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Come with us in 2017
TO NORDIC WALKING WORLD THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE FOR BRISTOL NORDIC WALKING
o you like being outdoors? Want to build exercise into your life but don’t like gyms? Need to ﬁnd something that’s kinder on your joints? Well, it’s time to open your eyes to something that is taking the UK by storm. It’s social, fun and extremely eﬀective. What’s more, it’s something that you will be able to do for the rest of your life, for as long as you can walk and move your arms. It’s called… NORDIC WALKING Nordic walking transforms ordinary walking into a total body workout by using two specially designed poles to enhance your ordinary walking and accelerate you forwards – as fast as you like! Its origins are in cross-country skiing but its popularity has soared so much in this country that we have put together this magazine to tell you more about it - and how you can get started right here in Bristol. In this ﬁrst issue we look at everything you need to get started - from attending a Beginners’ Workshop to the sort of kit you might want to invest in. Plus we look at some of the ways Nordic walking can improve your health and ﬁtness - and the walks and workouts run by Bristol Nordic Walking to help you conquer issues such as neck and back pain. We also report from our group’s trip to Finland - the birthplace of Nordic walking as well as giving nutritional advice to further set you on the road to good health. Signing up for your ﬁrst walk with us couldn’t be easier. Simply visit our website at www.bristolnordicwalking.co.uk and click the Book Now button. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Vicky Welsh Founder Bristol Nordic Walking
Meet The Team
How To Get Started Nordic Walking: Everything You Need To Know Before You Pick Up Your Poles
Nordic Walking For Fitness: Ways In Which Walking With Poles Can Boost Your Fitness
Nordic Walking For Health: How It Can Be A Doctor On The Go
Get Kitted Out: Advice On What To Wear While Nordic Walking
Escape From The City: Walks Around Beautiful Sand Bay And Nailsea
Focus On… Technique: How Nordic Walking Can Help Your Back, Neck And Shoulders
Walk Your Way To Wealth: How Exercise Can Benefit Your Business
Snacks To Step Out With: Nutritious Nibbles To Complement Your Exercise Plan
Enjoy More Vitamin D: Top Tips To Make Sure You’re Getting Enough In The Winter
Ski And Be Free: Exploring Finland, The Birthplace Of Nordic Walking
Timetable Of Regular Walks: Never Miss The Best Walks For You
team MEET THE
Founder and co-owner of Bristol Nordic Walking
Co-owner of Bristol Nordic Walking
I started Nordic walking after post-viral arthritis left me unable to continue running. At the time it felt like a bereavement. Running was the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors, keep in shape, walk the dog and have some ‘me’ time. I decided to train up as a personal trainer and, from there, look at what I could do. That’s how I discovered Nordic walking. Nordic walking has been a magical gateway. Through it, I’ve returned to near full ﬁtness. It enables me to stay trim, enjoy my food - and walk the dog! The biggest revelation, however, has been how Nordic walking gives a total body workout. It’s improved my circulation, back health, posture, core strength and stress levels. Six years ago there was hardly any Nordic walking in Bristol so setting up Bristol Nordic Walking seemed obvious. I wanted to show others how, through the simple act of walking, it is possible to take back control of your health. Meeting Ros was the breakthrough moment. She’s a wonderful instructor and a superb business partner. I like to think we provide our walkers with lots of options, from one hour ﬁtness walks to weekends away. But the thing I am proudest of is establishing Nordic walking at Penny Brohn UK’s national cancer centre. In ﬁve years this has changed many lives. Nordic walking is so simple in its concept but it can transform the way in which we walk and hold ourselves. It is a brilliant way to explore our beautiful countryside and meet new people. Best of all, I’ve found something that will keep me ﬁt and active for the rest of my life.
My life was pretty comfortable. I was earning a good wage in a pharmaceutical company and had very little stress in my life. So why was I always discontent with my job and why, at 40, was my body totally going to pot? I’d always had a back injury from being a nurse but now the rest of my body was starting to have a droopy life of it’s own! I craved something diﬀerent and wanted to feel happy and optimistic. So, even though people said I was crazy, I gave up my lucrative job and took a leap of faith into something that I’d always loved: ﬁtness. I trained as a personal trainer and really enjoyed it, but working in a gym did not inspire me at all. I was doing something I loved, but not where I wanted. That’s when I met Vicky on a ﬁtness course. She’d started up Bristol Nordic Walking a couple of years earlier and as soon as she started talking about it, I knew that was what I wanted to do. Luckily she was looking for someone to help with the business and four years on here we are. I am the happiest I’ve ever been. Every day I get to exercise in the fresh air with lovely people, my back pain has gone, I feel ﬁt and strong and I hardly ever get the coughs and colds that I used to. Nordic walking seems magical to me – it’s such a powerful exercise with amazing eﬀects on the body, but it’s also very gentle so you don’t feel exhausted. I’m starting a more vigorous class called Urban Workout which is for those who want to push it that bit harder. But for anyone out there feeling discontent with their life, make some changes because you have nothing to lose. It worked for me.
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Three years ago at Bristol’s ﬁrst walking festival, I was thinking of joining Ramblers when I overheard Vicky talking to someone about Nordic walking. It sounded interesting - like a walk and workout all in one. Sure enough, I loved it so much that I eventually trained to be an instructor. Nordic walking made me realise how much I’d been putting up with healthwise. I’m a dental technician and often got backache leaning over the lab table at work. Now that’s gone. I’ve also had problems with my feet since birth and couldn’t do a single toe leg raise. Now I can do 40 on each foot. My lower and upper body are so much stronger and in addition, I’ve lost that ‘extra tyre’ round my middle. It’s been an utter transformation.
