If you’ve walked with different instructors you will have noticed that we all have our own style.
Take Ros and myself for example. Ros has a ‘tigger’ bounce which looks visually energetic and fun. Bouncing up into the air each time she pushes off her toes to ensure that she engages her previously weak glutes (buttock muscles) with each stride.
I on the other hand have a flatter style. As many of you know I enjoy Nordic racing so I concentrate on utilising all my power to propel me forwards, rather than upwards and forwards. I also have a fuller arm swing than most and keep quite active with my hands, opening and closing them around the pole handle. This is partly a speed thing but it is also because I have a family history of bad circulation. I know that the combination of a full arm swing, active hands and feet, plus a nice bit of rotation enables me to maximise the circulatory health benefits of Nordic walking.
The point I am wanting to make is that each one of us has our own personality and also our own health/fitness benefits that we would like to achieve through Nordic walking. So please don’t get over worried about achieving an objectively ‘perfect’ technique. There is in fact no such thing. Only what is perfect for you given your personality and your fitness/health focus.
Next week I will run through some of the most common health and fitness topics we come across and explain how the Nordic walking technique might help. For now though I shall leave you with what is probably my number one piece of advice: It should feel natural. Nordic walking is just an enhancement of your ordinary walking pattern so it should feel integrated and ‘right’. If it doesn’t then you haven’t quite got there yet. But don’t worry – with practice you will!
Reasons to make home-made chicken stock
When I was growing up, my mother always made chicken stock from the Sunday roast. I have followed in the same vein, not really giving much thought as to its nutritional benefits – just pleased to have it in the freezer when I need it. I’ve now learned from Nutritionist Rosie Letts that using home-made chicken stock as a base for soups and stews is possibly one of the best things we can do to improve our health. Here’s her list of reasons why.
1. Support good digestion. The gelatin in chicken stock protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract and helps aid in the digestion of nutrients.
2. Support your body to fight colds and flu. A study published in the journal Chest shows eating chicken soup during a respiratory infection reduces the number of white blood cells, which are the cells that cause flu and cold symptoms.
3. Reduce joint pain and inflammation. The glucosamine in chicken stock can actually stimulate the growth of new collagen, repair damaged joints and reduce pain and inflammation.
4. Produce gorgeous skin, hair and nails. The collagen and gelatin in bone broth support hair growth and help to keep your nails strong.
5. Help with bone formation, growth and repair. The calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in bone broth helps our bones to grow and repair.
6. Save money. Homemade chicken stock is cheaper and healthier than store bought.
7. Easy to make. All you need is a crockpot. Throw all of the ingredients into the crockpot and it cooks while you sleep.
8. Healthier than buying supplements. Homemade chicken stock contains all nutrients and minerals found in bones and tendons rather than just one or two found in pills. Slow cooking preserves the nutrients better than the high heat extraction used to make supplements.
9. Fight inflammation. Chicken stock is very high in the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline.
10. Promote sleep and calm your mind. The amino acid glycine found in bone broth can be very calming.
If you want to know how to make your own stock, here’s a link to Rosie’s recipe.
World Peace Cookies
It’s always good to balance the healthy with something a bit more indulgent – and I have just the thing. Last Monday Christine baked and brought the most delicious chocolate cookies to our Monday morning Ashton Court workout walk. Apparently they’re called world peace cookies, probably because if everyone ate them they’d be so happy that they’d live in peace and harmony! So, if you’re looking for a chocolate cookie recipe that isn’t sweet – just tasty – here’s the link to the recipe Christine used.