WALKERS were in pole position at Greenhead Park.
The new craze of Nordic walking has hit Huddersfield.
And the first training walk proved so popular, that the council will now be putting on twice as many sessions.
Around 40 beginners walked 5km around the park yesterday and their reasons included getting fit, losing weight and a new year’s resolution to get out more.
Doreen Hoyle retired from her role as a nursery nurse in the neo-natal unit at HRI in 2008 and was looking for a new adventure.
“I read about it in the paper and I thought I would just come along and give it a go because it sounded interesting,’’ she said.
“Any way to improve the fitness is a bonus.
“I go to the gym, but don’t really belong to any other fitness groups.
“I come with my friend, Jackie Ledger, but no doubt there will be a social aspect to this too.
“After doing the initial training session, we are really looking forward to getting out there and walking round the park.
“It has obviously proved popular as when I arrived here I met another woman I used to work with.
Nordic walking is fitness walking with specially designed poles.
It developed from an off-season ski-training activity to become a way of exercising year-round.
Helen Pearson and Pat Eddie are both in their early 60s and completed the 5km route.
Helen said: “We have been walking in Beaumont Park and I have done a health walk, but Nordic walking is a new experience.
“I think everybody just wants to get a bit fitter and this is something different.
“It’s nice to meet people and to get a great view of the park as well on such as nice day.”
Physical activity development officer Gill Logan said: “By using poles, walkers use the upper body muscles as well as their legs. They are actually working harder, but the poles offer support and so make it feel easier. The technique can also help reduce stress on knees and other joints.
“You can burn up to 40% more calories.
“We started it through the GP referral scheme, but it is open to anybody of all ages. All they need to do is contact us.
“The turnout was overwhelming and although we only planned on one session we sent out two groups in the morning and another in the afternoon.”
The Nordic walks are led by park warden Diane Clifford and instead of once fortnightly as originally planned, the Greenhead Park Nordic walking sessions will now be held weekly.
They start at 10.30am every Friday and usually last around an hour.
For people who are new to Nordic walking, there is a free half-hour session to learn the basic techniques, but places on this training must be booked in advance. It takes place prior to the walk.
Similarly, you must register to rent poles, which have a small hire charge of £1.
People taking part need to dress appropriately for the weather and as if they are going for a brisk walk and outdoor training shoes are ideal. To book or rent poles contact Diane Clifford on 0781 4387420.
Being a gentle sport, it is suitable for everyone of any age, even during convalescence.
Strengthens breathing capacity and heart function.
Relieves knees and back strain.
Uses 80% of your body muscles.
Expends twice the amount of calories than walking or jogging.
Due to improved oxygenation, the brain enjoys a healthier flow of blood, increasing brain capacity.