Nordic Walking can be traced back to the early 1930’s when Finnish Cross Country Skiers started using their poles for summer training. They recognised that the arm swing used when pushing back against the poles to propel the body forward when Cross Country skiing is very similar to the arm swing we use when walking, so they identified that using their ski poles when walking made for a good workout in summer when they didn’t ski.

The first evidence of walking with poles for exercise was in 1966, when Leena Jääskeläinen, a Finnish physical education teacher introduced “walking with ski poles” into PE lessons.

The move to bring Nordic Walking to the attention of the general public as a recreational and physical activity came in Finland in the early 1990′s when the “Central Association for Recreational Sports and Outdoor Activities”, the “Vierumäki Sports Institute” and the sporting goods company EXEL collaborated to develop specially designed poles and later coined the international term Nordic Walking.

The International Nordic Walking Federation (INWA) was formed in 2000 as the Global Governing Body for Nordic Walking to develop the standards and education material setting out how Nordic Walking should be taught and practiced and to promote Nordic Walking globally.

Since then, Nordic Walking has spread across the World and it is estimated that more 12-15 million people worldwide now practice Nordic Walking regularly.

INWA is the world peak body for the promotion of Nordic Walking. INWA’s education committee focuses on the development and guarantee of quality of education and certification programs for instructors of different levels.Nordic Walking Australia is the sole representative ofINWA in Australia and all Nordic Walking Australia instructors are INWA certified, guaranteeing the highest quality of instruction and knowledge.


Nordic Walking Australia is the Australian arm of the International Nordic Walking Federation (INWA). We are therefore responsible for the promotion of Nordic Walking activities in Australia and for upholding the standards set by the Global Governing Body by providing education and accreditation of Nordic Walking instructors under the INWA Global Accreditation model.

This enables Nordic Walking Australia instructors to deliver professional, accredited Nordic Walking lessons to the general public, guaranteeing the highest level of quality of instruction and knowledge.