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Quiz answers plus the new book on why walking is a ‘superpower’

I am shortly heading off on holiday and top of my reading list is the recently published In Praise of Walking by neuroscientist Shane O’Mara.   The publisher’s blurb could have been written by any one of us Nordic walkers: “Walking is good for our muscles and posture; it helps to protect and repair organs, and can slow or turn back the ageing of our brains. With our minds in motion we think more creatively, our mood improves and stress levels fall. Walking together to achieve a shared purpose is also a social glue that has contributed to our survival as a species.

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Bristol local knowledge quiz

We’ve a fun charity quiz night coming up in October in the events room at the Gloucester County Cricket ground and we’d love to get as many of the club together for it.  The room can seat up to 125 people and the views of the ground are excellent.  You can either bring your own team of five or just book on and we will allocate you a team. Friends are welcome but our only rule is if you have a team of five there must be at least two Bristol/Bath Nordic Walkers per team.

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Tick bites and Lyme disease - what you should know

A couple of weeks ago I found a tick.  Right under my bra strap.  I don’t like to think about how much of my body it must have crawled over to get there. 

I’ve never knowingly been bitten by a tick before but I know they can transmit the very nasty Lyme disease.  It’s a bacterial infection which if treated promptly with antibiotics generally causes no problems.  If left, however, it can be utterly debilitating as the bacteria can attack the central nervous system, brain, heart, joints, and eyes, and can also cause skin rashes.

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Long walks checklist

The weather’s gorgeous, you’re feeling fit (thank you Nordic walking), and you fancy a lovely day’s walking with friends.  But how to prepare and what to take?  Here’s your handy checklist.

Clothing
Shorts might seem like a good idea on a hot day but brambles and nettles etc have grown over most paths by mid-summer, so light weight walking trousers or leggings are a better choice if you don’t want your legs shredded or stung.  It also cuts your chances of ticks latching on.

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Community matters

I’ve had a crazy mix of a week this week.  The joy of welcoming our friends Nordic Walking Girona for seven days of Nordic walking in and around Bristol and Bath.  The stress of having my car window smashed in Leigh Woods and my computer stolen. The fun of getting together with some of you for our summer social.  

Nordic walking has given me the highs and has put into perspective the lows.  The blue skies and beautiful walks, the bonds that we have built through our club, and the support that we give each other.  

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The Sense RidgeWalk challenge

Last weekend, whilst 16 of our club were enjoying 10 mile walks along the Cornish coast, I was trying to complete a 52 mile challenge walk in 24 hours.  I’m sure many of you have done similar or bigger endurance challenges but this was a first for me.  It was way harder than I’d ever imagined.  In fact, very very tough doesn’t even touch the sides! The Sense RidgeWalk charity challenge was in a league of its own.

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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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