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Nordic Walking

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Nordic walking is a low-impact exercise using specially designed poles to enhance your natural walking ability. Walking with poles means that exertion is shared between the upper and lower body, so it feels easier than normal walking, particularly uphill. Nordic walking puts less strain on joints than other activities and can be effective for people with mobility issues or those recovering from injuries. This style of walking has significant health benefits, such as increased energy levels, improved condition of muscles, heart and lungs and helps address medical conditions such as heart disease, dementia, stress, and obesity.

This project aims to create Nordic walking groups across London, targeting groups that are traditionally under-represented in walking because of health, culture, ability, and access to information or equipment. Lasting between 1-2 hours, these walks can take place in any neighbourhood or park, through quiet streets and green spaces. Walking poles will be provided for all participants and participants are advised to wear comfortable shoes, such as walking boots or trainers.

The project will be led by a paid walk leader initially and then volunteers will be identified and trained to continue the project as walk leaders. Walks will be planned by the walk leader and delivered fortnightly or monthly. As volunteers become trained as walk leaders, walks can take place on a more regular basis, for example weekly or twice weekly. The walks will start and end in one location, for example, a school or community centre. This will enable participants to become familiar with walking routes from this location and in the surrounding area. As walks become more frequent, additional locations can be added throughout the borough and London to enable the group to expand and explore new areas.


Target audience and engagement

  • The primary target audience for this project is older people, minority ethnic participants, people with a long-term illness, and those who are traditionally under-represented in walking activities
  • A secondary target audience would be refugees and asylum seekers, disadvantaged, and all of those who are traditionally under-represented in walking activities. Barriers would need to be addressed to ensure these target beneficiaries participate
  • Target audience recruited via your organisation’s current membership (if applicable), community partners, other local charities and organisations, local NHS health facilities




  • Medium (50 participants each year)
  • Geographically - anywhere 


Equipment needed


  • Nordic walking poles (one pair per participant)
  • Hi-Vis jackets/vests
  • First aid kits (and refills)


Resources needed


-Project Leader

  • Form relationships with local organisations, NHS facilities etc. to recruit participants
  • Oversee project and ensure all funding criteria and documentation is met
  • Run risk assessment for safeguarding, injuries and identify any other concerns which may affect project delivery (a Risk Assessment template is available on the Resources page here)
  • Ensure health & safety, and safeguarding policies are in place, robust, and adhered to
  • Gather feedback from participants 

-Nordic Walk Leader

  • Run the Nordic walking sessions
  • Ensure participants feel confident and well looked-after
  • Must be a qualified and experienced instructor, preferably with experience working with the target audience


  • Help participants with the sessions and provide encouragement
  • Contribute to overseeing activity and potentially fix any equipment issues
  • Eventually overtake one instructor’s role to reduce the overall cost of the project
  • Training opportunities for participants to become volunteers

-Storage Space

  • You will need somewhere to store equipment. This could be at a community centre, in an existing office, or perhaps another local business that has a storage facility


  • Flyers and posters for publicity of the sessions
  • Social media advertising (if appropriate)


Estimated project costs

  •  Nordic walking instructor (£150/day x 20 days) - £3000
  • Project manager and admin - £800
  • Nordic walking poles (£22 x 25 pairs) - £550
  • DBS checks for leaders and volunteers - £150
  • Printing and publicity - £200
  • First aid kit - £40
  • His-Vis jackets/vests - £80
  • Storage facility - £150


Top tips/key learnings

  • Engage with and listen to every participant; they will provide valuable insights into how you can improve your project
  • Walks and activities should be planned to adapt to participant needs, offering options for less active participants or those who are initially harder to engage
  • Revise risk assessments of the activities at intermittent points to ensure activities run safely and more smoothly
  • Take advantage of the training programme that is offered by Walking and Cycling Grants London


Maximising local contacts

  • Engage with any existing community networks you may have to recruit participants
  • Utilise networks to get in-kind support (volunteer organisations and local centres, community centres, schools etc.)


This idea has been influenced and developed from multiple WCGL projects. If you decide to run your own version of this project in your community, please email us at We love to hear that we are inspiring people to walk and cycle.