bristolnw's blog

Your fabulous feet - and how to love them

At a meeting of Bristol Health Partners last week, the speed at which people are expected cross pedestrian crossings was discussed.  Guess what the average walking speed for over 65s is?  (The very fact that I’m asking that question is a clue in itself.)  It’s 0.8 meters per second.  This equates to 2.88 km/h or 1.79 mph.  And that’s an average.  I’ve just tried walking at that speed and not only is it hard to walk that slowly but I couldn’t walk properly at that pace.  It was a flat footed shuffle like walk.

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Get Your Life Back: How to Manage Arthritis

We know that many of you are managing arthritis.  Indeed it was autoimmune arthritis that helped lead Vicky to discover Nordic walking and set up Bristol Nordic Walking in the first place. 

An exercise like Nordic walking can help reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis because it maintains mobility and keeps muscles strong enough to support joints.  However, dietary and lifestyle choices are also important and, besides medication, there are other complimentary treatment options. 

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International Nordic Walking Federation convention - Helsinki

All our Bristol Nordic Walking instructors are members of the International Nordic Walking Federation (INWA).  This year, on behalf of our club, I attended their international conference in Helsinki.  Whilst our 'hotel' was a rather functional training centre, it was in a beautiful setting beside one of the largest fresh water spring lakes in Europe.

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Clever exercises while the kettle boils

I was discussing mini health rituals with some of our instructors recently and we came up with a fabulous list of little multi-tasking exercises to boost balance, strength and flexibility.

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It's time to think about vitamin D again

We know vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.  But the benefits don’t stop there.  There’s been a steady stream of research indicating that the ‘sunshine vitamin’ provides a host of other health benefits including boosting the immune system, preventing a range of cancers, protecting against multiple sclerosis, preventing rheumatoid arthritis, and acting as an anti-depressant.  Wow – that’s quite some list.  So it’s worth making sure that we are getting enough. 

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9 benefits of Nordic walking

Whether you want to shed a few pounds, increase your fitness, protect your joints or simply have a fun sociable walk, Nordic walking ticks all the boxes.  It may not be as trendy as running or cycling but it offers much more of a total body workout and is truly something that will help keep you fit and active for the rest of your life.

Our Bristol Nordic walkers have had first hand experience of its many benefits but if you are new to this incredible health sport or are just inquisitive, here's a short list of what Nordic walking offers.

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Nutrition and Nordic walking

I have written many blogs about the benefits of exercise for health.  But as we all know, exercise is only one of the cornerstones.  My missive a couple of weeks ago was about the importance of sleep.  This week I've asked Judy Gowenlock to contribute an article about nutrition.  Judy is one of our regular Nordic walkers and a registered Nutritional Therapist.  This is what she has to say:

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Nordic walking kit for the summer/autumn transition

August is fading fast and the season of mists and yellow fruitfulness is almost upon us.  It’s a bittersweet time for many and whilst I will miss those wonderful long hot sociable summer days, September is one of my favourite months.  An elegant synthesis of reflection and fresh energy, it’s the transition between the end of summer on the start of winter.  For us walkers it can be a confusing time kit-wise.  Cold mornings, hot days, shortening evenings, dew drenched grass, and emerging muddy sections all require us to adapt our clothing and our footwear.  Here’s some things to consider:

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Nordic walking – and other top tips - for better sleep

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life yet not only is it elusive for many of us, it is often positively neglected.  In 1942, less than 8% of the population was trying to survive on six hours or less sleep a night; in 2017, almost one in two of us were.  There are now more than 100 diagnosed sleep disorders (of which insomnia is the most common) and the World Health Organisation has declared a sleep loss epidemic in industrialised nations due to the fact that two-thirds of us fail to get our nightly recommended eight hours.

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Is your head sitting comfortably?

Do you drop your head when you walk – either because you’re afraid of tripping or because you’re lost in thought?  What about when you text or use a computer – where’s your head position then? 

In our club dropping your head to look at the ground when Nordic walking is common.  A natural instinct to protect against falls or a habit that has developed over the years.  Unfortunately it does nothing for your posture and nothing for your health.

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Registered Excercise ProfessionalsInternational Nordic Walking FederationBritish Nordic WalkingBristol Life Awards Winner