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! 

 

Fill your boots with our friends at GO Outdoors!

From now until 9th July you can use your member discount on top of the 20% Brand Event and Sale items in store only. Find your nearest store here –> https://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/google/store-locator

*Excludes multibuys, bundles, Gift Cards, gas hire charges and concessions inside GO Outdoors stores.

NWUK membership

Not a member? You can sign up at nordicwalking.co.uk. Click ‘Join’. If you have a Nordic Walking UK Freedom Passport you can get the first year’s membership Free (subject to £2.50 p&p). Enter the Freedom code from your Passport in the discount box at Membership Step 1.Don’t have a Freedom Passport? Search for classes or an instructor near you on Exercise-anywhere.com. On completion of a Nordic Walking UK Learn to Nordic Walk course with a Nordic Walking UK instructor you will be awarded a Freedom Passport with a unique Freedom code.

Call 0333 1234540 for more details or go to NordicWalking.co.uk.

On top of the World – Helen’s story

“On top of the World,” well at least the London 02 Arena!!!

This is me after being a member of Mercian Nordic Walking for just over 2 years. I originally joined after trying a “taster” session. This was followed by a training course and obtaining a passport which qualifies me to walk with instructors/groups in other counties and countries. What a great way to enjoy different experiences as a day trip or holiday.

I often reflect on how unfit I was and what I have been able to achieve through the concept of Nordic Walking, fitness and social activities. Previously I belonged to a local gym but was not sufficiently committed to exercising indoors to improve my fitness and therefore make anything like the best use of my monthly subscription. As soon as I joined Mercian Nordic Walking, I cancelled it and have not looked back since. Exercising outdoors is so effective and enjoyable (even in bad weather) due to group support and great banter. Who needs gym equipment when you can use your poles, isobows, park railings, benches and low fences for example?
I have found Nordic Walking (NW) to be a tremendous total body workout as it engages 90% of the body muscles but in addition I have benefited to a very great extent from additional muscular strength and endurance (MSE) training, cardio vascular (CV) exercises and latterly isometrics. I have come to realise how important exercise is per se but more so as we age. It is amazing how quickly muscles can weaken affecting posture and balance with aches and pains developing. A recent video of a trekfit activity I was taking part in, showed me running “knock- kneed’ ( I was so embarrassed) which I later found out is apparently due to weak ankle muscles. I hasten to add that we are always asked if we are Ok with social media and without this video I wouldn’t have known I had muscle weakness. Following a visit to an osteopath, who happens to be a NW instructor, I was recommended strengthening exercises using a wobble board. In addition I found an interesting article in a health magazine for ankle strengthening exercises as practised by ballerinas!! Oh to be a fly on the kitchen wall to see me using the work surface as a ballet barre whilst waiting for the kettle to boil!!! but the exercises are working.
With Mercian Nordic Walking we have a tremendous team of instructors, and walk leaders led by Ian Northcott, who all get to know their clients/capabilities and fitness goals. When I took up the sport, it was then Ian who primarily assessed my fitness. He inspired me to realise the benefits to my health and well-being by gradually introducing me to longer and more challenging walks, trekfit, MSE and CV exercises. I was never put under any pressure to do so but the more I have experienced the benefits of feeling fitter, the more I have wanted to do and Ian’s encouragement, support and enthusiasm is awe inspiring.
Diet is also very much part of my fitness and feeling good: statement of the obvious I hear you cry. Like most of us I am sure, I enjoy a glass of wine or two, or a gin and tonic but don’t need either. I have also reduced my meal portion sizes and snacking between meals. It is amazing how much energy is required to burn just a small amount of calories. Climbing to the top of the O2 only burnt 450!!!! insufficient, I fear, to negate the coffee and cake I had afterwards!!!

Earlier on this year, I went to one of Michael Mosely’s road shows and am now interested in different types of diets and eating patterns. Do I really need to eat breakfast everyday for example.
I digress a little but I wouldn’t have evaluated my lifestyle without the concept of Nordic Walking, health and well being: the best thing I have done for years.
Thanks to Ian and his team for all their enthusiasm for the sport, support and amazing number of walks/activities available each week via Mercian Nordic Walking and now in conjunction with the other NWUK Midlands groups.

