Here are answers to some of the more common questions we encounter.
If you have a query of any sort, no matter how small, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone (0845 468 0899) or by email, using our contact form.
• Herne Bay
Taster sessions and “Learn to Walk” courses are generally held in parks and open spaces within the main town centre, but once you’ve learnt to walk, the focus is on enjoying the beautiful downland, coastal, woodland and public footpaths that are available in abundance in the villages and countryside just outside these towns.
If your town isn’t listed here and you can organise 3 or 4 friends to join you, we would be happy to consider starting a group in your area. We will consider travelling as far as Maidstone in the West, Gillingham in the North, New Romney in the South, Thanet and Dover in the East. .
You need to complete all element of the training before you can join any of the regular classes, so if for instance, you miss Session 2 of the 4-week course, you’ll need to make up that time later. We won’t charge you any extra to attend missed sessions.
You are welcome to join the “Learn to Nordic Walk” course without having attended a taster session if you’ve already had an introduction to walking with poles, but the terms of our insurance don’t allow us to admit walkers to regular classes unless they have been exposed to all the fundamental elements of Nordic Walking. This can only be guaranteed by attending the training. Of course, if you’ve done the training elsewhere and have your NWUK Freedom Passport, we’re more than happy to have you join a regular class without further training.
When you first contact us, we will ask you to complete a health assessment form, which will give you the opportunity to detail any health issues you may have. We will review this form before the taster session and contact you to discuss your needs if we deem it necessary. In some cases, we will ask your permission to contact your GP in order to confirm that it is safe for you to exercise, but when we do this, doctors generally give our programme the green light. This is because they understand the value and flexibility of Nordic Walking and also because they will be aware that your classes will be designed, delivered and overseen by an Exercise Referral Specialist, i.e an exercise professional who has received specialist training which enables them to plan and deliver exercise programmes which take into account the needs of people with a wide range of medical conditions, from skeletal conditions and high blood pressure, to diabetes and cardio-vascular problems.
It may be that having consulted with you and your GP, we all decide that you would do best in one of our Wellbeing classes, which are specially tailored to meet the needs of people who need extra support to help them manage health conditions. Whatever your health concern, it is very likely that we can find a way to adapt our programme to meet your needs. Our class motto is “no-one gets left behind” – and that includes you.
Your poles are no doubt excellent, but they are TREKKING poles and are therefore not suitable for Nordic Walking. The two types of poles may appear very similar, but there are two important differences which distinguish Nordic Walking poles from their trekking cousins:
- Nordic Walking poles have hand-specific straps (ie left and right), which are fitted close to the hand in order to maximise the propulsion of the body forward that is fundamental to the Nordic style of walking. By contrast, trekking poles have basic handles, whose function is mainly to assist in retaining control of the pole.
- Nordic Walking poles are fitted with angled rubber pads or “paws” which are removable and used to assist in walking on hard surfaces such as pavements. Trekking poles often have pads as well, but they are rarely angled to the correct degree, since the plant of the pole on the ground for trekking is in front of the body in order to support, whereas the plant in Nordic Walking is behind the body in order to propel forwards.
We have a range of specialist poles available to use during class, so there is no need to make do with a pole which was designed for a different purpose.
The NWEK price list probably does appear a bit over-complicated at first glance, but we wanted to offer our customers as many opportunities as possible to save money, at the same time as not excluding those whose weekly or monthly budget doesn’t allow them to lay out the larger sums required to pay for 10 sessions or a 3-month membership.
Here’s the price list summarised: you can choose to pay for single sessions or prepay for 4, 10 or 20s.
You certainly can have 1:1 sessions to teach you the correct technique for Nordic Walking if that’s definitely what you want (contact us for details), but if it’s merely past experience of exercise classes that’s put you off being a group, you should consider the following first.
One of the beauties of the way in which we deliver our Nordic Walking programme is that you have a ready-made peer group. Since the overwhelming majority of people who contact us have no previous experience of Nordic Walking, they will almost all attend a taster session, followed by a 4-week course in the same time slot. This means that everyone in your class for the first five weeks will be at exactly the same stage as you. These training classes are small (no more than 12) and we work hard to ensure that they are fun, friendly and inclusive, with people being paired up to undertake exercises and drills together. By the time you are ready to graduate from the class and receive your Freedom Passport, the chances are you will all be friends for life!
After your first five weeks, you have the option of joining a regular class of people who started before you, or staying with your peer group…or both if you want to walk more than once per week. Whatever you decide, as a confirmed Nordic Walker, you will find a group of people who are very keen to welcome you into our little club – as Nordic Walkers, we all do something that puzzles the rest of the world, so everyone who joins us makes us feel a little less like we’re crazy!
We’ve found that the excitement generated by meeting new people and other doggies can sometimes be overwhelming for dogs who come on group walks, to the point where it detracts from the purpose of the group. We would therefore request that you reserve Nordic Walking with your dog for when you walk at home, rather than in NWEK classes.
We operate a “No Bad Weather – Just Bad Clothing” policy. This means we aim to walk in all weather, providing it is safe to do so and will therefore not generally cancel a scheduled class due to wet or snowy conditions. If we decide that it is unsafe to walk, we will contact you, so please make sure we have up-to-date contact information on file.
We strongly prefer where possible for walkers to pay online before the class takes place, as this saves time at the beginning of walks, which can then be spent more productively addressing any walk-related issues or concerns you may have. We use GoCardless as our online processor, but you can also pay by bank transfer (BACS).