Community Project: Nordic Walking for osteoporosis and osteoarthritis

 Nordic Walking osteoarthritis osteoporosis

Stockport-based Life Leisure, working closely with the Osteoporosis Society, began this project in August 2018. It also works closely with other services such as NHS physiotherapy teams on hip and knee pain projects and falls prevention schemes for older adults. They came across research that suggested Nordic Walking improves bone and muscular strength in older adults and those with osteoporosis

From this came the idea to create a local walking group for people with osteoarthritis and, having trained with British Nordic Walking, Claire Duffy and a colleague, designed a 10-week course for beginners. They presented the idea to their professional contacts who were very supportive. 

The first course had eight participants, all retired women aged between 60 and 73 with a 100% completion rate, and they continued to run the 10-week courses until March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic drew activities to a halt. Overall, up to this point, the project has worked with 25 participants. The plan is to resume Nordic Walking courses as soon as is practical. 

Physical benefits of Nordic Walking

Each course began with a sit and stand test, measuring how many repetitions each person could complete in one week. The test was repeated in week 10. The improvement was clear to see. In the first course the scores were: 

Week 1

Week 10

















All subsequent courses showed similar results. 

Social benefits of Nordic Walking 

Nordic Walking Life Leisure

Each group became close to one another, enjoying coffee together after their Nordic Walking sessions, meeting for walks outside the project sessions, creating a WhatsApp group, and continuing to meet after the course was over.

Participants report feeling less isolated now that they have made new relationships and have a purpose to socialise.

Learning to Nordic Walk has increased their confidence and many have also taken up other gym and exercise activities that Life Leisure provides. 

They are always keen to talk to newer attendees and advocate Nordic Walking.


Back to blog