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Pole update, challenges, festivals and workshops

Exel poles - new suspension tip system

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.

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Are people asking you about Nordic walking? Here's some responses to common questions.

We recently posted some brief Nordic walking Q&As on Facebook and you guys loved them.  So here’s a fuller (and I hope entertaining) version - just in case you need them!

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Achieving optimum health and arm swing technique refinements

Optimum health

A couple of weeks ago the Times newspaper ran a big spread entitled “How to be healthier and live longer: A guide to midlife”.  The areas it covered were food, exercise, the mind, relationships, sleep and hormones.  Pretty much every day there is some piece of ‘new’ research espousing the benefit/harm caused by imbalance in one of these areas.  

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How far can you walk? Plus a simple breathing technique for de-stressing and better sleep

I’ve just returned home from our Cotswolds Way walking weekend.  We covered 18 miles yesterday and 10 today.  Those taking part really rose to the challenging distances and, I think, surprised themselves by how well they managed.  It has caused me to reflect on the question of how far you can walk in a day.

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Nordic walking troubleshooting

Whether you’re a beginner or a more seasoned Nordic walker, here are some of the common Nordic walking issues and how to rectify them.

Stiff neck/shoulders after Nordic walking

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Are you a Pushmi or Pullyu? Uphill technique revisited.. Plus one walker's affair with two poles

Hills.  Some of us love them, others endure them.  Whichever camp you fall into, hills are a fantastic way of increasing your fitness, toning your muscles and burning calories.  But how much thought have you given recently to how, with Nordic walking poles in hand, you tackle them?  I’ve noticed recently that there are two distinct styles - a pushmi and a pullyu.  Unlike Dr Doolittle’s fictional beast, these methods are not in a symbiotic relationship, although you can use both styles on the same hill.  One, of course, is where you use the poles to push you up the hill and the other is wher

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Quiz anwers revealed - but don't read this sitting down

Last week I set you a short quiz.  It was part Nordic walking, part health.  The answers plus some commentary are below.  I would recommend you stand to read it as my answer to question 4 provides some unsettling information about the dangers of too much sitting.


1. During walking, what percentage of time are you on one foot?
a)  50%
b)  60%
c)  80%

Answer: 80%. 

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Why we should wind our necks in plus test yourself with this Nordic walking quiz

Have you seen yourself sideways-on recently?  If not, get someone to take a photo of you and have a look at how you’re standing.  Where’s your head position?  Are your ears aligned over your shoulders or does your head project forwards?  The reason for my asking is that I recently read that for every inch your head protrudes from its normal position, you add 10 additional pounds of force upon your neck.  This is enough to shift your entire body out of alignment, cause a great deal of neck and shoulder pain and reduce your lung capacity by up to 30%.

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Best spring/summer Nordic walking kit

The temperature is climbing and the ground drying out, so what’s the best kit to wear during this spring/summer transition?

Breathable Layers
The number one thing to remember is that breathable layering works in every situation - spring, summer, autumn and winter.  If I were a politician, I would be saying this three times as it’s my key message, but I’m not so I won’t.

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Shoulder focus plus the latest local news

Our shoulder joint is the most complicated joint in our whole body, with the greatest range of motion. You can move it in ten different ways. Ten!  It is no surprise therefore that shoulder injury or impingement is one of the biggest issues for those of you who walk with us (statistically three in ten adults will experience shoulder pain), outstripping even back ache.  

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