Nordic Walking making strides in the Borders

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A former gym instructor has retrained and is offering Nordic Walking in the region.

Earlston’s Careen Paterson is running two classes in her home village and in Melrose so far and is enthusiastic about the whole body exercise.

She said: “It burns more calories than ordinary walking, tones your whole body and feels easier than walking. It’s sociable, as you can chat as you go, and it’s easy to learn and keep up.”

Nordic Walking dates back to the 1930s when competitive cross country skiers in Finland started to use poles in their off season training when there was no snow.

“They realized this was giving them a massive advantage and that the technique was a perfect training aid which kept their heart and lungs in top condition and ensured upper and lower body muscles remained in top shape, “ explained Careen.

The activity grew in popularity over mainland Europe and is catching on in Britain.

“Nordic Walking is one of the fastest growing exercise activities in the UK, “ said Careen.

She became an instructor through Nordic Walking UK, explaining: “I qualified as a fitness instructor in 2010, and after having worked at a small private gym for some time, I wanted to add to my skills and start my own business.

“Nordic Walking is an enhancement of ordinary walking, it makes something everyone can do twice as effective. It does this by the 
use of poles to engage the muscles of the upper body as you walk.”

The activity should not be confused with trekking she warned, explaining: “The poles are not planted in front of the body, but in a specific way that increases the use of the upper body.

“It is a fitness technique, a healthy walking concept, a rehabilitative tool, and a highly effective exercise for sports conditioning and cross training. Learning the correct technique is essential to get the most out of the activity.”

What she loves also about it, aside from its help with core strength and back mobility, is that it can be done anywhere, by all ages and fitness levels and no specialist clothing is required.

The marathon runner, who works as a guide in Bowhill House during the summer, has competed in local triathlons and also runs kettlebell classes in Earlston.

Anyone interested in trying Nordic Walking should contact Careen through her Facebook page – Nordic Walking Borders- or at nordwalkbord@gmail.com