Kristen Pratt has been actively involved in health, fitness, disability and rehabilitation throughout her career. She is a qualified Occupational Therapist and certified Nordic Walking Instructor with Nordic Walking UK, the Nordic Academy and the International Nordic Walking Federation (Australia) (INWA). Kristen holds the following qualifications: B.App.Sc(OT), M.Ed.St, M.BA, M.IntDev’t, Cert III & IV in Fitness. In October 2019 she was awarded a Westfield Local Hero award for her innovative Nordic Walking Community Outreach Program for people with balance and mobility challenges.
Kristen discovered Nordic Walking in 2011 whilst living in Switzerland and working with the World Health Organization’s Disability and Rehabilitation team to design the WHO’s first ever Disability Strategy. After trying it out and realising its enormous benefits Kristen completed a comprehensive, Government Certified Instructor course with NWUK – the leading authority on Nordic and Fitness walking in the UK.
Kristen was impressed that she could achieve heart rate levels whilst Nordic Walking that were similar to when running. The increased shoulder swing also assisted her recovery from a frozen shoulder. Before long she found that she was teaching friends and colleagues with a huge range of fitness and health goals and challenges – from the young and super fit through to older people with health conditions such as arthritis – and seeing first hand the amazing results that NW produced – by using over 90 per cent of the body’s muscles.
After returning to Australia in 2014 and ending her long career with the Australian Government Aid Agency AusAID, where she led the development of Australia’s first Disability Strategy for the aid program (Development for All: Towards a Disability-Inclusive Australian Aid Program), Kristen certified with 2 of Australia’s leading Nordic Walking organisations – Nordic Academy and Nordic Walking Australia. Kristen founded Capital Nordic Walking in 2014.
Kristen is committed to continually updating her knowledge. In 2014 Kristen completed an INWA certified ‘Nordic Walking for Parkinson’s disease’ course, in 2015 a Cert III in Personal Training and a Cert IV in Fitness in 2016. At the September 2015 World Nordic Walking Conference in Seville Kristen completed NW Workshops with the 5 World NW Masters, including a series of clinics with Tom Rutlin focused on the Exerstriding NW technique and its applications – particularly for people with mobility challenges. In May 2016 Kristen completed a 2-day workshop with Norman Doidge, M.D. on latest developments in neuroplasticity, including the importance of walking for brain health. Exercise [also] reduces our risk of Parkinson's and dementia, among other diseases. Kristen was awarded the Nordic Academy INSPIRE Instructor of the year in 2017. Kristen holds a current first aid certificate and has full public liability and professional indemnity insurance.
She is also a member of Parkinson’s ACT Committee, the Nordic Academy’s Advisory Board, a Director on the Board of the Disability Rights Fund.