Exel Sports NA and Reebok International, Ltd. have joined together to promote Nordic Walking through marketing, sales, and professional development programs designed to help both brands capitalize on the increasing popularity of the activity.
In 1997, Exel Oyj of Finland created Nordic Walking by developing Nordic Walking technique and designing specifically engineered poles for the activity. Often described as “cross-country skiing without snow or skis” or “power walking with poles,” Nordic Walking has grown quickly to over six million participants worldwide.
In the early stages of its development, Exel realized that Nordic Walking required scientific evidence to validate its fitness benefits which quickly led to cooperation between the company and a number of Finnish sports, health and educational organizations.
Shortly thereafter, in 2002, Exel commissioned the esteemed Cooper Institute in Texas to conduct a study on the benefits of Nordic Walking. The Institutes research concluded that Nordic Walking offered a significant number of health benefits including a 20-46% increase in caloric expenditure, an increase in heart rate of 5-17 beats per minute, and a lower rate of perceived exertion. Subsequent research revealed other notable benefits including an increase in upper body strength and low impact on joints.
“The fit with Reebok is a natural one for us,” said Exel North Americas VP of Sales Chris Griffin. “Both companies offer areas of expertise perfectly matched to grow this market rapidly.”
“As the worldwide market leader in Nordic Walking, we recognize that cooperation with Reebok will greatly increase the awareness of the activity in North America, leading to accelerated growth. Our goal is to benefit consumers by offering an exciting, effective and social form of physical activity, thereby creating a significant new business opportunities at retail.”
“Reebok has already done extensive research on the activity and has developed a comprehensive line of footwear specifically designed for Nordic Walking. We look forward to offering their shoes, apparel and accessories to our Nordic Walking coaches, master trainers and instructors throughout North America. It was important for us to align ourselves with a company with similar vision and growth expectations for this category. Reebok satisfies both criteria,” Griffin added.
Available at athletic specialty retailers across the country and on www.reebok.com, Reeboks Nordic Walking footwear collection, Premier Walk XC GTX, is especially designed for the unique sport for the suggested price of $95.
“We are extremely pleased to team up with Exel. Exel uses a network of Nordic Walking master trainers and instructors to introduce Nordic Walking to the retailer. Reebok's expertise in Nordic Walking footwear combined with Exel's expertise in Nordic Walking poles and programming make this partnership a perfect fit,” said Marcy Schwam, Director of Global Walking.