Young people and Nordic Walking

Izzy Murray runs Nordic Walking groups in Dronfield. As a PE teacher she has a keen interest in engaging young people in sport. Alongside her evening groups she’s taken the poles into school to use with her pupils. She is also keen to set up family sessions to help parents who don’t have childcare be able to join in.

She explains how she’s already seen a positive response from younger people getting involved in Nordic Walking…

I love walking

I started Nordic Walking as I have always enjoyed walking. I’ve led expeditions in different parts of the world and enjoyed ski touring which uses the same principles apart from wearing skis. I have always found that using poles made a walk more enjoyable and places less stress on your joints especially your knees and makes going up hill easier.

When I was given the opportunity to do the training to become an instructor I decided to jump at the chance. It gives me a reason to get out in the evenings and meet some lovely people who have become friends. On Monday nights we have continued to walk for nearly a year through rain and snow. Wednesday nights have fitted around my sons time at Beavers, allowing myself and other mums to make use of the hour by Nordic Walking. It helps us get fit and meet up with other members of our Wednesday night group.

Engaging young people 

I’m really keen on exploring the potential Nordic Walking has to engage young people and families in physical activity. Its hard to find time to exercise when our jobs and family take up so much time. If I can combine Nordic Walking with both children and their parents then the whole family will hopefully benefit from an activity that is both beneficial to fitness levels but also to our mental wellbeing.

I recently took the poles into school and did a lesson using them for the group of year seven and eight SEND students I teach. We then took the poles to Rother Valley and walked nearly 5km. Quite a feat for many, especially one boy who began the year with splints on his legs.

The year nine girls asked if they could have a go and they loved it. These are girls who wouldn’t choose to take PE, but they walked around the school field without any complaints or worries about other groups seeing them and the other groups also didn’t shout comments. They have since asked to do the walk with poles again.

Being active as a family

There are also events that individuals, teams or families can take part in that are held in different parts of the country. Alistair (my son) and I took part in the 5km walk in Nottingham organised by British Nordic Walking and both really enjoyed it. I would love to enter a ‘Dronfield Nordic’ team next year.

I’m really keen to set up a family session in addition to the regular sessions I run. I already have a lady who comes with her 13-year-old son and he really enjoys it. I’ve had some interest and think it could be an exciting opportunity to pursue. One of the great things about Nordic Walking is how it’s accessible to any age and any level of fitness.

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