I was working in the health & ﬁtness industry, mostly doing one-to-one personal training and indoor group sessions, but I’d seen Nordic walkers on the Downs and was interested to know more about it. It looked a bit diﬀerent and, judging from people’s faces, lots of fun. So when I heard Bristol Nordic Walking was looking for more instructors, I applied and have never looked back. I now lead two weekly walks in Oldbury Court on Tuesday and Friday mornings. Oldbury is a mix of meadows, wooded areas, river walks and a few hills something for everyone. Being part of Bristol Nordic Walking allows me to teach something outdoors that is both enjoyable and extremely eﬀective. Ideas and energy bounce between instructors and walkers. I absolutely love it.
I ﬁrst heard about Nordic walking through friends. They were passionate about it and insisted that I’d love it too. I was sceptical. How could it be so diﬀerent from ordinary walking? But one Beginners’ Workshop later, I was instantly hooked. I’d always believed being outdoors and enjoying the countryside has a great beneﬁt on both physical and mental wellbeing. Nordic walking introduces a total body workout on top. It’s such a joy to see others improve their stamina, stand taller, and ﬁnish the class with a smile and a spring in their step. I haven’t met anyone who has regretted making time in their day for Nordic walking We all notice how much healthier we feel, both in mind and body.
I’m an outdoor sort of person but my personal training work is mostly indoors. Teaching Nordic walking has been the perfect compliment and enabled me to give personal tuition - on both technique and ﬁtness - within a group environment. My weekly workout classes are great for muscle strength - and fun too! Bristol Nordic Walking is such a social club with a wonderfully friendly and supportive atmosphere. There’s plenty of chat and much laughter but also space to walk quietly by yourself if you want to. As a personal trainer I know that Nordic walking is unquestionably a superb total body workout. But it is also much more than that. There’s an X factor about it. I think I’d call it ‘total wellbeing’.
Having lived and worked in Austria for many years, I knew about Nordic walking but never tried it. I was surprised to see it on the Downs and when I heard that Bristol Nordic Walking were looking for more personal trainers, I knew I wanted to be involved. As a personal trainer and sports massage therapist I have been struck by just what an excellent total exercise Nordic walking is. I particularly like that is it open to people who might not be natural gym goers. On walks I really enjoy explaining the beneﬁts of particular exercises. There’s a great comradery between both instructors and walkers and always good banter. There’s never a bad walk.
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How to get started
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU PICK UP THE POLES...
ordic walking is simple and if you can walk, you can Nordic walk. It is designed to use as much muscle as possible but to understand how – and to reap the heaps of other beneﬁts – you must learn the correct technique. At Bristol Nordic Walking, we run regular Beginners’ Workshops where our experienced instructor Ros Ingleby will teach you what you need to know. The maximum number of people on any workshop is six so you will get as much assistance as you need to put you at ease. Each workshop lasts just over an hour. It’s great fun, friendly and don’t worry about your ﬁtness level. You can take it at your own pace. Please note, before you can join any of our classes, you must have done one of our Beginners’ Workshops or had some basic Nordic walking training with an instructor elsewhere. Of course, you may have other questions concerning getting started. Here are some of the most frequently asked ones!
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Who can Nordic walk? Anyone who can walk and swing their arms freely can Nordic walk! Age is no restraint although we do not have poles suitable for children. Most of our regular walks are an hour long and these require a reasonable level of ﬁtness, however we also have a shorter, slower paced walk for those who want or need to go at a more gentle pace. Our hour-long walks are a mix of ﬂat and hilly walks to suit diﬀerent ﬁtness needs. We also run Nordic walking workout classes and two hour stamina walks if you are looking for that little bit extra to tone and trim your body.
Do I need to bring my own poles? No. We provide Nordic walking poles but if you have your own by all means bring them.
What shoes should I wear? The very best footwear is waterproof, breathable walking shoes. If you don’t have these then trainers are good (but you’ll get wet feet if the grass is wet). Walking boots are good because they support your ankles but the sole is often quite rigid, making it difﬁcult to roll your foot actively, which is part of the Nordic walking technique. Check out our Get Your Kit feature for more information and some recommendations on what shoes to wear. Top Tip: If you only have trainers why not buy some waterproof socks to keep your feet dry in wet conditions?
What clothing should I wear? No specialist clothing is required. Check out the weather conditions and be sensible. Layered clothing is best, with breathable fabrics and a waterproof jacket. Nothing bulky though as this will restrict you when you walk. A hat and gloves are important in cold weather. Jogging bottoms or stretchy trousers are better than jeans.
What else should I bring? A bottle of water - and something to carry your phone, keys and water in. A bumbag or small backpack is ideal.
Do you still walk if it’s raining? Generally yes but if it’s very wet we don’t go out as the
walking conditions become slippery and unsafe. If in doubt call your instructor. We never walk in thunderstorms.
How ﬁt do you have to be? Nordic walking is suitable for most ﬁtness levels as you can make your walk as hard or as easy as you want. We have a wide range of class types and diﬃculty levels so there should be something for you whether you are just starting out on your ﬁtness journey, reasonably ﬁt already, or coming back from injury or illness. We also run dedicated Parkinson’s walks and have linked up with Penny Brohn Cancer Care, providing Nordic walking classes for people with cancer - see the feature on Nordic Walking For Health.
How big are your classes? The maximum number we will take in a group is 16. You need to book into a class via our Bookings page and, as some of our walks are very popular, we recommend that you book early.
Can I use trekking poles for Nordic walking? No. They have a diﬀerent grip and strap from Nordic walking poles and this makes it difﬁcult to master the correct Nordic walking technique.
