By Gill Stewart at
When Pauline a 58 year old admin assistant first saw Nordic Walking on the BBC Countryfile programme, she remembers thinking that it was something she might actually enjoy rather than do out of duty (like going to the gym!) She enjoyed walking but knew that was not quite enough to get the health benefits and fitness levels she wanted.
It was almost two years later that Pauline saw a NWUK offer for a FREE taster session in the METRO newspaper and decided to bite the bullet and contact her local Instructor Nikkii Barnett who runs the hugely successful group ‘Nordic Walking East London Essex’ See picture.
Pauline describes that first taster session as “Life changing!” she adds “ I knew immediately that this was what I was looking for – I love being outside and I bonded with Nikkii straight away. She’s so supportive and runs a professional but relaxed, friendly group. I was hooked”
Pauline completed her ‘Learn to Nordic walk’ course, gained the NWUK competence card and purchased her first 10 session card. “At first I thought I would only Nordic walk a couple of times a week at most but I soon found myself attending as many of Nikkii’s sessions as possible. Now its written in stone that I will go 3 times a week. There is so much variety and the people are lovely – I especially like the fact that I can go at my own pace so if I am having a bad day I drop back, amble along and have a natter but if I feel up for it ……… I gallop along and even enjoy the hill climbs!
The benefits have been massive for Pauline, she reports that her energy levels have improved and she has noticed a huge difference in her fitness. She recalls “ In the early days the hills were a real struggle and Nikkii would have to encourage me to get to the top but now I surprise myself by sometimes not even realising I am going uphill as I can chat all the way up!
I had some time off with a chest infection and the Christmas break last year and really noticed how my fitness levels dropped, so with Nikkiis encouragement I decided to make a determined effort and even trained for the local Race for life event”
Having ticked off over 100 walks with Nikkii, Pauline is a now confirmed Nordic Walker and tries to go out daily if she can. “I am totally happy to Nordic Walk on my own and often do” she says “mind you, the time goes so quickly in the group and I absolutely love it! Nordic walking is just such a gentle way to stay active without hurting anything or over doing it and its great for the mind too – I found it such a relief when I was feeling low after losing my Mum”
Nikkii is one of over 2,000 NWUK Instructors who run groups across the UK. Her programme is packed with a variety of walks and classes for all levels with at least one session every day. Nikkii now has 4 trained walk leaders to help with the group so often there are two walks a day with the most popular being Saturday which attracts between 25 and 30 regulars.