Nordic Walking and Healthy Ageing October 23 2019
We’re pleased to announce that British Nordic Walking has become Signatory on the Consensus on Healthy Ageing, joining more than 60 leading public and voluntary sector organisations in an initiative from Public Health England to help achieve a shared vision “for England to be the best place in the world to grow older, giving everyone the opportunities and support they need to have a healthy and good quality later life and making the best use of the strengths, skills and experience of older people.“
The Consensus on Healthy Ageing has five commitment, which we believe Nordic Walking is able to support.
Putting prevention first and ensuring timely access to services and support when needed
We believe prevention is important. Nordic Walking can be enjoyed at any age and with the majority of Nordic Walkers in the 45-70 age range is a valuable way for older people to keep active. People can continue to Nordic Walk in to their 80s and remain fit and active doing a form of exercise that has evidence for its health benefits for many long term medical conditions.
Removing barriers and creating more opportunities for older adults to contribute to society
Many of our Nordic Walking instructors that deliver Nordic Walking to community groups are older adults, either career changers or retired. They experience a boost in self-esteem when they learn the skills and knowledge of a Nordic Walking instructor and discover a new way to contribute to their community. They run classes either as a way of supplementing income or do this valuable role entirely as a volunteer.
Ensuring good homes and communities
Loneliness is a growing problem with older adults. Our instructors create friendly, sociable classes that help isolated people make new friends.
The provision of free (or nominal charge) Nordic Walking classes by community groups and not for profit organisations across the UK has meant that Nordic Walking can be taken up by people from a wide range of backgrounds. It is an affordable activity; the participant can Nordic Walk anywhere, town or country. All they need is a pair of poles; no special clothing nor footwear is required.
Challenging ageist and negative language, culture and practices
We have many examples of uplifting stories about older Nordic Walkers and Nordic Walking Instructors inspiring others to be more active. They are great examples of how older adults can still make a significant impact. Here is a video from the Nottingham ‘This Girl Can’ project about Alison Clark, a retired nurse who took up Nordic Walking then became an instructor. Since this video was shot, she has set up a special Nordic Walking group for older adults and people with long term medical conditions including Parkinson’s.