I’d like to buy my own poles - can you recommend what I should buy and where I can buy them? Yes we can recommend what type of poles would be best for you so just speak to your instructor. There are lots of factors to take into consideration - where you’ll be walking, whether you want to travel with your poles, how much you are planning to use them etc. See the Get Your Kit feature on which Nordic walking pole to buy. Bristol Nordic Walking members get a discount on poles when purchased from certain outlets. To book a Beginners’ Workshop, visit www.bristolnordicwalking.co.uk/book-now and click the ‘New To Nordic Walking?’ link. Or you can call Ros Ingleby for an informal chat on 07886 885213.
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Nordic walking for...
WHETHER YOU WANT TO SHED A FEW POUNDS OR INCREASE YOUR CARDIOVASCULAR ACTIVITY, NORDIC WALKING TICKS ALL THE BOXES
ordic walking is a sure way of building up your ﬁtness levels. You’d be surprised at just how much of an allover body workout it gives you. Here are the key ways that Nordic walking can get you ﬁtter, stronger and healthier.
Improves Your Aerobic Fitness Aerobic ﬁtness is the body’s ability to take in, transport and utilise oxygen to supply energy throughout the body. It naturally decreases with age but we can have a signiﬁcant impact on this. Many of our walkers say that thanks to Nordic walking, they are ﬁtter now than they were a decade ago. You can improve your aerobic ﬁtness by building up how often you exercise and for how long, as well as how intensely you exercise.
Tones Up Your Muscles You do not have to lose weight to lose inches. Developing good muscle tone and improving your posture will have a
dramatic impact on how you look and feel. Nordic walking naturally encourages optimum balance and posture. You feel better, look trimmer and walk taller as soon as you pick up the poles! It’s superb for toning your legs but it also sculpts your arms, cinches your waist and tightens your core abdominals. So the beneﬁts continue long after you’ve ﬁnished your walk.
Strengthens Your Heart Just like lifting weights repeatedly can make your muscles stronger, regular cardio exercise actually makes your heart (which is also a muscle) stronger. The stronger your heart is, the more blood it can pump with each beat. That means your body gets oxygen faster and more eﬃciently, improving your circulation and lowering your resting heart rate. A heart that’s in good shape beats fewer times at rest. It’s a great indicator of ﬁtness and many athletes have very low resting heart rates.
Increases Your Stamina Although you might feel tired in the short term after a Nordic walking session, over the long term your stamina will increase and you will have more energy. This also means that you can go for longer, harder walks (or generally workout longer) without getting tired. Plus it helps you recover faster after exercise.
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Building WITH BRISTOL NORDIC WALKING
Ayshea Luckraft’s story I’ve worked in an oﬃce for the last 18 years and soon after starting, even at the age of 21, it began to show in my waistline and energy levels. My job with an insurance company was interesting and challenging but also sedentary. Sure I got to meet new people around Europe but, there again, the element of travel also involved wining and dining - another blow for the waistline. Over the years, the weight had piled on and the muscles I once had became well hidden. I just did no exercise – eat, work, eat, work, eat, sleep was my daily routine. Then in 2015 there was a health drive at my company and we were oﬀered a taster lesson with Bristol Nordic Walking. From the moment Vicky gave her introduction, I felt I’d found the exercise for me. She measured us up to ﬁnd the best length of poles and then we strode oﬀ into a ﬁeld next to the oﬃce. I’m sure my technique was appalling but Vicky’s enthusiasm rubbed oﬀ and I quickly realised exercise didn’t have to be diﬃcult and boring. After taking a Beginners’ Workshop, I found out about the Body Boost plan - a plan for the next three months to build an exercise routine into my life. It was the kickstart I needed. Vicky put together a personalised plan for me and I was determined to stick to it. It wasn’t easy. Sometimes travelling for work meant having to exercise in a hotel room in another country (and time zone). Yet soon I began seeing changes: my arms and legs were toning and my waist wasn’t quite so squishy anymore. Apart from the physical beneﬁts, I love the social aspect of making new friends while keeping ﬁt. The variety of walks also keeps it interesting - my favourite are the Nordic walking workout classes, where not only do we have a good walk, we also ﬁt in some weights or other toning exercises. The key thing for me is that Nordic walking has put my worklife balance into perspective. So much so that I miss it when I’m away – not just the exercise, but the lovely people too. Nearly two years on, I can’t see myself taking another sport as seriously as Nordic walking. Instinctively, it feels like a longer term option for health beneﬁts - both physical and mental that I hope to be able to continue for many years to come.
A personalised ﬁtness plan to help you tone, trim and lose weight. This plan runs for six or twelve weeks, is built around your speciﬁc ﬁtness goals, based around our Nordic walking classes, and includes an additional workout programme for you to do at home. It is designed to be used in conjunction with your own healthy eating plan and is a fantastic way to kick-start your ﬁtness campaign, whether this is to lose weight, increase your stamina or trim, tone and strengthen.
Nordic walking workout (one hour) These classes are run by a qualiﬁed personal trainer and combine Nordic walking with additional exercises to help you increase the intensity of your workout and tone and strengthen your body even more. Don’t worry, there’s no getting down on the muddy ground - we just use ﬁtness bands, park benches and occasional weights to ensure you get a great workout.
Regular ﬁtness classes (one hour) We have over twenty of these a week, including evenings and weekends. These hour-long ﬁtness classes have three components to them – a warm up, developing your Nordic walking technique, and improving your strength and cardiovascular ﬁtness. We give our walks easy, moderate or challenging ratings so you know what level the class is pitched at.
Stamina walk (two hours) If you’re looking to increase your stamina, boost your ﬁtness or lose some stubborn weight, our two-hour stamina walk could be just the thing. Starting in Leigh Woods, this class is a brisk-paced Nordic walk with a few hills thrown in and technique advice along the way when needed.
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Nordic walking for...
