Health

Clare Balding's Nordic walking ramblings

It was great to listen to Clare Balding’s radio 4 Ramblings programme last week all about Nordic walking.  The walkers she accompanied – the Nordic Ninjas were a group of young women with learning difficulties and their mothers.  Nordic walking offered them a physical activity that they could both enjoy and, importantly, be good at.  The key messages were ‘empowerment’ and ‘sociability’.  The poles provided support, helped them with balance and enabled them to walk further and faster than they had been able to before.

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Why you should promote physical activity in your workplace

Last week I gave a talk at the Bristol Institute of Directors monthly meeting on why employers should encourage employees to be more physically active and what they might do about it.  So this blog is one for you if you’re responsible for employees in your business.

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Born to walk - but can we remember how?

Our bipedal gait is hard-wired into our DNA. However, movement skills, like other skills, will fade if they are not used. For our increasingly motor-dependent, desk-bound, screen-dominated populace this is worth worrying about. 

The human body’s evolutionary journey is one of high physical activity.  Walking, squatting, twisting, throwing, climbing, lunging, reaching, carrying were our daily movements.  How many of us incorporate these activities into our lives now?  Does it matter?

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Want to live longer and with better health? Go walking

This week three health studies have been published about the benefits of walking, exercising outside in cold weather and walking in groups.  Yes I know, it’s exactly what we all do – and doesn’t it feel good?!

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Nordic walking does not make you invincible – and Ikea is a dangerous place!

I have a tale which might amuse you.  It involves the unlikely combination of Ikea, a sore hip and Nordic walking (Nordic walking always features in my life)!

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Don't let the weather stop you walking

Have you been tempted to skip the Nordic walking recently during the cold and wet? You wouldn’t be the only one! It’s hardly surprising you want to stay in the warm and dry when looking out through the window at grey, cold, rain-laden skies.

Here’s the thing though.  You may not want to go outside but it is never as bad once you’re out there and you’ll feel sooo much better for having been.  We all know this but sometimes it helps to be reminded! 

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5 Reasons why Nordic walking reduces back pain

I'm sure some of you will have read the report this week by the British Chiropractic Association that almost 80% of us suffer back pain at some point in our lives with nearly a quarter suffering daily.

The problem isn't so much injury as our increasingly sedentary habits and lifestyle.  We sit in front of a computer screen (82% of us for up to six hours); we drive instead of walk; we are overweight (in the UK two thirds of us are either overweight or obese); and we have increasingly frenetic and stressful lives which often manifests in neck, shoulder and ultimately back pain.

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Why Nordic walking is the best exercise at any age

Peta Bee’s recent article in The Times endorsing walking as the best exercise both pleased and frustrated me!

I shouldn’t be ungrateful.  As a fitness professional whose business is all about walking, it is great to see a double page spread in a popular broadsheet extolling its benefits.  I just wish Nordic walking was given a higher profile.

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Exercise your brain and improve your memory by Nordic walking

Well, well.  We all know that Nordic working works your arms, legs, waist and butt, but did you know it also exercises your brain?!

Research suggests that the unilateral squeezing of your left and right hand stimulates brain activity in the opposite hemisphere of your brain.  This can improve memory, memory recall and creativity.

The participants in the studies were asked to squeeze a ball. With Nordic walking you squeeze and release the pole handle, but the basic principle is the same.

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