Tales from the Purbeck Challenges…..

The 2 challenge events at  the PURBECK NORDIC WALKING FESTIVAL are not out and out races but rather timed distance routes. Last we saw people of all levels, take up the challenge and push themselves to complete their selected distance.
 
 
Sue from Bromsgrove completed the tough 27 mile challenge – she says “The Nordic Walking Marathon 2017 is an event I will never forget. I had never entered a challenge before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and also, what I would be capable of. I registered in May and closer to the date had regular emails from NWUK with all the information I needed. There was nothing else to do apart from turning up!
The challenge was very tough but that was part of the fun. Once you get started that competitiveness takes hold and although you are only challenging yourself, that feeling when you overtake someone is great! The focus is on achieving your best possible time. Twenty seven miles in 7 hrs 45mins – I still can’t believe it! The icing on the cake was to finish 3rd fastest female!
I only achieved that time because of the fantastic motivation and support given by Ian, my Instructor, who walked the marathon with me. The steeper inclines were the hardest part for me, making me feel nauseous. Although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I’m glad Ian didn’t show me any sympathy. He simply made me dig deep and get on with it!!
If I do it again, I would definitely do Ian’s Marathon training and a hill climbing course to be fully prepared. To go to this event as a large group would be fantastic and i am glad several of my group are booked in already for 2018.

I’m still buzzing from this experience and to be cheered over the finish line by my hubby and friends was a fantastic feeling. I really would encourage you to give it a go!” 
Sue
 
Meanwhile lots of nordic walkers completed the shorter 16 mile challenge event fpr a host of reasons including motivation for weight loss. Emma on the right of this picture is a busy Mum of three who suddenly realised she was leading a sedentary life. At the end of 2016 she took up NW and this is a picture of her in a Workout Walk (having climbed her very first hill) She fet she needed something to focus on in order to keep her walking every week so the Team at Dorset Nordic walking trained her up for the 16 miler. Emma took part in workout walks during the week and every sunday from July, the team took her out on the Sunday training walks which gradually got longer and tested parts of the actual route. (these are happening again this year folks so check out DORSET NORDIC WALKING if you fancy joining them!)
 
Now Emma walks twice a week and is 5 stone lighter (see second from the right in this picture) In fact she loves Nordic Walking so much she even works at HQ and is on the Festival planning Team “Only problem is I will miss the 16 miler this year as I will getting things ready for the Satuday Night Feast with live music at the HUB. However, I can definatley recommend the atmosphere on the event, everyone was brilliant.The other participants, marshalls, back markers and team giving out medals at the end made it something I will always remember” she says.

 

Adventures of a Nordic Walker – The Camino De Santiago

As someone already with a love of walking you may have already been aware of and caught BBC2’s recent programme “Pilgrimage – The Road to Santiago”. If not, don’t despair it can still be caught on BBC iplayer and it’s worth a watch as it may inspire you to give it a go. The show follows celebrities such as Neil Morrisey, Debbie McGee and Heather Small as they attempt parts of the 500-mile pilgrimage from St Jean Pied De Port in France to Santiago in Northern Spain.

BBC2 Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago

Image credit: www.bbc.co.uk

Regular Nordic walker Julie has walked parts of the Camino and is going back to finish it this year – we asked her about her thoughts on the show and what it’s really like. Continue reading

The Magic of Birdsong and Blossom – Why exercising outdoors is so good for you

The Magic of Birdsong and Blossom – Why exercising outdoors is so good for you

It’s mid-March – we are eagerly anticipating the return of spring, brighter mornings and later evenings. The temptation to hide under the duvet is strong, or if you are more committed, you may head down to your local gym to keep your exercise regime going while you wait for warmer days. Continue reading

Step up and enter our latest prize-winning competition

UPDATE: There’s still time to enter our March competition, but hurry, the closing date is 18 March!


We think you will love this prize for our Nordic Walking UK March members’ competition. 

Enter now for a chance to win a voucher worth £80 to spend on the fabulous range of shoes from www.Rieker.co.uk

 

 

Blending fashionable styles with incredible comfort in a wide variety of footwear for men and women, all Rieker shoes are designed for support, flexibility and durability as well as style.

 

Log into your membership area at nordicwalking.co.uk and select ‘My membership benefits’ for details of how to enter the competition.