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF WAYS THAT NORDIC WALKING CAN HELP YOU BACK TO GOOD HEALTH
ordic walking isn’t just about keeping ﬁt and building up stamina and speed. Slow things down and it can have a positive eﬀect for anyone whether you’re recovering from injury or surgery, managing a chronic condition such as Parkinson’s or undergoing treatment for cancer. Here are some ways that Nordic walking can be like having a doctor on the go!
Parkinson’s Parkinson’s aﬀects the part of the brain that controls movement. It results in aching, stiﬀness and rigidity, in both muscles and joints. Walking with small shuﬄing steps is common, as is tiredness and depression. Nordic walking mobilises the whole body. This helps to ease stiﬀ and sore joints and strengthens muscles. It also focuses on being active with your feet, standing tall and moving with good posture. All of which helps to lengthen stride and strengthen the abdominal core, making walking easier.
Cancer Cancer treatment can leave you utterly exhausted, feeling that your energy is so low that you cannot exercise. However, exercise is key – both in helping increase energy and also to protect against future cancers, especially bowel and breast cancer. The beauty of Nordic walking is that the poles support and
can really empower you to get out and be active – from the point of diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. Many people with breast cancer have the lymph nodes under the armpit partially or entirely removed during surgery, often leading to lymphedema. The pendulum swing in the Nordic walking technique helps drain the lymph and increases the blood ﬂow to the whole shoulder and chest area, helping the healing process.
Recovering from injury or surgery Nordic walking is a smart and eﬀective way to get back into exercise after an injury or operation. Using poles takes the pressure oﬀ knee and hip joints as well as being there for support if your balance has been thrown or your energy is low. And because you use 90 per cent of your muscles, it gets your whole body moving, energizing it and boosting circulation, helping you back to ﬁtness in a fun and eﬃcient way.
Stress and anxiety Stress and anxiety are very real issues for many of us. We’re bound to feel mental and emotional pressure at times and it’s important to have a way to deal with it. Nordic walking taps into the rhythmic nature of walking. You are also outside, connected to what’s going on in nature and beneﬁtting from the natural light. There is space to walk quietly and mindfully by yourself or be sociable and talk as you walk. Both are powerful ways to boost your mood and de-stress.
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Jason Victory’s story “It’s metastatic cancer… it’s inoperable, I’m afraid.” That single sentence turned life upside down for me and my young family. At 49, it represented an extreme bereavement. You are supposed to go through the ﬁve stages - anger, denial etc. I didn’t feel anger at ﬁrst but after chemotherapy, it surfaced in a way I didn’t expect. You see, I was angry with well, exercise. Exercise, why hadn’t you protected me??!! I’d led an active lifestyle that should have given me a century lifespan. But slowly I realised my preferred sort of exercise may not have protected but contributed to my illness. Short and intense gym exercise used to be my favourite running, weights, ergometer training. These furious sessions were invariably followed by intense fatigue and depletion, which I’d always countered with sugary treats. My oncologist told me that a healthy lifestyle improved the prognosis of cancer patients: a good diet, taking the right supplements… however, most lifestyle beneﬁt would come from exercise. But I didn’t feel like exercise! And when my legs became weakened from the chemotherapy, it was a further barrier. Time passed and thankfully the cancer didn’t spread. I decided to embrace exercise again. But which one? As far as I was concerned, the gym was unhealthy. A friend suggested Nordic walking. I had heard about it at the Penny Brohn Cancer Care help centre so I investigated further: outdoors aerobic exercise, fresh air, the sun for vitamin D, social... It sounded ideal. I signed up to a Beginners’ Workshop with Bristol Nordic Walking. The exercise was hard but fun. And when I wasn’t chatting, I could be mindful: I could pray, focus on the present, communing with my inner psyche, rather than getting distracted by fear, anxiety and worry.
Nordic walking was also safe for those like me with peripheral neuropathy. I signed up for more walks and it didn’t take long for my core muscles to strengthen and my balance to improve. It also helped with lymph drainage, improving my limb strength. In short, a total body workout. Then came goal setting. I had a dream to walk 192 miles coast to coast through the Lake District, the Dales and magniﬁcent Yorkshire Moors. Support from my family, friends and the fantastic instructors at Bristol Nordic Walking would help me to achieve my goal. Six months after joining the group, I found myself in St Bees in Cumbria, poles in hand. I set oﬀ, slightly worried what I’d let myself in for! The ﬁrst few days were tough but my Nordic walking poles were invaluable in helping me onwards. As were the beautiful surroundings and the support from my family and friends. Two weeks later, a little lighter, a lot ﬁtter and my chosen charity - The Harbour - £6,237 better oﬀ, I walked into Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire. I was exhausted but utterly ecstatic. What a journey! Thank you Bristol Nordic Walking mission accomplished!
WALKS FOR HEALTH WITH BRISTOL NORDIC WALKING
We oﬀer twice-weekly dedicated walks for people with Parkinson’s and a Nordic walk at Penny Brohn Cancer Care for those with cancer and their carers. For more information on these walks please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Parkinson’s UK Bristol branch or Penny Brohn Cancer Care directly.
We oﬀer a shorter, slower walk on the Downs every Tuesday at 11.15am for those who want to take things at a more leisurely pace.
One-hour walks on The Downs We grade our walks Easy, Moderate or Challenging, so you know which one will suit your needs best. Our mid-morning walks on the Downs are particularly suitable if you aren’t conﬁdent about your ﬁtness or are wanting a ﬂat walk at a steady pace.
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Kitted Out All you’ll need to stAy dry And comfortAble
whilst out wAlking this Autumn And winter
he misty mornings and darkening evenings are a reminder that autumn is well and truly here and it is easy for a spot of wind and rain to put you off any good intentions you might have to nordic walk. but kit yourself out with the right gear and you’ll have no excuse!
