By Gill Stewart at
Kerley aged 51 a former hospital nurse from Cheshire with 15 years experience of adult medical and surgical nursing had a career break raising 4 sons and 2 dogs during which time she worked in various roles in the voluntary sector including facilitating parenting programmes and Scouting .
Despite always attempting to include activity into her life (Aerobics, Gym Ball etc) Kerley felt she was still quite unfit. She hated the gym which she found frenetic, noisy and she loathed being inside church halls and community centres on glorious days.
In 2006, she did a Nordic Walking taster session whilst on holiday at Centre Parcs but when she returned home could find no local instructors so bought a set of poles and with the aid of you tube, attempted to teach herself!!It wasn’t until 2 years later that she picked up a flyer promoting local Instructor Allen Ward and was delighted to find that under an instructor’s guidance she could dramatically improve technique and get the full benefits Nordic Walking has to offer in terms of fitness and body shaping.
Having always struggled with her weight, Kerley loved the fact that Nordic walking burned more calories and was outdoors. Other benefits were that she could combine it with walking the dogs which saved time and allowed her to escape from the demands of a busy lifestyle, the demands of 4 teenage lads and an untidy house.
Kerley says “Primarily I love the sense of well being it gives me : being close to the natural world, seeing the seasons change, hearing birds singing combined with the rhythmic movements of Nordic walking has a calming meditative effect. It enables me to think, plan and feel that all is well in my world and all will be well. Nordic walking has a
wonderful restorative effect and I can think of no better place to be than on top of a hill with my dogs on a beautiful sunny day, with buzzards circling against a blue sky “
Kerley took the plunge and decided to become an Instructor herself and these days, with dog walking and Nordic Walking she averages about 30 miles a week. Her fitness has improved massively and she is delighted that she manages hills without becoming breathless and can even run, skip, bound with the poles for short distances.
“My goal is to introduce the benefits of Nordic walking to as many people as I can” she says!
Her general clients range from 15-70 years old with the average being 50ish and fairly active but she is just starting her NORDIC WELLBEING classes aimed at those who would find a one hour walk too challenging.
Kerley also offers the Nordic weight loss course to her clients because she lost 19lbs and has managed to keep the weight off and thinks it is a valuable tool for those looking to change their attitudes to eating and activity.
More recently, Kerley has embarked on the Exercise referral course which will help her to teach exercise to those with Specific medical conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes and heart conditions. The training covers the conditions, the drugs used to control them and of course, the type of exercise advised. Although a lot of work,
she thoroughly enjoyed the course and welcomed the support of the NWUK Tutors Trish, Jason and Emma.
“I feel I have consolidated my nursing knowledge and increased my knowledge of fitness enormously” she says. Kerley has also continued to learn more by observing at the cardiac rehabilitation and heart failure sessions at the nearby Halton Hospital and by working alongside the neuro physio treating her husband, Ted,who has both Parkinsons Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
Other courses Kerley would like to do in the future are Children’s fitness and level 4 Cardiac rehabilitation.
Kerley now teaches 8 sessions a week (daytime, 2 evenings and a Saturday and Sunday) and has 22 committed regular walkers plus 10 or so who dib in and out! Some
sessions are better attended than others but she tries to offer flexibility and availability with the help of her community Instructor Gillie Kilner. The walkers can enjoy reduced payment options if they do walk regularly as Kerley offers booking cards and even a monthly membership.
“I have always been prepared to work with small numbers, It may not be best business practice but the more people who complete the LTNW course, the bigger pool of people there are to feed into the walking groups” she says.
Kerley maintains that the help and advice from the friendly team at Nordic Walking UK has really helped her to succeed. “The marketing package and manual provided a structure for the business allowing for retention of clients which was crucial in the early
stages. The advertising materials are professional and have been really useful but the it’s the backup from Nordic Walking UK, the networking with other Instructors , the conferences and training courses that are second to none – everyone is really helpful and friendly”
Kerley’s advice for Instructors looking to launch Nordic Walking is simple…make sure you make use of the excellent training & business support and be prepared to add the
following: Flexibility, Hard work & Affability! Oh, and do NOT cancel due to low numbers because if you stick with it you will build up a loyal customer base.
Finally, Kerley says she has no intention of giving up “I absolutely love it!!!!!! Every class is like meeting up with friends. The knowledge and skills I have gained has been invaluable in helping my husband, Ted, and I feel great!”