Last date for entries: 18 March 2018

PRIZE:
A Rieker.co.uk voucher worth £80

Ts & Cs:
One winner will be drawn from correct entries received by the closing date and will win a www.Rieker.co.uk gift voucher to the value of £80.
Voucher can be redeemed online at www.Rieker.co.uk.  No cash alternative.
Entrants must have an active membership of Nordic Walking UK.

 

Not a member? Join up here for membership benefits including discount at www.Rieker.co.uk, Cotswold Outdoor, Millets, Blacks and many others. Membership costs just £9.95 (plus £2.50 p&p).

 

 

If you completed a Learn to Nordic Walk course and have a FREEDOM Passport, you can get the first year’s membership FREE (subject to £2.50 p&p). Looking for an instructor near you? Search online at exercise-anywhere.com

Get away for less with Cottages.com and your Nordic Walking UK membership card

STOP PRESS! This announcement just received from our benefit partners Cottages.com:

Summer Flash Sale- Extra £50 off breaks June-September – Sale runs from 9th-19th March

Summer Flash Sale- £25 Deposit breaks June-September – Sale runs from 9th-19th March

After last week’s Arctic blast, what better than to dream of a summer getaway in comfort with cottages.com!

We have joined forces with cottages.com to bring members of Nordic Walking UK over 18,000 self-catering holiday cottages, villas and gites in the UK and overseas. Whether you’re looking for a cosy romantic retreat, a fun-filled family getaway, or somewhere large, lavish and filled with luxury, you’ll find a great selection of properties to suit everyone. Many properties offer a short break of 2, 3 and 4 nights, or stay for a week or longer!

To book, simply log into your nordicwalking.co.uk membership account and select ‘My membership benefits’ from the left-hand side. Scroll down through your exclusive membership benefits until you find the link to Cottages.com.

Not a member? Sign up at nordicwalking.co.uk for just £9.95 plus £2.50 p&p for exclusive membership benefits. If you have been awarded your FREEDOM Passport at a NWUK Learn to Nordic Walk course, your first year’s membership is FREE (subject to £2.50 p&p).

Cotswold competition winner

We have been very excited about our Cotswold Outdoor New Year prize-winning quiz and judging by the number of entries, so have you!

The prize was a whopping £250 voucher to spend at Cotswold Outdoor (or Snow+Rock/Cycle Surgery/Runners Need)

The winner was drawn from the correct entries received by the closing date.

The quiz question was ‘The helpful experts at Cotswold Outdoor have compiled a useful list of buying guides on www.CotswoldOutdoor.com. What do they call these?’ and the answer (which can be found on www.CotswoldOutdoor.com) was B. ‘The Knowledge’.

Vicky (left) on a Nordic walk with a friend.

The lucky winner is Victoria Morling of Hertfordshire who walks with Nordic Walking UK instructor Savita Bhudia at St Albans Nordic Walking. Vicky says she is delighted with her prize and looking forward to using her voucher in Cotswold Outdoor in the spring to get togged up and ready for the new season.

Although this competition is now closed, members of Nordic Walking UK can get 15% discount on purchases from www.CotswoldOutdoor.com or in Cotswold Outdoor shops as one of their membership benefits.

Don’t miss your chance to win lovely things in our Nordic Walking UK members’ competitions. Look out for more chances to WIN prizes in our competitions coming soon!

Not a member? Sign up at nordicwalking.co.uk for exclusive membership benefits. If you have been awarded your FREEDOM Passport at a NWUK Learn to Nordic Walk course, your first year’s membership is FREE (subject to £2.50 p&p).

Age is but a number!

Meet Bleddyn a keen Nordic Walker from Cheshire who is pictured celebrating his 90th Birthday with his Instructor Kerley and the group.

You may be forgiven for thinking he could be the veteran of the group but this amazing wellbeing group are proof that walking with poles keeps you young!

Bleddyn is actually six months younger than Gwilym Jones who joined the group in April 2014, originally to recover mobility after a road traffic accident and spinal surgery. Kerley says “Despite undergoing major surgery  and a fractured hip in November last year, he is keen to recover in time to make my next longer adventure walk up Moel Famau. He enjoyed the pictures of my recce walk as his Family have farming connections there and he recalls running up Mountains when helping his Uncles’ there as a boy. This is possibly why he can manage the hills which had me puffing for sure!”

