Testimonial of the month

This testimonial from Chris is a great example of how NWUK Instructors literally go the extra mile in order to make sure everybody achieves their goals. Well done Chris for putting in the effort – you look amazing!

“A few years ago, my husband and I thought we were fairly fit for our age, around 66/67, and thought we had a healthy lifestyle. We walked quite regularly with a group of friends. But without realising it, we had gradually put on weight, and consequently often felt tired with not a lot of energy.

One day, I saw an advert in the local paper for Nordic Walking. I thought that might be quite good to do and I worked quite hard in persuading my husband to join me! We went along to 4 ‘Learn to’ sessions in an extremely wet and miserable January. Despite that we enjoyed it and decided to continue all helped by a very enthusiastic leader in Ian (from Mercian NW in Bromsgrove)

We soon met some great like-minded people and began to look forward to the walks and other activities, despite the weather! Ian began to introduce more and more varied activities to the week and we began to join in and were soon very active.
More importantly, we began to realise that we were enjoying ourselves with our new activities and looking forward to each one. Last February, Ian introduced a Healthy Living Course, which seemed to be the trigger for me. I concentrated on my diet, combining it with hard work in indoor and outdoor fitness sessions. It was very hard work at times and I pushed myself far more than I had ever done before, even at a much younger age, when my life involved a lot of sport at a high level.
Soon I began to see results with a loss of weight and having to wear clothes of a smaller size! I have actually lost over 2 stone in about 8 months. That is a brilliant feeling. I began to realise that all the effort was paying off – I can walk faster, am stronger and I feel much, much better and look forward to my NW activities. In fact, on holiday recently, I really missed the NW sessions!
All this involved a lot of effort and hard work on my part, with commitment to regular sessions, but more importantly, a brilliant fitness programme from Ian with continual encouragement and the right amount of ‘pushing’ and also great encouragement from our friends in the group.
Another positive from joining NW is the joy of having made some really great friends and having an incredible amount of fun!”

Bexley Community Project

This is a Nordic Walking group set by the local Council in 2013 using the NWUK Freedom programme . They offer 6- 7 walks per week, a mix of FREE walks once a quarter plus a monthly package of £15 a month which provides access to Workout Walks. Currently attracting an average of 558 walkers per month. 4 Instructors and 19 volunteer leaders

The Team issue FREEDOM passports to participants as part of the wider NWUK Freedom Programme. The group has grown into a really sociable and supportive community activity run by a keen team who also organise trips and even a holiday to Sardinia (see picture below)

What Helen Sadique the project co-ordinator says

“When I was asked to do the Nordic Walking course by my Line Manager I thought why not, let’s try this ‘Walking with poles!’ After a trip to Hampstead Heath one very wet weekend in February 2013 I was hooked straight away. I couldn’t wait to get started, so the pilot ran in July and I started the community project in the September. I have never looked back I often find myself being thankful for having such a great job, being outside getting my steps in, meeting a mixture of people also enjoying the outdoors, I have made many friends as have the walkers – what more could I ask for. Thank you to Nordic Walking UK for bringing pole walking to the UK!”

Testimonials from participants

I attended a Nordic Walking Taster Session back in October 2018, followed by the NW training and I loved it!I had wanted to find a hobby / pastime that combined exercise and being out in nature, together with being social within the community where I live. 

Nordic Walking definitely ticks all these boxes! I have found Nordic Walking Bexley to be a very inclusive and friendly group, that is non-competitive and open to people of all ages and abilities.The Instructors, Helen and Jemma do a great job with keeping you motivated with the variety of Nordic Walks that are available, always encouraging you to get the best out of yourself and walk that extra step!I have recently been on a Nordic Walking holiday to Sardinia which was fabulous…I highly recommend the experience!!

Trudy Abraham

Nordic Walking has helped us improve our fitness levels and is a great aid to a weight loss plan regardless of your age. Meeting like minded people regularly who have similar goals, together with social activities creates a bond of friendship.
Our instructor Helen is the best.

Two 70+ year olds
Bexley N.W.

Swindon Community WALX project

Launching in the Autumn 2019, The Community WALX Swindon project is an initiative set up by Swindon Borough Council and the Live Well Swindon team in collaboration with WASPs (Wiltshire and Swindon Sports Partnership) and funding via a Sport England bid

This initiative aims to provide low cost peer led WALX Activator pole walking in green spaces all over Swindon and is the first project in the UK under the new brand of WALX set up by the team behind Nordic Walking UK

The Exercise referral Team will deliver 12 week courses for rehabilitation and a wider network of WALX community Activators will set up community WALX at set locations where poles are provided.

The Team are able to cascade train more volunteers to help them grow the availability of low cost walks. They will be also be adding more walking fitness initiatives and participants will also be signposted on to the wider WALX network and encouraged to join the full range of WALX available via independent WALX masters who are trained to deliver safe, sociable and inspirational activities.

