking exactly? Tug is on hand to explain: “It started in Finland - the snow would melt and so instead people took up walking with ski poles as a sport in the summer months. Now we use thin, light, carbon fibre
poles that are specially designed.

“The technique teaches you to use the shoulder to propel yourself along every time you plant the pole, which takes stress off the lower joints and means you use 20-40 per cent more muscles than with normal walking.”

Tug, who is a personal trainer by profession, has taught people of all ages and ability this unusual sport, from top athletes to Weight Watchers groups and even a Nordic Walking bootcamp, aimed at getting kids off the street.
What makes this reputedly the fastest growing sport in the world, says Tug, is its social element.

“People love it, because you talk and form friendships while you’re walking. Once a month we do a two hour adventure walk, and last time we walked to Crystal Palace and stopped off in the pub on the way back.” While the terrain around Peckham may not be exactly Nordic, Tug guarantees that ‘streetwise Nordic Walking’ can be just as fun. “Walking in the city is different of course, especially regarding safety. Part of our teaching as the nights get colder and darker is to advise people on clothing, headlights and so on.”

For an experience that is poles apart, why not give it a try?
Nordic Walking, Peckham Rye Park, Tuesdays 19.30 - 20.30.
For more information, visit
http://your.nordicwalking.co.uk/tug__wilson


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