All very impressive BUT Ron Cheesebrough pictured is actually Kerley’s oldest member at 92! He started walking with the group aged 89 in September 2015 having heard about Nordic Walking at a talk for a support group at Leighton Hospital. He tells us he really appreciates the friendships he has made in the group as he finds he has outlived many of his friends.  Ron initially wanted to achieve more mobility and balance, improved breathing and weight loss. He had a heart attack in August 2016 but recovered enough to get back walking again, attending walks both in Frodsham and Chester.

In November he even had keyhole surgery for an aortic aneurysm and the Surgeon commented that it clear that If it hadn’t been for his excellent Lung and Heart Test results and the well received report from his Walking Instructor, there was no way that he would have contemplated that procedure at his age” Kerley’s husband, Ted who is also an Instructor had timed Ron over 100m and told him to let the surgeon know it was 1 min 30 secs!

Whilst Kerley’s Wellbeing group is specifically designed to cater for those with medical conditions, it is certainly not the only group with more senior polers! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking its an activity for the slow or frail either as many of them are far fitter than the majority of the younger group members too.

When we asked our groups if they had any members in their Eighties, it became clear that its actually the norm. In fact many Instructors reported that spritely octogenarians were often amongst the more active of the group too. Helen Richardson who runs the All Seasons NW group in South Gloucestershire told us about Ann Triner (pictured) who at 83 walks regularly. Whilst in Shropshire, the aptly named Barbara Walker is apparently a stalwart at the age of 84 according to her Instructor Beverley.

Here at NWUK HQ we have a brilliant local Instructor, John Challis (pictured) who is also the main route planner for the Purbeck Festival at the tender age of 79! He can be found out in all weathers either testing out routes or teaching technique and many of our younger group members struggle to keep up with him on the hills!

Once we move to Nordic Walkers who are only 70 plus, there are so many inspirational folk out there that we could go on forever. Instructor Ashley Sandy in Wiltshire told us she had 2 extraordinary walkers in this age bracket  – Alan, a 72 year old who Nordic walks 30 40 miles a week and is thinking of tackling the 26 mile Purbeck Challenge in September and Sue Worthy  who just before her seventieth Birthday attended a ski fit course and pictured performing this explosive drill! News has it that Alan wont be the only person over 65 to do the 26 mile challenge either. In fact we have quite a few entries in the senior category, including Eileen from Bromsgrove who at 73 also completed the Cotswold 24 hour challenge last year)

But before you assume that all Nordic Walkers are in the retirement age group…..THINK AGAIN because in the next issue we will be featuring some of our younger regulars and you might be really surprised.

Top technique Tips from our experts

Like when driving, it is really easy to fall into bad habits when out pole walking (especially if you are chatting!)

Some Instructors are very strict on technique whilst others will only ‘nag’ you when you are taking part in workout walks or if you are seeking maximum results FAST but are not putting in the effort. However there are three simple drills which you can do at any time to check if you are letting things slide or taking things a tad too easy!

TIP 1 – ARM SWING

  1. The key to getting a good Nordic Walking action is to engage the major upper body muscles and not just the upper arm. This means you have to concentrate and swing a straight arm until the hand is at handshake height.

If you then plant the pole at a backward angle and use your strap to push forward – you will have made use of all those powerful big upper body muscles. Next time you are out with your poles, pop a sticker on the inside of your elbow and if it disappears when you are poling…….you are bending the arm too much and therefore only using the arm muscles!

TIP 2 – POLE POWER

Another common ‘lazy technique habit’ is to go through the motions of Nordic walking but without actually putting mush power through the poles. The best way to test for this is to walk using the poles and then stop using them but still swing the arms as if you are (simply keep the tips off the ground). If you do not slow down much and/or feel heavier on your feet, the chances are you are not pushing hard enough on the poles to propel you forward. Remember, you should push hard enough onto the poles to really engage the upper body, take the weight off your feet and PROPEL you forward. This drill works really well on a slight incline too.

TIP 3 A CLEAN ‘PLANT’ 

This literally is a tip (well photo of where one goes into the ground anyway) If you are swinging form the shoulder and lifting the poles forward slightly before you ‘plant’ them into the ground, they should leave a clean hole in the ground as shown in the picture on the left.

However, if you do not swing far enough forward to take the hand high enough to lift the pole it may engage with the ground too early causing it to drag along (which reduces your power) and the tell tell signs will be a drag line before the plant point which is usually less marked and deep as a result. If you can’t find ground where you leave the signs try using a hard surface for this drill and simply listen to the noise your pole tips make as you use them. You should hear a clear tap and not a scrape and tap. If you are using rubber paws a lot. another sign of poor planting is uneven wear to the front or back of the paw. Wrongly sized poles can cause poor planting so if you are finding it hard to master this drill – ask your local NWUK to check out your pole height and technique for you.

