“I’m leaving asthma behind me thanks to Nordic walking” says Geof Newman, one of our Oldbury Court Nordic walkers in an article published by Asthma UK. Geof started walking with us in May 2016 and the impact it has had on his asthma has been profound. I know that this is the case for several of you (I will shortly be printing Heather’s story) and here’s some of the reasons why:
Posture – It changes our posture, both by reminding us how we should be holding ourselves when walking and by strengthening those key postural muscles as we Nordic walk. Good posture gives the lungs more space to do their job and places less stress on the body in general so that the respiratory system can function more efficiently. If you Nordic walk regularly you develop a postural habit which then spills over into your daily life so that you’re walking well all the time without having to think about it.
Lung strength, capacity and efficiency – Nordic walking gets you fit! It may feel easy but it’s actually very demanding on the body because all your muscles – both upper and lower body – are being used to propel you forwards. So your lungs have to work harder and you use more energy to move. Throw in a few hills (and Clair finds plenty in Oldbury Court) and your lungs are suddenly being challenged and strengthened with room to work well because your posture is so good.
It’s fun – We’ve all started gyms/fitness classes with good intentions but the reason we stopped? Nordic walking just seems so enjoyable. It’s certainly the quickest hour in my day and I’m generally so engrossed in conversation that I’m up a hill before I’ve even clocked that I’m on one. When something’s fun our bodies respond too. Everything’s easier, more relaxed, more responsive. Laughter is medicine as someone once said – it certainly is for the lungs.
Click here to read Geof’s article. Asthma UK have jumbled a few facts and the photo of Geof is at the Swindon Nordic Walking Challenge event with Hilary, another of our walkers.
Red deer facts
If you walk in Ashton Court you may have noticed that the red deer have changed colour. Gone are the grey coats of the winter months, they are now a rich chestnut-brown. What clever animals. It led me to look up some more facts about them and deer in general. I hope you find these as interesting as I did:
- Red deer are the largest deer species in the UK.
- Males are called stags, females hinds, babies calves, and their mothers dams. Antler-less stags are called hemmels. Hart is an archaic name for a male red deer over five years old.
- Antlers are ‘cast’ from March and shed at the end of winter. They are made from bone and can grow at a rate of 2.5cm a day. The spikes on antlers are called tines and as stags age they develop brow, bey and tey tines.
- A soft covering known as ‘velvet’ protects the growing antlers, which become ‘clean’ from August.
- Hinds produce one, or very rarely, two caves a year. Calves are born with spots but lose them by the end of the summer.
- Mature red deer stay in single sex groups through most of the year until the mating ‘rutting’ season which is roughly from September to November.
- Stags are at their adult peak around 8 years old and are ‘mature’ from age 11. Their life expectancy depends on their conditions but it’s around 15 years.
So next time you walk through the red deer park you can look at the deer in a whole new way.