Kirov coach: “The right ride should be with two sticks and in nature”

Yana Khlebnikova not only conducts classes for people of different ages and abilities, but also constantly trains and participates in competitions. Photo provided by the heroine of the publication.

Yana Khlebnikova never considered herself an athlete, but always received “five” in physical education. At school, she dreamed of becoming a fashion designer and after graduation she went to study as a wide profile tailor. He then graduated from the Russian Academy of Education with a degree in business.

“In accounting, I started working ‘quickly,'” says Yana. – I put my own files in reporting and executing primary documents. Apparently, the athletic spirit was born even then.


The Kirov woman came to the training thanks to her sons – active boys with a difference of three years. The family lives in the micro-district. Lyangasovo, where there are almost no sports facilities. To introduce children to sports, during the first maternity leave, Yana organized football lessons for children and an exercise therapy team in the micro-district. And because the hired coach sometimes did not come, I had to conduct the lessons myself. It was then that the girl had the idea to go through further training at the Pedagogical University, to get a coaching education.

“It was the first such course in Kirov,” says Yana. -I studied with the best coaches and athletes in our area.

Then, already having the right to teach, the Kirov woman organized a health group for retirees. Thanks to them, he studied at the Nordic Walking School in St. Petersburg. So in 2017 she became an instructor and dived into the sport, its promotion and coaching. So far, Yana continues to study – in Nordic walking alone she has completed more than five different courses with the issuance of certificates and certificates.

– An example of an active life for me is my grandfather Valentin Alexandrovich! – shares Kirof’s wife. – He was a goalkeeper of a football team, he easily made a “pistol” on the skates, he turned perfectly on the irregular bars, he taught the children in the yard to play table tennis with plywood rackets. He also went to lift kettlebells, skied well, played chess and checkers, although he worked as a simple engineer in a locomotive depot. The love for sports allows the grandfather to enjoy life even now, even though he is already 83 years old!


Scandinavian or Nordic walking, according to Yana, is a physical activity that is necessary and accessible to all.

– This is a great start to a sporting life! – says the woman Kirov. – And the main difficulty here is not so much in mastering the technique as in fighting stereotypes. First, in Russia it was originally considered an activity for people of the silver age. And second, it’s hard to explain to people that it’s not just ‘pick up sticks and go’. It is important to train with a trainer.

In the beginning, the woman from Kirov worked with retirees. But I gradually realized that Scandinavian walking is useful for developing coordination in children, and for mothers, especially those who want to lose weight, and for athletes in the recovery period after injuries. However, the most amazing thing for her was the experience of educating children with special needs.

Since 2020, Yana has been working as a coach at the Kirov Sports Club for Children and Adolescents with Disabilities “Without Borders”. Classes here are held in pairs with her parents. Why; First, it is very useful psychologically, the parent sees what the child is capable of and the child in turn feels supported. Second, it is easier to teach a parent – both to walk properly and to control the child. And third, after 8-10 lessons, the family can train on their own!

– I am often asked why I work with special children, because usually people who have experienced it personally work in this field. And I have two healthy sons, – shares Yana. – But I bow to parents who have children with special needs. This is not a pity, but an admiration! And I just want to make this world a better place.


Since 2019, the Nordic Walking Federation of the Kirov Region has been operating in the area. She participates in all-Russian and international projects and also organizes her own – at city and regional level. For example, last year a large Nordic Walking Festival was held at STK Poroshino, which was attended by more than 200 people from various organizations in Kirov and the region.

Kirov region team: Yana Khlebnikova, Galina Urvantseva, Olga Sitnikova, Olga Kalinogorskaya (left to right) at the festival in Moscow.  Center: project coordinator Kristina Volodina.  Photo provided by the heroine of the publication.

Kirov region team: Yana Khlebnikova, Galina Urvantseva, Olga Sitnikova, Olga Kalinogorskaya (left to right) at the festival in Moscow. Center: project coordinator Kristina Volodina. Photo provided by the heroine of the publication.

Yana was actively involved in the life of the Federation and was its vice-president. The Kirov resident now trains and teaches small groups in Victory Park and the small area. Liangasovo. In addition to constantly improving her skills and looking for new directions, she regularly participates in competitions. At the International Nordic Walking Festival in Izhevsk in 2019, the woman Kirov took 2nd place in the distance of 5 km and in 2020 she was third in the distance of 10 km.

“During the preparation for the half marathon last year, we came with a friend to Poroshino for training at 5pm, we thought we would have time before sunset,” Yana recalls. – But in the fourth round it got dark and we got lost. Around the forest. Somehow, with a telephone flashlight, they went out on the street and … continued training. The finish line was very dark and eerie. But the result was not bad, they covered 21 kilometers in 2 hours and 40 minutes. And I did not go the distance in Izhevsk – the competitions there and in Kirov coincided in dates. Of course, I chose my homeland.

Kirovchanka is also conquering a new direction that has recently emerged – scandalous tourism – walking through various attractions and natural parks. Last year, he conquered the mountains of the Caucasus – he walked 83 kilometers along the route of the fifth category of difficulty. In the current, he plans to run a half marathon and wander the expanses of Altai!


Benefits of Nordic walking:

– is based on a different step, which contributes to the restoration of neural connections and their new formation.

– the work of the brush accelerates the pulmonary circulation, which accelerates the metabolic processes in the body.

– Outdoor activities allow the body to be saturated with oxygen many times more than a simple walk in the woods.

– there are no territorial and seasonal restrictions, you can practice all year round: in the city, in the forest, in the stadium, in the park, on the way to the store.


Where to start?

Realizing that movement is life! Understand your ability to move. Do not forget to contact a hiking teacher! And sign up for the first free workout with equipment for the duration of the course.

What is absolutely impossible?

Use ski poles longer than right at the elbow. It harms the heart and health! In addition, you will never be able to master the proper Scandinavian walking technique if there is a loop on the stick instead of a special drawstring (half glove) such as skiers. The cord attaches to the brush and prevents the stick from falling out of your hand when you walk.

How to choose stock?

You need to pay attention to the cord, the handle, the collet mechanism, the nail. And it is better to take telescopic sticks – they are convenient to use.

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