Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about walking with Fit and Happy Outdoors.
If you have a query of any sort, no matter how small, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone (020 3627 0527) or by email, using our contact form.
Where do you organise walks?
We currently have Taster sessions and “Learn to Walk” courses as well as regular walks in Souht East London: Burgess Park, Brockwell Park, Peckham Rye park and Dulwich Park are some of our regular stomping grounds. If you live in South East London and your local park isn’t listed here, we we would be happy to consider starting a group in your area if you can organise 3 or 4 friends to join you. We also organise regular weekends or weeks away, both in the UK and overseas. Keep an eye out for our springtime trip to the Netherlands to see the tulips in bloom, and trips to Sicily and Italy.
What happens if I have to miss one or more of the “Learn to Nordic Walk” sessions?
You need to complete all 4 sessions before you can join any of the regular classes, so if for instance, you miss Session 2, you’ll need to attend that session on the next course that fits with your timetable. We won’t charge you any extra to attend missed sessions, but our ability to accommodate you on the new course will be subject to space being available.
I have always found exercise classes so unfriendly and cliquey – can I have private lessons?
You certainly can have 1:1 sessions to teach you the correct technique for Nordic Walking if that’s definitely what you want (contact us for details), but if it’s merely past experience of exercise classes that’s put you off being a group, you should consider the following first.
One of the beauties of the way in which we deliver our Nordic Walking programme is that you have a ready-made peer group. Since the overwhelming majority of people who contact us have no previous experience of Nordic Walking, they will almost all attend a taster session, followed by a 4-week course in the same time slot. This means that everyone in your class for the first five weeks will be at exactly the same stage as you. These training classes are small (no more than 12) and we work hard to ensure that they are fun, friendly and inclusive, with people being paired up to undertake exercises and drills together. By the time you are ready to graduate from the class and receive your Freedom card, the chances are you will all be friends for life!
After your first five weeks, you have the option of joining a regular class of people who started before you, or staying with your peer group … or both if you want to walk more than once per week. Whatever you decide, as a confirmed Nordic Walker, you will find a group of people who are very keen to welcome you into our little club – as Nordic Walkers, we all do something that puzzles the rest of the world, so everyone who joins us makes us feel a little less like we’re crazy!
I am not very sporty, a bit unfit and/or I am very uncoordinated, can I still join you?
When I was younger, I did’t have very good coordination and I was not very sporty, mainly because I always hated PE and school sports and didn’t like going to the gym.
The result of all those years of PE in school was, that I had very low self-esteem when it came to sports. But when I discovered canoeing, kayaking and – more recently – Nordic Walking, I learned that I actually love sports, just not the sports they teach in school!
Why don’t you just try one of our taster sessions? You might surprise yourself!
I already know how to Nordic Walk – can I join the regular walks without doing the training?
You are welcome to join the “Learn to Nordic Walk” course without having attended a taster session if you’ve already had an introduction to walking with poles, but the terms of our insurance don’t allow us to admit walkers to regular classes unless they have been exposed to all the fundamental elements of Nordic Walking. This can only be guaranteed by attending the training. Of course, if you’ve done the training elsewhere and have your NWUK Freedom card, we’re more than happy to have you join a regular class without further training.
I have some trekking poles – can I use them in your class?
You can bring them, but you will soon notice that trekking poles are not suitable for Nordic Walking. The two types of poles may appear very similar, but there are two important differences which distinguish Nordic Walking poles from their trekking cousins:
Nordic Walking poles have hand-specific straps (ie left and right), which are fitted close to the hand in order to maximise the propulsion of the body forward that is fundamental to the Nordic style of walking. By contrast, trekking poles have basic handles, whose function is mainly to assist in retaining control of the pole.
Nordic Walking poles are fitted with angled rubber pads or “paws” which are removable and used to assist in walking on hard surfaces such as pavements. Trekking poles often have pads as well, but they are rarely angled to the correct degree, since the plant of the pole on the ground for trekking is in front of the body in order to support, whereas the plant in Nordic Walking is behind the body in order to propel forwards.
We have a range of specialist poles available to use during class, so there is no need to make do with a pole which was designed for a different purpose.
Can I bring my dog?
We love dogs, but we have found that the excitement generated by meeting all these new people and other doggies can sometimes be overwhelming for dogs who come on group walks, to the point where it detracts from the purpose of the group. We would therefore request that you reserve Nordic Walking with your dog for when you walk at home, rather than in Fit and Happy Outdoor classes.
I like walking, but do I have to use the poles?
We don’t want to force you to do anything, but our walks and workouts are designed around walking with Nordic walking poles. We know they look funny, but you are not alone, we will look just as funny! Why not give it a try? During the taster session, you will get a better idea of how they feel and the added benefits they bring compared to normal walking. We are sure you will love it!
What happens when it rains?
We operate a “No Bad Weather – Just Bad Clothing” policy. This means we aim to walk in all weather, providing it is safe to do so and will therefore not generally cancel a scheduled class due to wet or snowy conditions. If we decide that it is unsafe to walk, we will contact you, so please make sure we have up-to-date contact information on file.
How do I pay you?
We strongly prefer where possible for walkers to pay online before the class takes place, as this saves time at the beginning of walks, which can then be spent more productively addressing any walk-related issues or concerns you may have. We use Paypal as our online processor – you don’t need to have an account; just follow the “pay now” links on our invoice or our Meetup page and use as you would any other online payment processor.
For those who don’t use online payments, it is possible to pay on the day by cash or cheque. If you are paying by cash, please have the correct amount available, as we usually do not carry any change on our walks.