Have fun and remember………… don’t take it too easy if you want to really experience the power of your poles!

Tips provided by Gill Stewart Author of the Complete Guide to Nordic Walking and the UK HQ Team.

 

JOIN NWUK and CHANGE LIVES!

Do you fancy a new career in Outdoor Fitness?

Are you a current NW Instructor ready for the next step?

This might be the opportunity you have been waiting for.

 

In 2018 we will be concentrating on areas of the UK where it is not easy to find a NWUK class or gain your FREEDOM passport and we are looking for the right people to represent us. If you are a Team player who cares about other people and have the energy and enthusiasm to make things happen …WE WANT TO TALK TO YOU!

Our unique EXERCISE ANYWHERE DIPLOMA is NOT just another training course – it’s a business in a box and we can help you to launch a programme that works for you. Be part of the fastest growing Health Club in the UK and join other NWUK Instructors, to benefit from support, workshops and proven programmes plus a huge amount of PR from an experienced, motivated HQ Team

Call us to discuss how we can help you to develop a satisfying career which will keep you fit and help others to achieve their goals too.

We offer two packages depending on your ambition and lifestyle. Both will enable you to be part of our National network and deliver our award-winning FREEDOM programme. Click here to find out more about the programme.

Areas we desperately need cover NOW are:-

BATH and BRISTOL

NORTH DEVON

CAMBRIDGE/PETERBOROUGH/HUNTINGDON

NORTH WALES

LEEDS

HULL

Our packages are aimed to work around your lifestyle and ambitions…………….

  1. BRAND AMBASSADOR  Ideal for somebody who wants to develop a part time programme with less focus on business or growth (or to support an existing Instructor). Typically our Brand Ambassadors are those who want to deliver a couple of classes a week or possibly integrate NW into a current wellbeing or fitness business. NWUK offer constant support and everything needed to set up classes, promote them and take bookings plus FREEDOM passports and a host of benefits for clients.

2. DELIVERY PARTNER

Our delivery partner Instructors are more focused on building a comprehensive programme that can be a full time job or generate significant income. They work with NWUK to build a ‘club’ that will often include a range of class levels such as wellbeing, ski fit and even eating plans. They will manage a much wider programme with the use of walk leaders and will typically offer several sessions a week for all levels. To help them launch and grow quickly, we offer a more comprehensive training and support package which includes business, sales and marketing training, an on line marketing tool kit and optional personalised website. As we appreciate the pressures of setting up a new venture, we spread the cost of this additional support into 12 monthly payments. This enables our Delivery partners to be generating income immediately and to spread the cost of setting up over their first year in business rather than before the start!.

We are seeking TEAM PLAYERS who want to make a difference and have the drive and enthusiasm to make things happen! Apply now for more information. Still not convinced – Come to meet us at our HQ in Dorset or call us to book into one of our regular REGIONAL DISCOVERY DAYS in 2018. E mail training@nordicwalking.co.uk or call 0333 1234 540

CALL US NOW – YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID!

 

 

 

Planning a break? Check out Nordic Walking UK’s membership benefits first

With the Christmas holidays behind us and two more months of winter weather before us, January is the time many of us start thinking about holidays.

Nordic Walking UK’s benefit partners at Forest Holidays have 10 stunning locations to choose from, each set in exclusive Forestry Commission owned woodland. You can spend your Forest Holiday in one of range of ‘simple luxury’ cabins, suitable for families, couples, nature-lovers, dog-owners and groups.

Get back to nature and explore the amazing forest that surrounds you on your luxury cabin break. You’ll find a number of forest walks and trails that will lead you through the beautiful forest with fantastic views along the way.

Forest Holidays’ walks and trails offer an ideal opportunity to discover the amazing wildlife that inhabits the forest. Bring your binoculars and look out for wildlife, flora and fauna. The forests are quite literally teaming with wildlife!

Nordic Walking UK members can get 10% discount off Forest Holidays for breaks booked by 31st January 2019 and taken by 1st January 2020. Log in and check ‘My membership benefits’ on nordicwalking.co.uk for your member-exclusive link and discount code. Not a member? You can join up at nordicwalking.co.uk – it’s free if you have a Freedom Passport code.