"If you think small things don’t make a difference you’ve never been to bed with a mosquito”. It’s a saying that’s always made me chortle and the other day I realised its pertinence to Nordic walking. Not the mosquito of course but small adjustments can make a big difference to your enjoyment of Nordic walking and its effectiveness. So I thought I’d jot down a short list of some of these small things in case they make a difference for you:
- Exercise your eyes. Probably the number one most difficult habit to break is looking down whilst Nordic walking. If this is one of your foibles remember that your eye muscles need exercising as much as the other muscles in your body, so USE them to scan the ground ahead whilst you walk and keep your head still.
- Lift your toes to get a good heel strike. The heel/toe roll can be difficult to master. Instead of concentrating on putting your heel down, think about lifting your toes UP. The result is the same.
- Don’t ever close the gap between your hip bone and your rib cage especially when walking uphill.
- Power through your strap and relax your hand. Squeeze the pole handle as you swing your arm forwards but push through your strap, not your hands, to accelerate you forwards. Otherwise you’re likely to get sore forearms.
- Think of your toes as being like duck’s webbed feet. They should be splayed wide in your shoes not scrunched up tightly.
Patsy’s wild garlic recipes
The wild garlic is out and it’s brilliant to cook with. Just remember to pick leaves carefully (dogs, foxes and other animals may have visited that area before you) and always wash before use. Also a word about the etiquette on foraging. Given the abundance of wild garlic you are unlikely to over harvest, however every population is limited so bear in mind the following:
- Every part of wild garlic (leaves, flowers and bulbs) is edible but if you root up the whole plant it’s gone from that spot forever. If you harvest just the leaves and/or flowers, the plant will regenerate next year provided you haven’t over-cropped it.
- There are a variety of opinions about how much of a plant you can take without damaging it. Some say one third, others a quarter. I always err on the side of caution and only take about 3 leaves from any one plant. There’s masses around so it’s not exactly difficult.
Patsy has two of the best wild garlic recipes I know – here they are again:
Patsy’s Perky Wild Garlic Soup
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
4 big handfuls (about 200g) of wild garlic leaves, chopped
100ml double cream
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the potatoes and onion and toss until well coated. Season. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
Add the stock, bring to the boil, then add the wild garlic and cook for 2 minutes until wilted. Immediately liquidise the soup with a hand-held stick blender, then return to the pan, stir in the cream, taste and season. Serve hot with crusty bread.
Zingy Wild Garlic Pesto
The basic recipe is from the Great British Chefs website (click here). Substituting spinach for parsley works well. The pesto also freezes beautifully and using an ice-cube tray means it's easy to make small portions.
Let me know how you get on or, even better, post a photo on our FaceBook page.
A beginner’s guide to Nordic walking
Easter is often the time when people get itchy walking feet. I recently wrote a beginner’s guide to Nordic walking for the outdoor gear specialists, Ellis Brigham. Here it is in case someone you know is interested. Don't forget that if you wish to purchase anything from Ellis Brigham, Bristol Nordic Walking members get a 10% discount.
Happy Easter and happy walking.