 

Errdig National Trust Community Project

ERRDIG NORDIC WALKERS (NATIONAL TRUST)

The group started about 7 years ago as part of a National Trust initiative called ‘Let the Outdoors Move You’ but has since evolved into its current form since late 2015. NWUK provided FREE Training to the Instructors to help improve the tuition provided to the public and have supported the group with advice since 2017

They offer two walks per week at Erddig – Wednesday and Saturday.  On Mondays they offer our ‘On Tour’ walks at a variety of different venues. They also offer evening walks and longer walks e.g. The Mawddach Trail.

Walks are bookable and information made available via the NT but FREEDOM passports are not issued or accepted. They average 80 and 100 walkers over the 3 walks per week and ask for a voluntary contribution of a £1 per walk. The monies raised is used for the benefit of the group-purchase of equipment and courses (first aid)

They have four Instructors and three Technique Coaches all trained by Nordic Walking UK we also have 12 Volunteer Leaders.

Project Leader Gareth says

’Nordic walking is the finest way to exercise the whole body and mind. It is a positive activity in developing mindfulness and well being. Starting the week with our ‘On Tour’ walk, taking  in the beautiful  locations of North East Wales really sets me up  and allows me to enjoy my whole week, whatever the weather!  I’ve met new people from a wide variety of backgrounds and the opportunities to chat and socialise with these people has meant that we have become good friends. I came to Nordic Walking following a serious illness about four years ago but I can honestly say that Nordic walking has helped me change my lifestyle and is a massive part of my life now”

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Sefton Community Project

Once of our longest running community projects, the Active Walks Sefton project started in 2011 by Sefton Council/Public Health team. NWUK have supported the programme since it’s inception which was before the full FREEDOM programme and on line booking came into place. The Team do issue NWUK FREEDOM passports.

By 2019 the project has 12 walks a week with average attendance of approx. 200 people per week.

The team which comprises of 1 NWUK Instructor 1 NWUK Community Instructor and 19 active walk leaders offer Free to join walks, Free to ‘Learn to Nordic’ and even Free use of Nordic Poles.

Lead Instructor Georgina Morton says

“I have now trained hundreds of people throughout Sefton to Nordic walk and I still absolutely love my job. It’s wonderful to see so many people enjoying and getting the benefits of such an easy to do form of exercise.”

Wakefield Community Project

Active Wakefield is coordinated by Wakefield Council (Health Improvement department funded by Public Health). Their initial walking scheme started in 1999 for Health Walks and they introduced Nordic Walking in spring 2011 over 4 locations with support from NWUK who provided the community package which included cascade leader training and other tools such as a website. 

Now they offer 9 daytime Nordic walks and 1 evening walk – 6 of these walks are delivered by Volunteer Walk Leaders. They currently have an average of 200 individual walkers who attend their Nordic walk sessions over the 10 locations over the 5 week days.

The sessions are all free of charge and poles are provided too. They are displayed on the Exercise Anywhere portal but booking systems are managed in house due to internal complications.

There are 2 qualified staff (Jane Jukes & Jon Ainsworth) and currently 26 active Volunteer Community Walk Leaders.

Here is a quote from one of their Leaders…………………..

Out n About Summer 2019

Instructor Liz Skelcher (in the purple wig) and her team  from Nordic Walking UK Coast and Country did the St Barnabas Hospice Midnight Walk on Saturday 30th June. They walked 7, 13 or 20 miles and there were about 14 of them! Check out Liz’s moving after-walk interview on the St Barnabas Hospice FB Page  as she outlines her own cancer recovery journey

 

NWUK Instructor Sylvia from Chichester Nordic Walking  married walker Laz on the 20th June with a fitting salute as they leave the Church! Congratulations from everyone at HQ to two lovely people who will continue to inspire others to pick up the poles and join their friendly club! 

 

This trio managed to Nordic walk 26 miles along the Jurassic Coast in pretty inclement weather – an achievement in itself but even more remarkable as the lovely chap in the front is Purbeck Festival route master (and Instructor) John Challis from Dorset NW who celebrated his 80th Birthday on July 15th. The local group celebrated it with a lovely cream tea walk!

Tracey Larvin from Mercian NW took part in a very wet and muddy Bumble Bimble, a cross country run over 5 miles. She nordic walked the race and used this as part of her training plan for the three peaks challenge in July  She finished 44 out of 111 and 24th female out of 78 in 1:04 hrs which as you can see meant she continues to prove that poles provide power and you do not have to run to move fast! “Comments from the runners were very positive says Tracey “The word is certainly getting out there about Nordic Walking”.

 

 

In the spirit of NWUK meet up events, groups from Tameside and Stockport got together recently to do the Tour of Tameside whilst Mercian NW went to Liverpool to catch up with the local Instructor Carolyn and her group  for a themed Beatles walk!

 

Watford Nordic Walking, meanwhile raised money for the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance by joining in the very British Afternoon Tea!

 

 

 

 

We love sharing your pictures and news so please share them on our Facebook page @nordicwalkinguk and send them in to sales@nordicwalking.co.uk 

As a final celebration of Summer we thought we would finish with these lovely pictures of Summer Solstice walks. We actually heard of one Lady who got up at 4 am to join a sunrise walk and still managed to join another group for a midsummer night walk that evening – that’s hardcore NW dedication!

