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Teresa May and the difference between Nordic walking and Trekking poles. Plus our very own Olympic dressage move…

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. 

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Improve your back health and tone up your arms with these Nordic walking tips. Plus 3 surprising reasons why NW poles are great on a country walk

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.

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In praise of Nordic walking

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. 

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Speaking to Prince Charles about Nordic walking and cancer

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.

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Vitamin D: should we be worried? Plus summertime reading

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?

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Dealing with neck and shoulder tension plus one walker's story

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.  

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The bottom line plus a new piece of kit

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.

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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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Registered Excercise ProfessionalsInternational Nordic Walking FederationBritish Nordic WalkingNordic Walking UKBristol Life Awards Winner