While a familiar pastime and way to stay active in many European countries and other parts of Canada, Nordic walking is not an activity commonly seen in our little corner of the world – unless you’re in the town of Paradise, that is.
During the summer and fall of 2021, the Town of Paradise partnered with a local Nordic walking instructor to try out the activity with residents.
When seen, Nordic walking looks like cross country skiing but without the skis or the snow! Walkers use a specific technique and specially designed poles – which the town bought with a Wellness Coalition-Avalon East grant – to propel themselves along a trail or sidewalk. Like regular walking, Nordic walking uses the lower body but also engages the arms, shoulders, and back of the upper body. It has low impact on hip, knee, and foot joints, and improves cardiovascular fitness and posture. (1)
The Paradise pilot offered weekly instructor-led sessions. The opportunity to try something new attracted adults and older adults who weren’t usual participants of the town’s recreation programs. Once participants learned the technique and gained confidence in their abilities, some of them requested to borrow the poles for independent walks outside of those that were scheduled because they enjoyed the activity so much.
Though not a mainstay on the group recreation schedule, the Town offers rentals of the poles to interested individuals. For more information contact Aimee Coles, Recreation Coordinator at email@example.com
The past couple of years we’ve had to pivot – yes, there’s that word again – and become more creative than ever in figuring out how to connect safely. Gathering in the great outdoors is one of the ways we can do that. Breathing in fresh air, engaging in outside activities, and connecting to nature can have positive effects on our physical and mental health.
Member-schools of the Wellness Coalition-Avalon East (WCAE) have embraced the outside, using both the natural surroundings available to them such as open fields or trails, and the built environment like parking lots and play structures, to expand the walls of their schools and potential for learning. With the assistance of WCAE grants, schools such as Topsail Elementary and Upper Gullies Elementary turned their parking lots into “game lots” by painting game templates of tic-tac-toe and twister on the pavement to encourage play and movement during recess and lunch.
Other schools are using the outside as an Outdoor Classroom. Beachy Cove Elementary, Rennie’s River Elementary, Newtown Elementary, Bishop Abraham Elementary, and Mobile Central High are creating spaces on school grounds to teach gardening, science, music, reading, writing, and physical education. Being in the natural environment encourages students to discover and experiment beyond the walls of the traditional classroom.
Interested in joining our network of wellness-minded community groups, organizations, and schools? Membership is free and more info can be found here.