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The Blackberrying Season

Blackberries always signal to me the slow drift of summer towards autumn. The light mellows, the evenings gradually draw in and I start my month-long hand-scratching obsession with blackberrying. 

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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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Don't stop at the top!

We had an impressive Nordic walk yesterday (Saturday) to the Observatory and back.  Everyone was on fine form and the 4.2km was easily achieved within the hour.  This surprised quite a few people who, when they first started Nordic walking, would have struggled with this distance. It prompted a discussion about fitness which I thought I’d share with you.

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Nordic Walking Challenge Race

Yesterday was a bit of a red letter day for us Nordic walkers.  It saw the first ever UK Nordic walking race and, what's more, it was held here in Bristol in our very own Ashton Court.

Nordic walking racing is a well-known competitive sport across Europe and in Japan. Poland has one of the most active Nordic walking race series.  They run a Polish Nordic Walking Cup competition which comprises 7 races over the summer months.  Like ours, they compete over three distances - 5km, 10km and 20km - but they have 8 different age categories. 

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Speed Nordic Walking

We have just had a great speed Nordic walking workshop and I promised those attending that I’d write a summary of the points I raised for them. So here it is - for you to share as well.

Posture - the foundation
If you don’t get your posture right you will not be able to Nordic walk fast for long, or just plain walk for long frankly, without your back or neck taking a hammering. So what to do? Remember these key points:

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A walk around Slad valley

The centenary of Lauree Leeʼs birth today reminds me of the beautiful 7 mile circular walk I did with a group of Bristol Nordic Walkers earlier this year.

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Cyclo circuits - a benchmarking experience

I had an interesting - and some would say ʻbenchmarkingʼ - experience today. I went to cyclo circuits at the Fox Cycling studio in Portishead. Cyclo circuits offers an intriguing mix of spinning (cycling on the spot on specialist bikes) and basic ʻcircuitʼ type exercises such as lunges, squats and power jumps. The whole thing lasts 45 minutes and combines the aerobic challenges of high intensity cycling with muscle toning resistance exercises. I was interested to give it a go as all I have done for the past couple of years by way of exercise is (no surprises) Nordic walking.

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