Taking to the trails: the teachings of Nordic Walking

It takes 10,000 steps to be considered active. 

But with the help of some local and territorial organizations, more people will be taking more steps in a completely different way. 

Or continuing too. Nordic walking is something that’s already started to gain attention in the town. 

It looks like skiing, poles and all, though it’s not nearly as speedy. Sheena Tremblay, the Active Communities coordinator for NWT Recreation and Parks Association, came to Hay River on Saturday to teach a small group of potential nordic walking leaders who can also go on to teach others to be leaders. The town had a nordic walking club last year, but this year’s training is potential for the activity to reach further.

But maybe most importantly for the town and surrounding communities, Tremblay taught Recreation Programmer Emma Harper, along with Vivianne Cadieux of Enterprise. Both are planning to hold facilitator workshops as well as lead their own walking clubs on local trails.

It’s been something that’s been catching on in the North for the last five or more years, said Tremblay.

“I think someone from our organization saw the activity down south and thought it would be good for Northern communities,” she said. “The other side of nordic walking is skiing, but nordic walking can be done in the summertime as well.”

Since then, NWTRPA has led countless nordic walking and ‘teach the leader’ workshops from Norman Wells to Tsiigehtchic.

One of the main things the Association pushed is the need for physical activity in the North, especially because the higher instance of obesity and Type 2 diabetes are becoming extremely prevalent in health care initiatives.

The club that will be led by Harper will also be promoted as a joined effort through the Health and Social Services Diabetes Program.  Harper saw the potential for collaboration and went with it.

“Their program has a nutritional component but they don’t have an exercise component,” said Harper. “They don’t have enough people to be able to do both.”

The nordic walking club will begin meeting in early October at the Recreation Centre. Harper is also hoping to have a program for seniors.

Harper is looking to hold a Nordic Walking Leaders Workshop early next year to further keep those who are looking for more activities in the winter months.

Along with this the RPA will be holding another annual walking challenge. Last year, the challenge was put out to groups to add up each individual distance travelled, combine, and compete against other teams across the territory. They were tasked with making it from Fort Providence to Tuk.

Those who would like to come out to the Nordic walking club, the first meeting will be on Oct. 5, will be $2 to drop in, and will continue every Wednesday until the end of November.