Mind full or mindful? A neat play on words. I don’t know about you but my mind is often full! According to the Neuroscientist Amishi Jha, in neurological terms it’s all about where your attention is (mine flits all over the place). Her TEDx talk (Taming Your Wandering Mind) is fascinating and worth a watch.
I’ve written about Nordic walking and mindfulness before. This is because, for many of us, Nordic walking is wonderfully soothing for our busy minds as well as providing a good workout for our bodies. The ‘feel good’ endorphins released by the exercise itself; the beautiful places we walk in; and the fact that Nordic walking taps in to our body’s natural walking rhythm all contribute to that sense of wellbeing and harmony.
So it seems apt to run another Mindful Nordic Walking course (we ran our first course earlier this year). This four week course will be a series of hour-long walks on Wednesdays 10am, starting Wednesday 11th October and meeting by Ashton Court Mansion House. The course will be led by Mel Mackintosh, whom many of you will know. Not only is Mel a regular Nordic walker, she has practiced as a GP for 30 years, is a qualified Nordic walking instructor and counsellor, and has a keen interest in mental wellbeing and how this can be positively impacted by Nordic walking. She has put together an amazing four week programme, all based around mindful Nordic walking.
The cost of the course is £40 and will cover areas such as:
- How we can use our breathing for rhythm, stillness and calm
- The power of ‘grounding’ ourselves whilst Nordic walking
- The rich metaphors in our language surrounding walking and wellbeing
- The tempo of Nordic walking itself and its connection with mindfulness
- The positive effect of using all our senses – sight, sound, smell, touch – whilst walking
- Our feelings and emotions at the start of a walk plus how these change during and after walking
- Tapping into the natural world around us and our relationship with it
If you have ever been interested in mindfulness, in exploring how to still the ‘chattering monkey’ mind, re-connect with yourself and the world around you, this is the course for you. Click here for more details and to book.
Be tick aware
There has been much press coverage this week of the former rugby star Matt Dawson’s illness following a tick bite. Ticks are parasites carried by the likes of deer, sheep and dogs. They occasionally latch on to humans and this is where they can cause us problems. Most tick bites are harmless but there is a worrying increase of a potentially very dangerous disease – Lyme disease – which is carried by ticks. Every year we write about ticks, the dangers and how to ensure you don’t get bitten in the first place. The most helpful preventative action (besides not walking at all in our parks and countryside) is to wear long trousers, tucked into socks or with gaiters so that ticks cannot crawl onto your flesh at all. If you do wear shorts or cropped trousers/leggings then spray your exposed skin with an insect repellant to deter these biting critters. Check yourself after walking – ticks are tiny and particularly like to nestle into skin creases - and if you discover a tick bite be aware of the warning signs of Lyme disease:
- Seek medical advice if a spreading rash develops around the bite.
- In two thirds of patients this develops into a ‘bullseye’ ringed pattern.
- Some people also suffer flu-like symptoms, such as fever, tiredness ad muscle aches.
- Untreated, Lyme disease can cause inflammatory arthritis, paralysis, memory problems and abnormal heartbeat.
For more information and advice visit http://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk.
The worrying trend toward inactivity
It was hard to miss the headlines mid-week about the sedentary behaviours of this country. According to Public Health England forty per cent of middle-aged people do not manage a ten-minute walk once a month. Equally worringly, the average person walks 15 miles less in a year than they did in the mid-1990s.
The recommended level of exercise is two and a half hours of moderate activity a week, walking at a pace fast enough to raise your heart rate. This amounts to 20 minutes a day. But PHE consider this to be too daunting for most inactive people so they are encouraging them to aim for 10 minutes and have developed an “Active 10” app to help them reach their goal. There are mixed views on the PHEs ‘dumbing down’ on a basic walking requirement but their view is that every little helps. Luckily for us walking is a fully integrated part of our lives, providing much fun as well as multiple heath benefits. I guess we should be feeling smug but personally I feel nothing but worry that there are so many people out there who are in such a desperate state of unfitness and illhealth.