You are currently viewing The benefits of Nordic walking in a group

Our Christmas party last Thursday made me appreciate what an amazing club we have at Bristol Nordic Walking.  It was a pretty miserable evening – the sort you’d definitely rather stay in than go out – but over 60 of you turned out to be with us.  Not only that, but the tables were absolutely groaning with delicious food, much of it home made.  There literally was no further space to put anything! 

Many of you didn’t know anyone that well – and yet you came.  On the way home I was reflecting on this: your kindness towards us by coming and supporting us; your enthusiasm to meet up with the people you’ve been walking with over the year; your love of Nordic walking; your chatter; and, of course, your laughter!  It brought to mind one of my most loved pieces of prose, written by John Donne in 1642:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

Being part of a club is rewarding in so many ways – and it took our Christmas party to remind me.  Here’s what I appreciate:

  1. Meeting new people and making new friends – and everyone who is attracted to Nordic walking seems to be really interesting and great company!
  2. Learning a new skill – in our case Nordic walking – with others.  Seemingly easy on the surface, Nordic walking is a lot more complicated than most people think and it’s great discussing its nuances with others and becoming more knowledgeable about both Nordic walking and the human body in general.
  3. Having a reason to get out.  In the winter months in particular it’s tempting to slip into ‘hibernation’ mode.  Those regular classes and the friends we’ve made provide the motivation to get out and get active – and feel so much better for it.
  4. Getting fit and being part of other people’s fitness journey.  All of us enjoy the increased total body fitness that comes with Nordic walking – but, more rewarding than this, is watching those around us reach health and fitness milestones.  In the New Year we will be working to introduce a fitness development pathway for all our walkers.
  5. Getting those discounts at the cafes and outdoor shops.  Maybe I’m a simple soul – but I love it when I walk into a café or shop and get a Nordic walking membership discount!  It’s confirmation that other people recognise us and value our custom – as well as the obvious fact that I get money off as well.
  6. Having an excuse to walk in new areas and see more of our beautiful British countryside – and next year, of course, having a reason to go to Finland and try cross-country skiing.
  7. Being part of a revolution (and it’s not often you can say that once you’ve past your 20s!).  We are part something that is growing and exciting.  People are talking about Nordic walking; wanting to know what this fitness trend is all about.  It’s potential both in health and fitness terms is huge and I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I feel part of something profound, something that is way bigger than myself and which has the potential to change people’s lives.

I think our club is brilliant (am I allowed to say that?).  We have an increasing team of fantastic instructors, superwoman Nina at the admin helm, and, more importantly, the most magnificent group of loyal walkers.  Thanks to your enthusiasm and support we have expanded from twelve regular weekly walks this time last year to twenty-seven now.  We have doubled from three to six instructors and have over 100 walkers who have joined our membership scheme.  With your help, we want to keep developing Bristol Nordic Walking and turn it into one of the best clubs in the country (if not the best).  Thank you for your encouragement and thank you for your involvement.  Here’s to an exciting 2016.



No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne (Meditation XVII)