By Gill Stewart at
When Itsik Levy and inspirational fitness and health pioneer from Israel came to the UK to train with us, he wanted more than simply being an Instructor. He was so inspired by how Nordic Walking had grown in the UK and the difference it was making to Peoples lives, so he came back to train up as an NWUK Tutor.
Now Itsik runs our first NWUK International centre and is training NWUK Accredited Instructors in Israel. Using a combination of the Exerstrider method and our bespoke gear system, Itsik’s organisation “Ecogym” has now trained 11 Nordic Walking instructors according to Nordic Walking UK criteria, and they are busy organizing fitness walking groups all over Israel.
In cooperation with “Eshel”-The Organization for Planning and Development of Services for the Elderly in Israel, they have also trained 80 community instructors, who are establishing Nordic Walking groups for retirees and senior citizens in local municipalities throughout Israel. Furthermore, they have trained tens of volunteers who assist the instructors in the seniors’ walking groups.
Itsik tells us “Over the course of two years, from 2011-2012, we have instructed over 2,000 walkers ranging from teens to seniors in municipal workshops, fitness demonstrations, medical conventions, national sporting events, work places, schools, hospitals, and physical therapy centers”
Ecogym has also established strong ties with Orthopaedic physicians in Israel, who recognize the virtues of Nordic Walking for patients suffering from arthritis, spinal cord injuries, and problems of balance. These doctors frequently refer patients to Itsik’s instructors who then match the patient’s needs with the appropriate walking technique and poles. Furthermore the team have presented Nordic Walking to academic classes of students studying Physical Therapy (PT), and to staff members of PT centres in various (Kupot Holim) Israeli Health Maintenance Organizations. They have also given classes in Department of Education continued education courses, attended by Physical Education graduates.
Ecogym works closely with the Sports Authority of Israel, dedicated to advancing popular sports and healthy life styles in Israel. The goal is to assimilate Nordic Walking on the Israeli scene as a popular sport that can promote health. To that end, Ecogym offers workshops to local municipalities, designed to promote the exposure of Nordic Walking and expand this branch of sport for all populations throughout the country.
The Parkinson’s Association of Israel has now shown great interest in Nordic Walking for its members, and encourages them to enrol and participate in the walking groups. There are three Nordic Walking groups of Parkinson patients that have been active for the past 15 months.
We are delighted to have supported Itsik and his team and are proud of all they are achieving in Israel.
We are currently seeking other International partners who would like to develop and promote Nordic Walking using the NWUK standards, systems and methods. All material provided. Call Kaye on 0044 1234 714415.