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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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Pole performance - advice on how to look after your Nordic walking poles

Yesterday on our Ashton Court walk, the birds were in vibrant song, full of industrious activity, sensing the emergence of spring.  Clearly it was infectious for, on returning home, I spent a happy few hours busily giving my Nordic walking poles an MOT.  A couple of tips needed replacing and some of my straps were distinctly tired.

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Double planting or sore forearm when Nordic walking? Here’s what to do

Is double planting your Nordic walking modus operandi? What about your forearm and elbow – do they sometimes ache during or after a walk?

Don’t be disheartened if this is a familiar story to you. Many of us have visited the double planting/aching forearm stage and a few of us have lingered there longer than we would wish.  I’ve been chatting with one of our National Coaches, Karen Ingram, about these frustrating aspects of the technique. Here are a few suggestions if you are stuck in this particular rut:


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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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How to enjoy a muddy walk

Mud. Do you love it or hate it? Whatever your view (and few have no opinion) there’s little chance of avoiding it if you want to walk at this time of year.  So here are a few tips to make your muddy walk a happy one.

1. Make sure you have the right footwear

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Local Knowledge

A frivolous blog this week!  How good is your local knowledge of the areas we walk in?  Test yourself with this quiz.  Can you beat 5/10?


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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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Layering: How to optimise your clothing for active walking

The temperature is dropping but how should you adapt your clothing to maximise your comfort when exercising outside? I have been talking with some of you about the layering system, a tried and tested way to optimise your body temperature whatever your level of activity.  

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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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Technique tips - the perfect arm swing

A good arm swing is the cornerstone of the Nordic walking technique.  Yet like hand control, for many of us mortals it can be tricky to achieve.  There are a few Nordic walking gods who seem to adopt an effortless arm swing as easily as picking up a pair of poles but if, like me, you are not one of these elite, here are a few pointers.

Your shoulder should act as a pendulum

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Registered Excercise ProfessionalsInternational Nordic Walking FederationBritish Nordic WalkingBristol Life Awards Winner