Walking is simple. We were born to walk and we’ve done it all our lives - some better than others! Nordic walking is merely an enhanced form of ordinary walking, using two poles to improve the way we walk and to accelerate us forwards.
There was a flurry of Nordic walking activity last Tuesday as the popular press picked up on Teresa May’s walking holiday in the Swiss Alps. Interviews were kicking off left right and centre about just what Nordic walking was (you may have heard them on the radio) and what its benefits were.
Do you want the best possible back and defined arms? It’s a rhetorical question of course because frankly who doesn’t? The point I’m wanting to make is that you can easily achieve both through Nordic walking. Here’s how.
One of the things that impresses me about Nordic walking is its versatility. Want to get fit but don't like gyms? Try Nordic walking. Had a recent op and need to ease your way back to fitness? Again, Nordic walking will do the job. Coming to the end of your running days and want a replacement? You got it, Nordic walking. There are other exercise options of course and I love the diversity available to us. But I can't be alone in noticing how well Nordic walking adapts itself to pretty much every exercise situation.
It was a tremendous privilege speaking about Nordic walking to Prince Charles last week during his visit to Penny Brohn UK (he is their patron). Nordic walking was on his agenda as it is an important and integral part of the cancer charity's whole body approach and has been running at Penny Brohn UK since I set it up over five years ago.
This week the papers have been full of the latest Public Health England warnings about vitamin D deficiency and it's recommendations. Roughly one in five people have low vitamin D levels. Given that we're an outdoor walking club, I thought I'd look into it from our perspective. Why is vitamin D so important, do we get enough of it from our walks alone and, if not, what should we be doing?
Last Monday Marion Averill of Clifton Physiotherapy and I ran a joint workshop on neck and shoulder tension. The good news is that this is an area where we really can help ourselves through a combination of exercises, postural awareness and the correct sitting position. The even better news is that Nordic walking ticks all the boxes as a tool for reducing tension and maintaining neck and shoulder health.
The vital glutes Our glutes are an incredibly important set of muscles. They stabilise the pelvis and spine, prevent injury, improve performance and help you look good in your jeans. It’s why we talk about them so much during our Nordic walking classes. If you don’t yet know what (or where) your glutes are, they are the group of three muscles in your buttocks. The biggest of these is the gluteus maximus. It has the honour of being the largest and most powerful muscle in our bodies.
Those of you who walk with me know how much I love talking about, using - and indeed collecting - Nordic walking poles and the various component parts. It’s a sort of hobby and I get amusingly excited when someone shows me a new pole or product (I counted the other day that I have 16 different models of poles!). So I was pretty much lost for words this week when our Exel suppliers told me about a new tip system available for our Exel poles.