Footwear there’s nothing worse than trudging around in soggy shoes so it is definitely worth investing in a pair of walking shoes that are comfortable and durable. for nordic walking you want a boot/shoe that has a good flexible sole and a cushioned heel. This enables you to achieve a proper heel-toe roll, which is a key part of the technique. Shoes have more flexible soles than boots, but boots offer more support for your foot and especially ankle protection. As every foot is different there is no one perfect shoe. try before you buy and opt for something that’s reasonably light. if your footwear is too heavy, you will end the walk with tight or sore hip flexors. if possible, buy waterproof footwear. gore-tex or similar waterproof membranes allow your foot to breathe whilst preventing water penetrating. the very best waterproof material is leather and one of the most popular leather boots for nordic walking is the scarpa terra, which combines a leather outer with a gore-tex membrane and a flexible sole. Popular makes of waterproof shoes include merrell, salomon and keen. you need to re-waterproof boots and shoes very regularly if you want them to stay in good condition. soggy feet completely spoil a good walk! If your footwear isn’t waterproof a great alternative is to buy some waterproof socks. Try DexShell or Sealskinz.
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Your feet will be doing a lot of work when Nordic walking so consider a sock with good cushioning, especially around the heel and on the ball of your foot. Also, the strong heel strike and powerful push off, coupled with the increased speed, will mean your feet are likely to get hot and sweaty. Buy a sock with good wicking ability and odour management qualities. Avoid socks that bunch up round your toes or have rough seams that will irritate your feet.
Essentially there are two kinds of ‘waterproof’ jacket: water resistant (or showerproof) and fully waterproof. Water resistant jackets are treated with a waterproof coating while fully waterproof jackets are made with a waterproof membrane and taped, or sealed, seams. As well as being waterproof, your jacket also needs to be breathable – to let out all the sweat and perspiration! This means buying something with a waterproof membrane such as Gore-tex, HyVent or eVent. This pushes up the price, though, but it is a worthwhile investment. In fact, your waterproof jacket is likely to be the most expensive piece of kit that you buy.
GaiterS These are very useful and well worth buying. The grass in the autumn is long and wet and gaiters stop your trousers getting sopping. If your trousers get wet your socks are likely to as well. In the winter, gaiters take the worst of the mud and muck, leaving your trousers clean enough to wear another day. You can buy long or short.
trouSerS The main thing is that they need to be comfortable! This generally means buying something that is breathable, with a good wicking fabric, which allows freedom of movement. You can buy lined or unlined trousers. The most popular Nordic walking trousers are Craghoppers and Rohan. If it’s really cold, thermal leggings make a good base layer.
BaSe and mid layerS Layering your clothing is the key to comfort. It gives you the versatility you need for Nordic walking. You may start off chilly at the beginning of a walk but you will certainly warm up once you get going! Layering means wearing several layers of lighter clothing which, when combined, provides good warmth. In the winter months you will probably want a base layer, followed by a fleece or similar (the mid layer) under your jacket (top layer).
HatS, GloveS and BuffS Hats, caps and head warmers stop the wind blowing your hair into your face plus they keep you warm. Gloves are a topic of much debate. The Nordic walking technique allows you to be very active with your hands, which improves circulation and helps keep them warm. However, most Nordic walkers use gloves or mittens in the winter. Smooth (synthetic or leather) gloves are better than wool gloves as the wool tends to get stuck to the pole’s Velcro strap. You don’t want anything too bulky as it makes it difficult to do the straps up and harder to use the poles technique-wise. Buffs are great on a cold day, especially as they are very scrunchable. It means they’re easy to take off and shove in your pocket when you get hot.
Head torcHeS An absolute must if you are joining any early morning or 6pm classes this autumn and winter.
See overleaf for Nordic walking poles you can buy
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PICK OF THE POLES
The use of poles is always included in walks with Bristol Nordic Walking but, in all likelihood, there will come a time when you’ll want to invest in poles of your own so you can Nordic walk whenever and wherever you wish. There are three diﬀerent types available. Fixed length poles are solid and dependable. Very little goes wrong with them. If you’re not wanting to travel with your poles or share them with anyone else, this is the best pole for you. If you have decided on a ﬁxed length pole the next question is: what length? A word of caution here. Often, when you start Nordic walking, a shorter length pole will feel more comfortable. This is principally because you are still developing your technique and it is generally easier to learn on a shorter pole. As you become more proﬁcient a longer pole may be more appropriate (you can get more rotation for a start). The textbook correct pole length is 0.68 x your height. You, of course, may be the exception to the rule so don’t rush into buying a ﬁxed length pole – wait until you’ve grasped the technique. Also try diﬀerent lengths then go for the one that feels the most comfortable –
even if it isn’t your ‘text book’ height. Travel poles are the best option if you are planning on regularly travelling with your poles - especially abroad. They ﬁt comfortably into a suitcase or down the side of a mediumsized day pack. But be warned: if you put them in your hand luggage, they may be conﬁscated. Most travel poles are made up of three sections and collapse down, telescope style, to approximately 62cm long. Potentially, because of the number of sections, more can go wrong with them. It is exasperating if your poles won’t ‘bite’ at your required height so buy good quality ones (Exel or Leki) and this shouldn’t happen. You can use your travel poles for every day Nordic walking but you may ﬁnd they don’t feel quite as sturdy and dependable. Adjustable poles are a sort of hybrid cross between ﬁxed length and travel poles. They come in two sections so again they might not tighten properly – and they do not collapse down enough to ﬁt into a bag or suitcase. They are perfect, though, if you are sharing your poles with someone else who is a diﬀerent height or you plan to do lots of hill walking and want to adjust your poles to maximize your technique going up and down hill.
