Since the early 20th century various forms of walking with poles have been used by cross country skiers to maintain physical fitness over the summer months, however the development of the form of fitness walking with specially designed poles we see today is much more recent. In 1985 an American cross country skier and coach called Tom Rutlin combined fitness walking with a variation of his ski poles to invent what he called the ‘Exerstrider’ technique.
Then, more than 10 years later, during the spring of 1997 a Finnish sports institute and ski pole company came together to engineer special high performance poles and to develop a refined technique which would deliver the maximum health and fitness benefits. Thus it was in Finland that today's most widely used form of fitness walking with poles was born - hence the name ‘Nordic walking’. The rapid global rise and popularity of Nordic walking is practically incomparable to any other sport or activity. Being such a time-efficient, low-stress, social and challenging total body workout that almost anyone can do is a tremendous and truly unbeatable combination - which gives plenty of reason as to just why Scandinavians and masses of Europeans have taken to Nordic walking as their favourite activity so quickly. And it is no surprise that it is now spreading rapidly to every corner of the world, with amazing growth and popularity now happening in the US, UK, and Asia.
In Australia, Nordic walking is in its early days – this new (and at first slightly weird looking) activity is just beginning to become widely known and accepted. There are however, already a large number of dedicated and passionate enthusiasts who are regularly hitting our city and suburban footpaths, long beaches and beautiful nature trails with their specially designed fitness walking poles. The contagious enthusiasm of these people combined with qualified instructors and the proven popularity and success worldwide means that the Nordic Walking movement is set to skyrocket here.