Helen

Sarah’s story – Cancer recovery with poles

When regular Norfolk Nordic Walker Sarah told her Instructor Rebecca Wheatley about her reasons for taking up Nordic walking, and the positive effects it has had on her post cancer recovery, she asked her if she would like to share her story as a testimonial to the power of the poles. Below, in her words, is her story:

SARAH’S NORDIC JOURNEY OF RECOVERY
“Post Cancer ……. Start Nordic Walking! 
3 years ago I underwent invasive treatment for breast cancer which left me fatigued, tired and suffering from aching joints long after the treatment had finished.
The NHS stance on post cancer treatment is a good diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise.
18 months post treatment I was still feeling tired with persistent aching joints, so when I saw Rebecca’s advert for a Nordic Walking Taster Session I went along. Not being one for the gym or swimming pool this was the ideal exercise. After I gained my passport I signed up for my first walk at the beautiful site of Caster St Edmunds. 3.5 miles later I was exhausted but thoroughly enjoyed myself, so much so 6 months later, a lot of training, wonderful walks and a huge amount of encouragement from Rebecca and the rest of the team I participated and completed my first ever half marathon on the North Norfolk coast.
As part of my treatment I had my lymph nodes removed from under my arm and after a bout of cellulitis I suffered from mild lymphedema (which left untreated is irreversible). Nordic Walking is encouraged by lymphedema therapists and the Big C and in the year that I have been walking my lymph fluid retention has dropped from 21% to 7.5%.
Now I regularly walk 3 times a week, I’m fitter than I have been in a long while, I can walk up a hill & talk at the same time without getting out of breath! I’ve seen parts of the Norfolk countryside I’ve never seen before and have met a wonderful group of walkers. Whatever the weather we laugh, we chat we have fun!
If there is anyone in the same or similar situation I would say – “don’t think about it – do it!” Rebecca will take you through the training and recommend the right walks for your ability encouraging you with a huge amount of enthusiasm along the way!”

Rebecca, says
“Huge thanks to Sarah for sharing her journey. Hopefully her testimonial might strike a cord with anyone who may be in a similar situation but unsure of where to turn. It’s always empowering to know collectively we are more than just walkers who belong to an outdoor fitness club. We are also a supportive community of lively, spirited souls who enjoy fun, banter and a good laugh too – the best therapies of all!”

If you hail from Norfolk you can find Rebecca’s walks here – if you are from elsewhere in the UK you can find your local group but popping your postcode in here 

Don’t put it off, pick up some poles today!

It’s Warming up outside but are you?

Are you somebody who embraces the warm up exercises at the beginning of a walk or more likely to be grumbling ‘get on with it’ under your breath? YES, our Instructors know that some people just can’t see the point of what seems like a lot of twiddling, circling and stamping BUT there are actually several good reasons as to why, at NWUK, we always start our classes with them.

There is actually a proven process that will prepare a body for exercise, paying attention to the joints, muscles and cardiovascular system. Here’s why …………..

REASON ONE – Lighting your internal fire!

If you try to push cold muscles you are at risk of injuring them and if you don’t allow your body to heat up gently, you simply won’t get the best out of it for the whole walk which in turn will reduce the potential exercise benefits such as weight loss and tone. Your Instructor is trained to gently increase your heart rate in order to literally ignite your cardiovascular system and wake everything up effectively. As well as being advisable for your heart, lungs and blood pressure, this increase of blood flow will raise the core temperature and make muscles, ligaments and joints more relaxed and ready to work

REASON TWO – Joint Mobilisation.

Our joints are surrounded by soft tissue called the synovial membrane, which produces a fluid that acts a bit like oil in an engine, allowing your bones to move past one another more smoothly. Exercise in general encourages circulation of the fluid but before you start putting any pressure on the body its essential to first ease the joints into action and easing out any stiffness. This is where the ‘circling’ comes in – your Instructor is gently taking the joints through their range of movement and preparing them for the walk ahead. This will not only make you more comfortable on the walk but help prevent injury too. In fact good ankle mobility contributes to better balance and fewer falls so don’t skip this vital element of your class. Hip and knee mobility also improves comfort, performance and more crucially, reduces the risk of injury – so go on… enjoy the wiggling drills and feel your body thank you for it!

