Fast Facts of Nordic walking

Updated: 2013-04-05 07:44

By Peng Yining (China Daily)

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Nordic walking is a type of physical activity, but to regular natural walking there has been added the use of a pair of specially designed Nordic walking poles.

Nordic walking was first developed by some cross-country skiers as an off-season ski-training activity in Finland in the 1930s.

In 1966, the first documented walking with ski poles outside of competitive sports training was demonstrated by a PE teacher in Helsinki. The idea of Nordic walking was born and was promoted as a physical activity which is suitable for all.

A Finnish technology company Exel produced the first Nordic walking poles in 1997, and coined and popularized the term Nordic walking.

Besides wrist straps, poles are equipped with shock-absorbing rubber tips and asphalt paws, which are ideal to use on pavement, indoor and outdoor tracks, on carpet and hard surfaces.

These can be used without the skis and the snow, at any time year-round, on any surface.

One year after the launch of the new sport, 160,000 Finns were practicing regularly, and today 520,000 out of the country's total population 5.3 million have already tried it.

The National Award for "The Health Promoting Action of the Year" was given to The Central Association for Recreational Sports and Outdoor Activities, which had a key role in inventing the recreation.

In 2000, the International Nordic Walking Association was founded. By 2010, Nordic walking was established in over 40 countries and regions, and about 10 million people were participating.

Source: International Nordic Walking Association website

(China Daily 04/05/2013 page8)