Exel poles - new suspension tip system

Those of you who walk with me know how much I love talking about, using - and indeed collecting - Nordic walking poles and the various component parts. It’s a sort of hobby and I get amusingly excited when someone shows me a new pole or product (I counted the other day that I have 16 different models of poles!). So I was pretty much lost for words this week when our Exel suppliers told me about a new tip system available for our Exel poles.

It’s called the ‘suspension tip’. This tip has a built in shock absorber which takes the immediate shock away from the pole shaft without affecting the propulsion in the plant. Apparently it is particularly good for speed Nordic walking so would be ideal for the Nordic walking challenge events. I now have a pair of the suspension tips and will be trying them out over the next few weeks. If you’re interested, this video by Karen Ingram of British Nordic Walking has a little more information about them as well as explaining how you can change the tip system on your Exel poles. You can also buy them direct from the UK Exel suppliers. Due to the way the tip system works, they don’t come with a removable paw.

Challenges and festivals

On the subject of challenge events, you may have read in last week’s Newsletter that fifteen of us travelled to Margam Park, Port Talbot, to take part in the second of the four Nordic walking challenge events being held this year. Janet Jenkins, one of our walkers, wrote a guest blog about them last year which is well worth a read.

Whilst they're competitive if you want them to be (a big well done here to Victoria Cassely and Colin Veal who were individual winners in the 10k and 5k categories) it is a big social event - much like the Bristol 10k - and many people go just to see what it's like to Nordic walk a 5,10 or 21k distance. On the racing side, the fastest walkers set an average pace of about 5mph - faster than many people jog. Zoe took a video clip of me during my half marathon challenge event which you can take a look at it here (luckily it's very short!).

The next challenge event is being held in Lydiard park, Swindon on Sunday 4th September. I've walked this route before and it's a great venue - an attractive park and nicely flat. So why not join us and we can turn it into a whole club event? You can book online via this link.

If you want something else, then there's a whole Nordic walking festival taking place in Purbeck 16-18 September. This is a very scenic area and the organisers are putting on a whole host of workshops and walks. It sounds amazing and if you're interested you can find more information about it via this link. I will be there for the Friday and Saturday and it would be great if you could join me.

Neck and shoulder workshop

I am really looking forward to the neck and shoulder workshop which I am running with Marion Averill of Clifton Physiotherapy in a couple of week's time. Judging by how quickly it booked up, I think it is an area which many of you are interested in too.
One of the biggest problems of course is the sheer amount of time that we now spend sitting down. Our bodies were meant for movement and the sedentary lifestyle many of us now lead is placing a huge strain on our health.
With this in mind, Marion will be discussing how we should be holding ourselves when both sitting and standing to avoid neck and shoulder pain and demonstrating some useful exercises. I will be to focusing on how to use Nordic walking to ease tension and strengthen upper body posture.
If this workshop is successful I plan to run more, so don't worry if you couldn't get onto this one. I am also exploring additional workshops on other aspects of back health and general wellbeing, inviting local experts like Marion to join me.

Nordic walking magazine
I just want to finish with a quick word about the Nordic walking magazine I am putting together to be published this September.  Thanks to your enthusiasm and support, our club has grown and grown and is becoming well known in Bristol and beyond. It therefore seems the right time to introduce a magazine to showcase both Nordic walking and our fantastic club here in Bristol. I would really like this to be a project everyone can become involved in. So please contact me with your stories and ideas and let's have some summer fun!