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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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Spring time foraging

I visited Kew Gardens last week and ate the most delicious wild garlic and pea risotto for lunch.  As soon as I returned home I googled wild garlic risotto recipes.  Alas I couldn’t find any to match the brilliant green of my Kew sensation but it did fire my enthusiasm to forage my own wild garlic and get cooking. 

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I’ve been reading a fascinating little book recently – The Nordic Guide to Living 10 years Longer*.  Originally in Swedish, happily for me it has been translated and published in the UK.  There’s scant reference to the Nordic way of life (‘Nordic’ is I suspect a marketing gimmick as its title in Sweden was ’10 Tips’) and most of what’s written is now widely known.  Nevertheless there were two aspects that particularly interested me:

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Enjoying your walks and progressing your fitness

Above all else, we want you to enjoy your Nordic walking.  An exercise that’s enjoyable is sustainable.  And Nordic walking is one of the best long-term exercises around.

But it’s also very easy to get stuck in a fitness rut. Your body adapts extraordinarily quickly and you constantly need to be throwing new challenges at yourself to progress - or even just to stand still. 

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Lifestyle changes not pills protect against dementia

The Times this weekend ran the headline ‘Research now shows that brain supplements don’t prevent dementia’.  Omega 3 fish oil, B vitamins (or any other vitamins), selenium (or any other minerals), ginkgo biloba, green tea, curcumin – none of them currently have any proven clinical benefit in either preventing dementia or reducing its symptoms according to the scientific arbiter Cochrane, endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Society. 

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