CARBON, COMPOSITE OR ALUMINIUM? The top of the range pole is 100% carbon, which makes it strong and light and means you don’t feel any vibration when you strike the ground - ideal if you are planning on doing a lot of Nordic walking or are likely to be walking on hard surfaces, especially tarmac. You may also have a medical or other reason why you don’t want vibration running up the pole to your hand/ arm/shoulder area. If none of that applies to you, then look at poles with a lower carbon content or aluminium poles, which are a lot cheaper.
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Mountain Sports outdoor experts serving Bristol since 1973
hen Frederick ellis Brigham opened his walking boot shop in Manchester back in 1933, nordic walking was barely on the radar in the uK. Boots were made of heavy leather and nails held the soles on - a far cry from today’s lightweight boots incorporating gore-tex liners. it was after the second World War that mountain walking and climbing became more popular and by the mid 50s, the Brighams began to visit the Alps on a regular basis to buy the latest equipment. Jump forward to the 70s and Bristol becomes home to the fourth ellis Brigham store, add 40 more years to that and there are now 17 stores nationwide. What hasn’t changed is that it is still a family owned and run business, staffed by experts and enthusiasts selling the latest innovations in outdoor equipment and clothing. As you’ll have read in the ‘get Kitted out’ feature, the right gear will let you continue your nordic walking through autumn and winter. performance fabrics are really important during these months as the contrast between the outdoor temperature and your body temperature is greater, leading to perspiration which if not wicked away from the body, leads to coldness. think condensation on windows! Likewise fit is crucial. A phrase you’ll often hear in relation to performance clothing is Motion Fit. it means that the clothing has been designed to allow the natural motion of your body to continue without restriction. For nordic walking you will need jackets with extra stretch around the armpits to allow your arm movement to flow. Under arm or side vents are also useful for keeping cool during high aerobic activity. trousers in stretchy softshell materials will allow you to stride out comfortably. the experts in the Whiteladies road store will gladly talk you through the different options.
Footwear is probably the most important piece of equipment you invest in as uncomfortable shoes can thwart even the most dedicated nordic walker. We asked ellis Brigham’s Bristol based footwear buyer and fitness expert, Jeremy Stevens, to give us a few tips on finding the right pair for your feet. •
think about the terrain you are going to be walking on and choose appropriately. if you plan to stick to light trails/canal paths/pavements, you’ll find a shoe adequate. However if you’re heading onto trickier terrain, you might benefit from a boot so that your ankles are supported and protected.
if it’s slipper-like comfort you’re after, consider a footbed. They dramatically improve fit and performance by supporting the structure of your own foot. this in turn helps muscles to relax and stops them tiring as quickly.
Fit problems often stem from the foot itself rather than the boot. Try different brands to find the one that fits your foot shape the best.
Pop into the store and ask about Surefit - it will involve looking at your boot history, foot shape and biomechanics and ensure you leave with comfortable feet and the ideal footwear.
Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports can be found at 160 Whiteladies Road, Bristol, BS8 2XZ www.ellis-brigham.com
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There are two car parks to choose from - one in the middle of Sand Bay beside the bus terminus and one by Sand Point itself. This gives you plenty of walking options. There is also a rather quaint tea room just near the bus terminus, serving toasted sandwiches and cream teas.
ENJOY SOME CALMER SURROUNDINGS WHILE NORDIC WALKING
Sand Bay A stunning coastal walk within 40 minutes of Bristol
One-mile walk (easy)
If you’ve never been to Sand Bay before, it is well worth clearing your diary to make space for this gem. It’s hard to believe that there’s such a delightful coastal walk so close to Bristol. Sand Bay is a long expanse of sand and shingle just above Weston-super-Mare. It faces Wales and is ﬂanked at the southern end by Worlebury Hill and, to the north, the Middle Hope Nature Reserve and the magniﬁcent headland of Sand Point. This limestone headland together with Brean Down (another fabulous walk a few miles down the coast) are the last sections of the great Mendip Hills escarpment before it disappears into the Bristol Channel, re-emerging several miles out as the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm.
If it’s a ﬂat walk you’re after then stay in Sand Bay itself. You can enjoy walking on the hard, wet sand if the tide is out and see the collapsed Pillboxes, reminders of the Second World War sea defences. Sand Bay is popular with dog walkers and horse riders - but it isn’t a place for swimming as there’s dangerously deep mud out to sea.
Three-mile walk (moderate) If you have the time and energy, it is deﬁnitely worth climbing to the Sand Point headland itself (an ascent of about 40m) and enjoying the three-mile circular walk along the length of Middle Hope. The terrain is mostly grassy
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© Crown copyright 2016 OS licence number 100058039
and fairly decent underfoot, even in the wetter months, and the views across the Bristol Channel on a good day are stunning. There is no protection from wind and rain though, so be prepared.