REASON THREE – Flexibility

Once your core temperature has been raised and the muscles and ligaments are more pliable, your Instructor will incorporate actions that mirror the movements likely to be contained in the walk or session. This type of stretching activity is known as dynamic stretching and is very different from the type of long cool down stretches used for conditioning at the end of a walk. Flexibility is the key to good mobility in older age and that exercising without including it  will actually make muscles shorter, tighter and more prone to damage.

Once your Instructor has fully prepared you for the start of your walk, they will set off at a gradual pace and ensure that you are fully ready to go before tackling any strenuous elements such as steep hills, workout drills or faster pace ‘gear’ work. You will also notice that they start to ease off before the end of the session too in order to prepare you for the cool down which we will cover in the next NWUK newsletter.

So next time you are willing the Instructor to stop ‘walking on the spot’ and get out on those trails, maybe spare a thought for how they are there to help you get results, avoid injury and learn how preparing your body well is a crucial part of being active..

 

 

Out and About Spring 2019

Our groups around the UK have been growing rapidly since January and no wonder with the quality tuition and variety of walks for people to enjoy!

Here is just a snapshot of what they have been up to already this year from tough challenges to weekend breaks and even a touch of Tai Chi!

Watford Nordic Walking took part in The PEACE HOSPICE LONDON BRIDGES WALK on 24th March – They walked 10 miles and crossed 12 iconic bridges as they enjoyed  the iconic sights of our capital city. This was training for many of them and the longest they have ever walked so well done everybody. 

Lots of groups use challenges as way to motivate people and you could do too. Don’t forget the Purbeck 16 mile and 27 mile challenges in September – there is still time to train!

 

It’s a sad Farewell from all at NWUK as Instructor Jackie Reiss from Wimbledon hangs up her poles due to injury. She lead her last walk in March and her fellow Instructors and lovely group will all be sorry to see her go. NWUK and Jackie have been trying to locate an Instructor to take over in the area so if you think you can help – call 0333 1234 540

 

Meanwhile Anthea Osborne and her group have donated a GATE to be enjoyed by all walkers in the Chilterns. The gate was christened in the sunshine near the beautiful Village of Turville where they enjoyed cake and coffee in the barn afterwards too. Great idea chaps – we love the gate which will promote NW to all who open it!

 

NWUK Instructors believe in teamwork and they love their groups to meet up and socialise.  You can check out some of these ‘meet up’ walks on our new www.nordicwalking.social pages. Nordic Walking Essex joined forces with Watford NW for this well attended special walk

Never ones to shy away from having fun, groups right across the UK donned red noses or got up to antics with their poles in order to raise money for comic relief !

Red noses in Preston!

Comedy poles in Derbyshire!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Norfolk Nordic Walking team completed the Marriott’s Way Half Marathon Their Instructor Rebecca Wheatley said ” We trained together and those miles literally melted away”  Why not set yourself a challenge for later this year – we even have a training plan in place for the Purbeck 16 event in September so why not make that your target and get training now!

Another thing we love to do is add new angles to our walks at NWUK and we have recently introduced two new skill sets for our Instructors. In this picture, Janine from Reading is leading a Tai Chi session for her group but if you like something a tad faster paced why not see if your local Instructor has trained to deliver our amazing Speedhyke sessions yet!

Another thing a lot of groups do these days is plan Nordic Walking weekend breaks or holidays. This group from Kent, enjoyed a walking weekend on the Isle of Wight whilst others have explored as far afield as Tuscany and  cross country skiing in Norway. They usually welcome others to join them so check out our holiday pages HERE

 

Spring Nordic Walking kit essentials

Now it’s warming up, we can think about removing a layer or two but it’s a good idea to think beyond clothing in order to stay comfy as the seasons change

Footwear is equally important and whilst we want our feet to stay dry, bulky winter walking shoes can feel hot and heavy so at NWUK we love a lightweight flexible shoe like the GRUBS Discover shoe we recently trialled with spectacular results. They are really lightweight and help with the Nordic technique foot roll too.

