My name is Arlene Bowmaker and among the many ‘hats that I wear’ in my working life are Nordic Walking (NW) Instructor and National Coach for British Nordic Walking (BNW).
One of the things I love about being a NW instructor is that we come from a diverse range of backgrounds. For some, sport and exercise was already a lifestyle feature and the NW became a natural evolution, for others discovering NW was that defining moment of finding an easily accessible and social outdoor activity that having labelled themselves the non-sporty type fitted without ruining that label!
I thought I would share my journey in the NW world so far, from that first free taster workshop at a Pilates conference, to be being a National Trainer in Scotland and regularly delivering NW Instructor training courses in addition to an ‘Introduction to NW’ workshops for those interested.
So wind the clock back to 2011; a Pilates Conference in London there was a free early morning session entitled ‘Nordic walking a taster session’ and it went on to describe it as a way to take Pilates upright and outside.
Intrigued and always looking value for money (well you know how expensive conferences are especially when you add your travel and accommodation) I signed up. Fortunately it was a glorious autumn morning and Regents Park was a spectacular setting, what was there not to like? From my first introduction to the poles my physiotherapy training kicked in. I kept thinking of how I could apply this in a clinical setting as part of client rehabilitation, to increasing exercise tolerance, as an outdoor falls prevention programme and as a way to encourage activity and the socialisation aspects that surround it.
Sold on NW, I bought a pair of poles and I was off on a journey of self-exploration to find my coordination and streamline the 10 step process. Being the only person walking around my small hometown I attracted lots of questions and comments. The old ones are the best but get tedious…yes I know there is no snow and No I haven’t lost my skis!
So long story short it wasn’t long before I decided to complete my NW Instructor training so that I could start formally introducing it to clients rather than just experiencing the benefits myself and telling them about it.
Shortly after becoming an Instructor the opportunity arose to participate in further training and become a National NW Coach and I didn’t need any persuading.
My NW adventures have brought me to Poland, Latvia and Spain, as well as spectacular Scottish venues, allowed me to meet fellow NW from many of the member countries (NW in Afghanistan…who knew?!) and of course build relationships with the fantastic team of National Coaches and Instructors at BNW.
At this stage I’ve lost count of the number of Nordic Walks I’ve participated in and the adjectives I could use to describe them are endless; long, short, sunny, dry, sponsored, challenging, exhilarating, inspiring, uplifting, circular, linear, virtual ( thanks to World Walking App), but NEVER EVER boring!
Based in Falkirk in Central Scotland and working as a physiotherapist in private practice I continue to be passionate about introducing Life Fit Wellness clients to the benefits of NW and run regular workshops. In addition I love teaching others to become NW Instructors and the fact that we come from so many different backgrounds means it’s guaranteed we continue to promote NW far and wide.
Our next ‘Introduction to NW’ workshop is on 5th October at 9am in Callendar Park, Falkirk. It lasts for 2 hours and in that time we explore warm up and cool down exercises, the 10 step process of NW as well as fun drills which challenge balance and co-ordination. At the end of the session the plan is you treat yourself to a pair of poles and get practising yourself at a time that suits you, or you join our weekly evening sessions to further practice and meet others.
The next BNW Instructor course in Falkirk is scheduled for 26th/27th October and I would be delighted to welcome you. We use the physiotherapy practice as our indoor base and the scenic surrounds of Callendar Park for all our outdoor practice.
I am happy to advise with your travel and accommodation plans especially if you aren’t local, and want to make a holiday out of it and stay for longer to discover the Falkirk Wheel, the Kelpies and the John Muir Way to mention just a few of our local landmarks.
If you already are an instructor remember we will be hosting a Scottish NW event in Spring 2020 (date still to be confirmed) but meanwhile please feel free to get in contact and register your interest.
In the meantime I count myself privileged to continue to deliver two NW sessions weekly with a fantastic group of individuals exploring local locations. I’m the girl from Northern Ireland leading folk who are local to the area to discover new paths and places on their doorstep!
Being a NW Instructor is such a rewarding, diverse role. Over the years I’ve met so many from a wide variety backgrounds each bringing something special to the NW sessions they deliver based on the other ‘hats’ they currently wear or previous career or life experiences.
So perhaps you too have discovered the benefits of NW in which case definitely consider taking that next step to train as an Instructor and share the love! Who knows where that first step will take you? I don’t know, but what I do know is you’ll have fun, get fitter and meet some great folk en route.
Maybe see you in Falkirk folks?