Five-mile walk (moderate) This circular walk starts in the middle of Sand Bay and heads inland to the ancient Woodspring Priory before ascending to the Middle Hope Nature Reserve. You then walk back along the length of Middle Hope towards Sand Point, before
coming back down into Sand Bay itself and ﬁnishing - if you so wish - at the tea room. This is an inland and coastal walk all-in-one, with plenty of historical and geological interest and glorious views. The footpath to Woodspring Priory is across low-lying ﬁelds which can get very boggy in winter, so good footwear and gaiters are advised. Address: Beach Road, Kewstoke, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, BS22 9UR
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Nailsea Fitness Walk
A sanctuary beyond the supermarket
Our regular walks are not just in the centre of Bristol. We are beginning to expand further aﬁeld – for instance, did you know that we run a class in Nailsea? Nailsea is an enticing mix of parks, footpaths and woods and an excellent place for Nordic walking. Whether you’re new to Nordic walking or one of our regular walkers, it is well worth a visit. With Patsy, our instructor, you might head towards the small but pretty copse known as Nowhere Wood, or even walk round the Backwell Lake nature reserve. Every walk is diﬀerent and the variety of walking surfaces is great for ﬁtness. The footpaths provide you with a powerful core and upper body workout as you have to push harder through the
poles than you would on grass. The parks and playing ﬁelds oﬀer a reliably even surface for working on technique and having a cardio workout without hills. Nailsea is only a short drive from Bristol, Portishead and Clevedon. There are plenty of cafes to have a cuppa afterwards and a Tesco and Waitrose if you want to combine your walk with your weekly shop! So why not come along and give it a try? Nailsea meeting place: Nailsea, entrance to Tesco car park, Stock Way North, Nailsea, Bristol, North Somerset, BS48 1AQ To book onto this or any of our walks, visit our website at www.bristolnordicwalking.co.uk
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THE BACK, NECK AND SHOULDERS HERE’S HOW REGULAR NORDIC WALKING SESSIONS CAN HELP EASE SPECIFIC ACHES AND PAINS
ccording to a report by the British Chiropractic Association, almost 80% of us suﬀer back pain at some point in our lives with nearly a quarter suﬀering daily. The problem isn’t so much injury as our increasingly sedentary habits and lifestyle. We sit in front of a computer screen - 82% of us for up to six hours! We drive instead of walk. We are overweight - in the UK, two-thirds of us are either overweight or obese. And we have increasingly frenetic and stressful lives which often manifests in neck, shoulder and ultimately back pain.
and helps re-educate your body to hold itself correctly, even when you are not Nordic walking. •
Nordic walking strengthens the deep abdominal (‘core’) muscles which protect your back and improve your balance and posture. Every time you plant the pole in the ground you engage these important muscles and the more ﬁrmly you plant, the greater the workout.
The more advanced Nordic walking technique gently rotates the spine, boosting circulation the whole way down and increasing oxygen and nutrients to the discs and vertebrae. This is immensely important and the beneﬁt cannot be underestimated.
Nordic walking is a powerful, bone-strengthening exercise and works 90% of the muscles in your body. It also strengthens the all-important glutes (buttock muscles) and pelvic ﬂoor, both of which play an important part in stabilising our bodies and supporting our backs.
It is based entirely on the body’s natural walking pattern and is nurturing, not jarring like running.
What to do? Well, get Nordic walking of course. This is why: There are diﬀerent sorts of back pain, the most common being lower back pain, upper back (and neck) pain and general all-over back stiﬀness. Nordic walking can help every one of these conditions for the following reasons:
The Back •
It improves your posture and your awareness of what good posture is and how to achieve it. Most of us tend to look down too much, round our shoulders and bend our heads forwards when we are sitting at our desks, at the computer, driving and eating. This puts immense stress on our necks and upper backs and pulls us completely out of alignment, often resulting in back pain. Nordic walking corrects this
If you already Nordic walk, you will know the truth of the above points. If you do not already Nordic walk and have any sort of back pain I urge you to give Nordic walking a try.
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The Neck And Shoulders
When Standing Or Walking:
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. This summer Bristol Nordic Walking held a workshop on this very subject with Marion Averill of Clifton Physiotherapy. The key message is that we should not ‘force’ ourselves into the correct postural position. Aim to be a Margot Fonteyn yes, even you men - not a sergeant major. Perfect posture comes with the gradual re-education and strengthening of muscles. This will take time and perseverance but you may be surprised by how quickly your body responds. Marion’s recommendations are as follows:
The gap between your hip bone and rib cage is very important. Imagine you have a spring here which stops your rib cage collapsing down.
Another imaginary spring is between your ear and shoulder, keeping your neck lengthened and your shoulders down.
As well as two springs, imagine two strings. One is attached to your chest, pulling it forwards and upwards. The other is attached to the top of your head, lifting your head up and off your shoulders.
Keep your shoulders wide.
Rotating your upper body is KEY to releasing neck and shoulder tension.
For more information about Clifton Physiotherapy, contact Liz or Sarah on 0117 970 6390 or visit www.cliftonphysio.co.uk
Do not perch on the edge of your seat. This just strains the postural muscles which will tire easily and leave you with an aching back/neck. Instead, push your bottom right to the back of the chair using a lumbar support where possible. The chair is then supporting your body allowing your neck and back muscles to relax. Make sure all the other components for desk working are correct - chair, desk and computer height. NHS Choices has a useful guide on how to sit properly.
Whilst Nordic walking provides many neck, shoulder and back benefits, don’t forget that we are not neck, shoulder or back experts. If the Nordic walking itself or any of our mobilisation exercises cause you pain or discomfort, stop doing it and book yourself an appointment with your doctor or a physio to get checked out.
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W ALK Y O U R W AY T O
BRISTOL NORDIC WALKING’S VICKY WELSH EXPLAINS WHY EXERCISE CAN DO A COMPANY THE WORLD OF GOOD
ccording to the Department of Work and Pensions, every year more than 130 million days are being lost to sickness absence in the UK, costing the economy a staggering £100 billion. Employers will have their own statistics on the costs of time lost through employee absence but it’s worth bearing in mind that a number of studies have looked at the impact of health and well-being on productivity and most have concluded the same thing... Unless something is done to increase physical activity levels, the ﬁnancial burden on companies through days lost to sickness will soar. Back, neck and muscle pain are three key reasons for days lost - all things, incidentally, that can be helped by Nordic walking. But of course, actively providing your workforce with the means to partake in any sort of regular exercise will reap dividends. A healthy workforce is more productive. This has a direct impact on the proﬁtability of a company as well as morale. One Australian study has suggested that employees who are healthy can be nearly three times more productive than employees in poor health. But it is not just physical well-being that is causing concern. Last year the Institute of Directors issued a press release about the need for businesses to have a mental health policy. It cited a YouGov survey from January 2015 which revealed that one third of employees say stress and anxiety make it diﬃcult to get their work done, with an incredible 93 per cent of businesses saying that personal worries and stress can adversely aﬀect staﬀ performance at work. And yet, something as straightforward as promoting physical activity may well have a profound impact on stress management. Indeed it has a powerful impact on employee mood and engagement.
