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Balance and the inner ear

Balance is way more complicated than I’d ever thought: muscles, joints, the inner ear, eyes, brain and skin.  They must all work together through a constant process of position detection, feedback and adjustment in order for us to go about our daily lives without dizziness or falling over.  It’s frankly remarkable that we manage at all – so much is involved in even the simplest of movements!

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Top 5 questions on Nordic walking poles

As someone who has run a Nordic walking business for nearly ten years I am understandably asked lots of questions about Nordic walking poles. 

Whilst there are many Nordic walking pole manufacturers Europe-wide, in the UK the choice is still fairly limited.  Leki and Exel are the biggest selling brands followed by Gabel and Fizan, the latter two offering slightly cheaper options. 

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How to walk uphill

Whether you love them or hate them, hills are a fact of life in much of the UK and especially if you live around Bristol and Bath.  Aside from the fact that there’s generally a great view to be had at the top, hills up the intensity of any walk.  Your heart and lungs work harder, you burn more calories, and you increase the workout for your muscles.  There’s no doubt that Nordic walking poles make a huge difference.  The most important thing to remember is to never compromise your technique.  There are four basic errors when it comes to walking uphill:

 

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Challenge walks plus tips on how to age well

Bristol Nordic walkers seem to love distance walking challenges.  The super-long Camino de Santiago trail, Offers Dyke, Cotswold Way, Bath Beat, South Wales Three Peaks, West Highland Way… and so the list goes on.  Sometimes these are solo affairs and a couple have been whole club challenges.  But often you’ve teamed up and organised things yourselves. 

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Saving your toes walking downhill

Many walkers taking part in the Bath Beat challenge a few weeks ago ended up with bruised, sore toes.  Steep downhill sections were particularly aggravating, with their toes repeatedly jamming against the toe box of their shoes.  Happily there’s much you can do to lessen the risk of this happening – it’s a combination of walking technique, correct shoes and socks, and (most interestingly) the way you lace your boot.

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Latest news round-up on dementia and heart health

There were a couple health-related stories last week which I thought might interest you.

New WHO global guidelines to curb dementia

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Walks, walks, and more walks

This weekend has been a busy one for our club.  Besides the seven regular classes in Bristol and Bath, Miro led a beautiful local 6 mile bluebell walk, Marcus represented the club in the first of the annual British Nordic Walking challenge events, and a group of twelve of us headed to the Surrey Hills for a walking weekend away.

Miro’s Prior’s Wood walk

Bluebell Nordic walking

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Our Bath Beat triumph

Gale force winds aren't the ideal forecast for Nordic walking between 12.5 and 26.5 miles - but did that deter our Bath Beaters?  Not one bit (of course).  We're made of sterner stuff and collectively brushed Storm Hannah aside on a day of mammoth achievement.

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How Nordic walking helps your pelvic floor

A few weeks ago, women’s health physio Fiona Morgan wrote a guest blog about the pelvic floor and its importance for men and women.  Many walkers commented that Nordic walking has helped improve their pelvic floor.  This blog sheds light on why this is the case and how through our technique we can further strengthen this important set of muscles.

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Leg stretches for your hips, shins and calves

Many of you have been increasing the length of your walks recently leading up to the Bath Beat.  We are also heading into the Spring and Summer, a popular time for walking holidays.  But how much thought have you given to stretching?

Flexibility and stretching are a crucial part of fitness.  Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and you need that flexibility to maintain the range of motion in your joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight.  That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.

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