Summer kit – offers and advice

Our no.1 Summer essential has to be the waist pack, avoid sweaty backs and keep your shoulders free from backpack straps by carrying all you need on your hips!

The durable, lightweight Deuter pulse 3 has all the room you need to carry your phone, keys, drink, snack and a light layer or shell jacket. It sits really comfortably around the waist and is designed to stay in place with no twisting or bouncing. 

We love it so much that we have dropped the price to £24.95 but hurry as we only have a few of this style left – Click here to get yours! 

No 2 Summer essential has to be a decent pair of socks! We often hear people talking about wanting thinner socks in Summer or asking if they can walk in sandals with no socks. Our advice is clear, thin socks will not make your feet more comfy they are more likely to cause blisters which are more common in hotter weather due to sweat. It may seem counter-intuitive but you need socks with padded heels and layers that reduce friction and wick away sweat.

Be sure to make sure that shorter socks are high enough to prevent heel rub too. We love the pink Lorpen shorties (black also available) which have a great heel tab and supreme fit. For the ultimate performance on longer walks or challenge events we don’t think you can beat this ultimate trail sock which is padded in all high friction areas and fits perfectly with no seams or bunching – find out more and see a video about the socks here 

Finally, apart from water and sunscreen there is only one more essential we would never be without and that’s a tick card. The grass is long, the bracken is full and the ticks are waiting for a lovely warm host to brush past.

Try to avoid bites by covering legs in high risk areas, using a good spray like SMIDGE  ( we love this handy travel size)  and checking regularly. If you do find one, use your tick card to remove it and be vigilant with checking the bite site and your health in general. If you feel unwell or the bite gets a red ring around it, it is advisable to get checked out by a Doctor asap. Lyme Disease which is carried by Ticks is very unpleasant but can be treated is caught early enough so prevent, check and get checked where necessary!

It looks like some real heat is coming our way this week so try to avoid walking in unshaded areas, in the middle of the day or without access to proper hydration. If you are on medication, it’s worth remembering that heat can affect it’s effectiveness too and that its far more sensible to reduce your mileage or go out in the early mornings/ later in the evenings than to not complete a walk for any reason! We have been trying out some amazing cool towels recently and can recommend them as a great way to stay cool whilst walking or to freshen up afterwards. Search ice towels on line to get the right one for you.

Above all …… enjoy the Summer and make sure your poles get out there too!

 

 

Post walk cool downs – why they are worth the time

In our last issue we explained why NWUK Instructors insist on warming you up and mobilising your joints before you set off. This time we thought we would explain why they ask you to stretch and cool down after every walk.

We know you have busy lives and often want to dash off at the end of the walk but if you want to stay mobile and minimise aches and pains – a proper cool down is essential

The purpose of cooling down is to actually allow your heart rate and breathing to return to normal levels and to decrease joint or muscle soreness. It also helps you to relax and feel the after exercise benefits rather than being rushed, hot and bothered. Miss it and you will tighten up and regret it the next day

HEARTRATE
So why is it important to slow the heart rate down gradually? Cardiovascular exercise increases your heart rate quite substantially and its really good for you to do this but if you stop suddenly it can cause  lightheadedness or a feeling of faintness. This is because blood can pool in the lower part of the body and the major muscles and not be equally circulated to important areas like your brain!
 
BREATHING
Your breathing will also have become deeper so a gentle phased cool down helps to return to its usual rhythm. Just as you would not expect to sprint off without warming up, you should take a little time to allow your body to transition between the exercise state and normality in order to help it improve functionality and reduce stress on your system.
 

MUSCLES

Mass stretch at the Purbeck festival

It’s the same with muscles and soft tissue. Thinks of an elastic band that has been warmed and stretched and then suddenly plunged into cold water. It will tighten up and shorten which is exactly what your muscles do when they have been working hard UNLESS you take time allow them to flush through the lactic acid produced during exercise. The stretches your Instructor will guide you through will keep the muscles long and avoid straining of the tendons and ligaments which will cause joint stiffness.
 
Many Nordic Walkers comment on how they have gained flexibility and mobility since they took up walking with their poles but its important to appreciate that these benefits are more likely to be down to your Instructor who insists that you prepare before the walk and ease down gently towards the end.
 
So next time you pick up your poles whether with a group or on your own, take a few minutes to be kind to your body!
 

 

 

NEW HEADLINE SPONSOR for THE PURBECK FESTIVAL 2019

We are delighted to announce that GRUB’S SHOES have joined forces with Nordic Walking UK to take the Purbeck Nordic Walking Festival to another level! With over 150 walks over 3 days to choose from, this amazing event certainly calls for good walking shoes and since our reviews on the GRUB’S DISCOVER shoes last year (see here) we can’t think of any shoe brand we would rather have at the event!

NWUK Members have already been enjoying a discount on the shoes which really do combine comfort with durability whilst also aiding good NW technique. To get yours before the event log in to your members area to get the code. The festival Host team love them and have been snapping them in all the iconic places (such as Corfe castle pictured here) as they put the miles in to  check and plan all the routes. Come and join us in Dorset this September but HURRY as tickets are selling fast!