I had the pleasure and privilege of attending the INWA Convention in London this year. It was hosted by British Nordic Walking with over 80 delegates from many countries including Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, Poland, Netherlands, Japan, New Zealand, USA, Slovenia, China, Sweden, Iceland, Germany, Italy and Ireland to name a few, plus many Instructors from the UK.
The venue for the convention was the Victory Services Club (VSC), Seymour Street, near Marble Arch and Hyde Park, with most of the delegates taking up the advantage of a discount price to stay at this private club.
The event started on Thursday morning on Hyde Park with a Re-qualification Course for INWA
Nordic Walking Instructors to update themselves on the “10 Step Teaching Method TM “. The opening Ceremony, dinner and entertainment took place in the evening at the VSC with Aki Karihtala (President of the International Nordic Walking Federation) officially opening the event. This was followed by a moving presentation from the Japan Nordic Fitness Association describing how the Tsunami and Earthquake had affected their members in and around Japan.
The second day (Friday) commenced with a welcome from Paul Stevenson (Vice President of INWA & Board Chairman), followed by an outline for the day from Karen Ingram (National Coach for Wales & Director British Nordic Walking) and Catherine Hughes (National Coach for England & Director British Nordic Walking) whose focus was on “Nordic Walking for Life”. The convention started with a Keynote address by Natalie Kavanagh-Clarke from “Run England” who spoke about how successful their project has been in increasing mass participation and how to set up running/nordic walking groups around the UK. The INWA board then gave a progress report on areas of education, research, communication and membership.
After a coffee break we were asked to join workshops of our choice, these included:
- “Strength Training for Nordic Walking” – Malin Svensson (USA) INWA International Coach.
- “Circuit Training with Poles” – Naohiro Takahashi (Japan) INWA International Coach.
- “Barefoot Training” – James Maslin from Merrell Shoes.
All these workshops took place at Hyde Park in gorgeous weather, with temperatures of up to 29oC.
After the Lunch break we had a presentation by James Maslin from Merrell Shoes on using ‘Barefoot Shoes’ and how these can improve posture and gait, strengthen feet and legs, and develop improved proprioception. Following that we had the choice of more workshops:
- “Barefoot Training” – James Maslin from Merrell Shoes
- “Improve your NW Pole Work” – Naohiro Takahashi (Japan) INWA International Coach.
- “Advanced Stretching” – Tatiana Novaes (UK) National Coach.
The last discussion of the day was on “Developing a Sport Qualification for Nordic Walking” with speeches by Janneke Metzemaekers (Netherlands) National Coach, Naohiro Takahashi (Japan) INWA International Coach. Then a Panel discussion with:
- Naohiro Takahashi (Japan) INWA International Coach.
- Tatiana Novaes (UK) National Coach
- Janneke Metzemaekers (Netherlands) National Coach
- Jos Smits (Netherlands) – National Coach.
Day three (Saturday) focused on Health and Fitness, starting with a presentation by Glenn Little (UK/Wales) National Coach on “Nordic Walking for Older People”, – This project around Wales was with ‘Age Cymru’. Our next address was by Paul Waters on “GP Referral Conditions”, an interactive talk on the growing use of exercise such as Nordic Walking as a follow on from medical intervention.
The third set of Workshops again took place in Hyde Park and included:
- “Nordic Walking a good follow-up for those who have passed successful orthopaedic treatment of the knee, hip or spine” – Marco Maas (Netherlands) INWA International Coach.
- “Towards Holistic Movement” – Tiina Arrankoski (Finland/Italy) INWA International Coach.
- “Rehabilitation and Nordic Walking” – Joy Teo (Ireland) National Coach.
After another hot morning in Hyde Park we moved to the cooler venue of the Carisbrooke Hall in the VSC where we were given a presentation by Gilly Davy and June Stevenson (New Zealand) on “A promising rehabilitation tool for individuals with neurological conditions”, followed by a moving story from Ryan Taylor (New Zealand) on his inspirational journey after a very serious accident (Base Jumping) and how Nordic Walking helped him in his rehabilitation to walk again.
Our next Keynote address was by Alma Thomas entitled, “It’s all in the Mind”, she is one of the worlds leading performance enhancement psychologists and an Olympic silver medallist in athletics. Our final address was given by Yvette Nevrlka from ‘The PT Business Gym’ on “Growing your personal Nordic Walking Business”.
After another full, energising and enlightening day the social programme took us on a walking tour of the Royal Parks, Buckingham Palace, our trip on the London Eye, followed by a traditional English Pub evening and meal.
On Sunday morning we took part in the “Nordic Walking Challenge” in Hyde Park, this was a 5km Nordic Walking Challenge for ‘Children in Need’ around the Serpentine and Royal Hyde Park. Although it was competitive, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the walk and many of the thousands of other Sunday walkers and strollers that morning had the opportunity to see International Nordic Walking at its best….
The day finished off with a presentation from Karen Ingram (UK/Wales) National Coach and British Nordic Walking on “Posture, Alignment and Emotional Anatomy”, an interactive lecture in which the key postural types were explored, factors that affect posture, lifestyle and emotion, and how Nordic Walking influences posture. Followed by two final workshops on “How to Assess Instructors”, exploring models for assessment of Instructors by Coaches with Tiina Arrankoski & Karen Ingram and “Mapping Successful” a Practical and Interactive Worksop maximising your teaching and business with Catherine Hughes and Barry O’Loughlin.
INWA Board Chairman, Paul Stevenson closed the wonderful convention with a great vote of thanks to British Nordic Walking the hosts of the event and especially to Superwoman Daniela Riberio da Silva for all her efforts in making the event run so smoothly…
Next year’s INWA Convention will be in Venice, Italy and we look forward to Nordic Walking on the beach.
By Mervyn S Foster
INWA Nordic Walking Instructor & British Nordic Walking Steering Group Member
Tel: 01480 878111 E-mail: mervyn@nordicwa;lingcambs.com