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Speaking to Prince Charles about Nordic walking and cancer

It was a tremendous privilege speaking about Nordic walking to Prince Charles last week during his visit to Penny Brohn UK (he is their patron). Nordic walking was on his agenda as it is an important and integral part of the cancer charity's whole body approach and has been running at Penny Brohn UK since I set it up over five years ago.

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Vitamin D: should we be worried? Plus summertime reading

This week the papers have been full of the latest Public Health England warnings about vitamin D deficiency and it's recommendations.  Roughly one in five people have low vitamin D levels.  Given that we're an outdoor walking club, I thought I'd look into it from our perspective.  Why is vitamin D so important, do we get enough of it from our walks alone and, if not, what should we be doing?

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Dealing with neck and shoulder tension plus one walker's story

Last Monday Marion Averill of Clifton Physiotherapy and I ran a joint workshop on neck and shoulder tension.  The good news is that this is an area where we really can help ourselves through a combination of exercises, postural awareness and the correct sitting position.  The even better news is that Nordic walking ticks all the boxes as a tool for reducing tension and maintaining neck and shoulder health.  

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The bottom line plus a new piece of kit

The vital glutes
Our glutes are an incredibly important set of muscles.  They stabilise the pelvis and spine, prevent injury, improve performance and help you look good in your jeans.  It’s why we talk about them so much during our Nordic walking classes.  
If you don’t yet know what (or where) your glutes are, they are the group of three muscles in your buttocks.  The biggest of these is the gluteus maximus.  It has the honour of being the largest and most powerful muscle in our bodies.

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Pole update, challenges, festivals and workshops

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.

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Are people asking you about Nordic walking? Here's some responses to common questions.

We recently posted some brief Nordic walking Q&As on Facebook and you guys loved them.  So here’s a fuller (and I hope entertaining) version - just in case you need them!

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Achieving optimum health and arm swing technique refinements

Optimum health

A couple of weeks ago the Times newspaper ran a big spread entitled “How to be healthier and live longer: A guide to midlife”.  The areas it covered were food, exercise, the mind, relationships, sleep and hormones.  Pretty much every day there is some piece of ‘new’ research espousing the benefit/harm caused by imbalance in one of these areas.  

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How far can you walk? Plus a simple breathing technique for de-stressing and better sleep

I’ve just returned home from our Cotswolds Way walking weekend.  We covered 18 miles yesterday and 10 today.  Those taking part really rose to the challenging distances and, I think, surprised themselves by how well they managed.  It has caused me to reflect on the question of how far you can walk in a day.

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Nordic walking troubleshooting

Whether you’re a beginner or a more seasoned Nordic walker, here are some of the common Nordic walking issues and how to rectify them.

Stiff neck/shoulders after Nordic walking

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Are you a Pushmi or Pullyu? Uphill technique revisited.. Plus one walker's affair with two poles

Hills.  Some of us love them, others endure them.  Whichever camp you fall into, hills are a fantastic way of increasing your fitness, toning your muscles and burning calories.  But how much thought have you given recently to how, with Nordic walking poles in hand, you tackle them?  I’ve noticed recently that there are two distinct styles - a pushmi and a pullyu.  Unlike Dr Doolittle’s fictional beast, these methods are not in a symbiotic relationship, although you can use both styles on the same hill.  One, of course, is where you use the poles to push you up the hill and the other is wher

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