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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 Lyme disease.  It’s a bacterial infection which if treated promptly with antibiotics generally causes no problems.  However if left the bacteria can cause skin rashes and even attack the central nervous system.

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What should I take on a long walk?

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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The benefits of joining a fitness club

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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My 52 mile Nordic walking 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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How good is your balance?

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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The best way to Nordic walk uphill

 

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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The benefits of long distance walking

Our 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 - how to walk 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.

 

Downhill walking technique

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Dementia, heart health and Nordic walking

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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