Community Project: Step Forth supported by Paths for All

Nordic Walking Paths for All Falkirk

Step Forth is a led health walks scheme, run by Falkirk Community Trust, which promotes local led and independent walking for individuals and groups in and around the Falkirk district area. It’s aim is to get more people active within their own communities especially those who are sedentary, who live in areas of poor health or who are socially isolated. It is aimed at all ages, abilities and is free and accessible. 

The project decided to add Nordic Walking to the health walk mix because they learned that 20 years ago Finland was like Scotland today, with serious health problems, and people leading sedentary lives who were obese and had mental health issues. The Finnish government introduced a health policy that targeted, diet and physical activity. One of these activities was Nordic Walking. It is a 90% body workout, didn't need expensive equipment, got people out in the fresh air, and nearly everyone could do it. Finland is now one of the healthiest nations in the world. 

The project aimed to: 

  1. Introduce Nordic Walking to their walkers as a progression from the walking groups.
  2. Promote Nordic Walking to everyone in the Falkirk district area.
  3. Promote the Helix park project.

A small grant enabled four people to qualify as INWA Nordic Walking instructors and a number of Nordic Walk Leaders were trained to support them. The project was then able to offer Nordic Walking classes and walks, starting in February 2012. 

The Nordic Walking project has attracted a range of people with women aged from 18 to 60 and men from35 to 65. They were not regular exercisers but liked the idea of finding a new activity that got them out in the fresh air and kept them fit. Nordic walking also appealed to teenage girls who came along with mum and enjoyed the walks. 

Since February 2012, over 400 people have been through the project’s training classes. Most participants have lost weight and noted many physical and social benefits, as well as finding new pathways in their local area to explore. Feedback for the project has been extremely positive.

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