Don’t forget NWUK Members can save £££s on these too so log in to your Members area to see the unique Members price.

Now is also the time to look at reducing the size of what we are carrying. We are less likely to need a hot drink or thick extra layer so check out thin backpacks that do not restrict the arm swing and allow air to flow through the back. If staying cool is a priority, why not opt for a waist belt? If you just want to carry a drink, phone, keys, thin upper layer and emergency snack so the Deuter waist pack range are ideal.

 

Finally, don’t forget those absolute Walking kit essentials – WATER is a must and so is SUNSCREEN but we also think there are a few other things that everybody should pop into their NW kit bag

Ticks and insects are now waking up and ready to bite so we love these pocket sized ‘Smidge’ sprays. We always pack them with a tick card just to be sure and add a lightweight foil blanket and squeezy emergency food gel like the amazing mountain fuel just in case we are out longer than planned or anything unexpected happens en route.

Check out our Spring essentials section of the web store to find lightweight hats and other useful kit ideas

Join us for some great walks in the Peak District this May

We know how much everybody enjoyed our mini Festival in the Peak District last May Bank Holiday so although we can’t repeat it due to a lack of venue, WE STILL HAVE THE SAME WALKS FOR YOU TO BOOK over 3 days this May (3rd, 4th and 5th) Come for a day or all three !

Yes the local Team who planned all those amazing Dovedale, Thorpe Cloud and Manifold Valley walks and even added more like Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall!

Although there won’t be a HUB and workshops on offer, there will be plenty of chances to join beautiful well organised walks and meet other Nordic Walkers.

There will also be plenty of social meet ups and the chance to drink in the stunning scenery of the Peak District.

Visit the event website  HERE to see the full range of amazing walks and a list of accommodation etc

Join in, have fun and make sure you send us a postcard to HQ as we are so sad we can’t be there this year!

If you already have a FREEDOM Passport – all you need to do is browse and book the walks of your choice. If you don’t yet have your Passport, don’t worry as you can even get that at the event too – book a conversion course if you have been taught to NW in the past or the Fast Track Learn to Nordic Walk course if you are a complete beginner!

 

 

Get spring-ready with GO Outdoors, plus enter our prize draw!

Save on your seasonal essentials at GO Outdoors with their special NWUK members’ offer.

As a member of Nordic Walking UK, this brilliant deal gives you an extra 10% off* the GO Outdoors Discount Card price. Whatever your adventure, GO Outdoors has everything you need. Choose from a wide range of outdoor gear for over 10 activities including walking, hiking, camping, and fishing. Shop in any of their 65 stores nationwide or go online at www.gooutdoors.co.uk  

To claim your discount, show your Nordic Walking UK membership card in store or use the online code (available in ‘My Membership Benefits) in your membership account on nordicwalking.co.uk  

*Extra discount T&Cs: A valid GO Outdoors Discount Card is required. Discount Cards are available in store and online for just £5 per year. Offer valid until 31st January 2020. Excludes all promotions, Clearance, SALE, Gift Cards and gas hire charges.

IT’S COMPETITION TIME!

As well as this great deal, we’ve also lined up an exclusive members’ email competition where you can win a £50 GO Outdoors Gift Card to spend on anything in store**. To enter, just answer a simple question and email your answer and details so that we can contact you if you win. If you are already a member of Nordic Walking UK, login to your membership account with your email address and password to find the competition in ‘My Membership Benefits’. Closing date for entries 30 April 2019

**Gift Card T&Cs: Gift Cards can be used in store only.

 

Not a member?

You can sign up at nordicwalking.co.uk. Click ‘Join’. If you have a Nordic Walking UK Freedom Passport you can get the first year’s membership Free (subject to £2.50 p&p). Enter the Freedom code from your Passport in the discount box at ‘Membership Step 1’

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Don’t have a FREEDOM PASSPORT?

Search for classes or an instructor near you on Exercise-anywhere.com. On completion of a Nordic Walking UK Learn to Nordic Walk course with a Nordic Walking UK instructor you will be awarded with a Freedom Passport with a unique Freedom code.

Call 0333 1234540 for more details or go to NordicWalking.co.uk.