Nordic walking instructor Deb Watts (second from right)  is pictured with, left to right, Joshua Haith, 12, Janice Coulson and Jim Gould. 040817DC1-1
Nordic walking instructor Deb Watts (second from right) is pictured with, left to right, Joshua Haith, 12, Janice Coulson and Jim Gould. 040817DC1-1

A former teacher who took up Nordic walking for exercise has become so passionate about it she has so far passed on the love of the sport to more than 100 people.

Deb Watts, of Newark, spent 23 years teaching including time as a PE co-ordinator, head of year and finally a deputy head before deciding it was time for a change.

She now home educates her son and has set up two businesses in the health and wellness industry — Nordic walking and as an Arbonne skincare consultant, which she says complement each other perfectly.

Deb started Nordic walking four years ago after being introduced to the sport by a school friend, Pip Bateman, who is an instructor working around the Sherwood area and Newstead Abbey.

Deb trained at Nottingham University with the director of British Nordic Walking, Dr Catherine Hughes, and then started sessions in Fernwood.

She has also led successful teams competing in the British Nordic Walking Challenges at venues across the country.

“I have worked with a wide range of people from Reach Learning Disability groups to local mums, cancer patients in recovery and everyone in between,” Deb said.

There are ten steps to learn to be able to Nordic walk to its maximum level. Most people are content to walk comfortably at level five but Deb said that at level ten the speed was incredible with powerful dynamic action and some serious propulsion coming from the poles.

It is different from trekking — participants use very light poles with tips angled at 45 degrees.

Deb said there were many health benefits, including increased blood circulation and metabolism, symmetric and complete training of the whole body, and correct body alignment and posture.

'Suitable for all'

Other benefits include improving back and heart health. It is also good for the treatment of repetitive strain injury, helps to combat obesity and can help to increase bone density to prevent or lessen the progression of osteoporosis.

“It is a physical exercise that is suitable for all, irrespective of age, sex or physical condition,” Deb said.

All her new clients are offered an induction course consisting of four sessions of an hour each on a one-to-one basis or in small groups to ensure they are using the poles correctly and master the development of the ten levels.

After that they have the choice of an evening session at Balderton Lake on a Tuesday or Kelham Hall and Country Park on a Friday morning. The venues are subject to change so confirmation is sent by email.

“It is a sport for all — if you can walk you can learn to Nordic walk,” Deb said.

Deb is running an induction course on Sunday, August 27, from 1pm to 4pm at Fernwood.

Participants are asked to meet outside the former Earl’s bar and wear comfortable clothing and trainers or walking shoes/boots. Poles will be provided.

Deb can be contacted at and on 07415 115509.