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such as the Great Wall of China, the Cotswold Way and other trails. Not forgetting the obvious organised marathons, half marathons, 5km and 10km races which are frequent and motivating.
A happy employee - and most people are when they’ve exercised - is a more productive employee, with higher energy levels, which can be contagious. This energy is palpable and engaging and is particularly valuable if your business is client/customer facing.
What you can do to promote your employees’ health and well-being Empower and enable your employees to take exercise into their own hands and lead by example. Here are some ideas:
#Ditchthegym - subsidised gym membership may have its place but a large number of people would rather be exercising in other ways. Many prefer groups to exercising solo. We certainly have a lot of workers joining our evening Nordic walking classes and we rub along very happily beside British Military Fitness on The Downs.
Think about walking meetings - the ultimate in multitasking! An opportunity to exercise, get business done and be outside. Also a powerful message to others about integrating physical activity into your working day.
If employees like cycling (or you want to encourage it), think about what cycle events are being run locally and who might be able to come in and give a bike maintenance workshop, or maybe even organise your own company cycle event - and get involved yourself.
Most of all, if YOU walk more, take the stairs instead of the lift, take time to go for a walk at lunchtime rather than just eating a sandwich at your desk, run or jog a couple of times a week, then as the leader in your business, your staﬀ WILL take notice. You don’t need to ram it down their throats. If only a few follow your lead, you’ll have achieved a lot. If you do doing nothing about physical activity in your workplace it may cost you in days lost to sickness and stress, under-performance and lack of engagement. Promoting it need not cost and the beneﬁts to your business could be potent.
With walking and running, there are so many avenues to explore. A good starting point could be a workshop on how to walk eﬀectively for health and ﬁtness. How about virtual walking? There are free websites that allow you to record your steps along virtual routes
Bristol Nordic Walking runs a specially tailored corporate workshop on how to walk for back, neck and shoulder health. To ﬁnd out more about this and other corporate workshops, contact Vicky on 07958 581398 or email email@example.com
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Snacks TO STEP OUT WITH DR SALLY NORTON, AN NHS CONSULTANT SURGEON AND WELL-BEING EXPERT, SUGGESTS HEALTH-SAVVY NIBBLES FOR AN AUTUMN WALK
hether you are planning a full-on, muscle-toning power walk or a gentler stride out for an hour or two, it’s worth having an energy boost to hand. But don’t undo the good work of your walk by tucking into processed snacks that provide calories but little in the way of nutrition. Your body, like your car, runs better on premium fuel. Instead, choose one of these healthy and easy snacks the next time you get up and go...
Banana On-the-go snacks don’t come any easier than bananas ready-wrapped and full of fruit sugar. This is a good way to get an instant energy ﬁx as the sugar found in fruit comes packaged up with ﬁbre, making it less harmful – in fact it doesn’t even count in the new recommendations of just six teaspoons of sugar per day. What’s more, bananas contain vitamins and minerals and have been shown to be as good as a sports drink in providing energy during exercise.
Almonds A handful of almonds a day (around 30g) has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease. Almonds contain healthy fats, protein, vitamin E and more, providing loads of important nutrients. For extra calories and energy, mix with a handful of raisins or other dried fruit. One handful counts as one of your ﬁve-a-day. Just don’t overdo the nuts and raisins if you are watching your weight though – they are calorie dense and it’s too easy to munch through more than you intended.
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er you are “Wheth planning a full-on, muscle-toning power walk or a gentler stride out for an hour or two, it’s worth having an energy boost to hand.
Dried chickpeas Dried snacks made from chickpeas or other pulses provide heaps of ﬁbre and are digested more slowly meaning blood sugar spikes and slumps are less likely to occur. They’re easy to make – simply drain a tin of chickpeas, blot them dry and toss in a little olive oil to coat, mixed in with a sprinkling of some spices of your choice (try cumin, cayenne pepper, chilli powder, sea salt). Then spread on a tray in a single layer and bake at 150°C for 30 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Cranberry Bakewell Oat Bars Makes 12 bars
Ingredients: • 90g rolled oats • 50g chopped nuts (of your choice) • 25g seeds (of your choice)
• 25g dried cranberries
For a more substantial snack, sandwiches still reign supreme. But forget soggy white bread and processed ﬁllings. Wholemeal bread packed full of nutritious seeds and ﬁbre gives more sustained energy and tastes better too. Pure nut butter (check the label or make your own to avoid added sugar and hydrogenated fats) is a nutritious and easy ﬁlling for an on-the-go snack. Try cashew nut butter as an alternative that’s high in magnesium. Add fresh strawberries or banana too for a healthy take on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
• 1 medium free-range egg, beaten
Chocolate Yes, chocolate! Nothing like a few squares to boost the spirit as well as the energy levels. Just make it good quality dark chocolate, as the high cocoa content means lots of antioxidants and reported beneﬁts to heart health, memory and more.
Energy bar Your standard granola and cereal bars are usually packed with sugar. These can cause blood sugar ﬂuctuations, which leave you feeling lethargic. This home-made version provides sustained energy in the form of oats (also good for heart health), with nuts and seeds providing essential fats. And with only a little honey added for sweetness, you won’t get the low-energy slumps.
• 1 tsp cinnamon • 160ml milk • 1 tbsp honey • 1 tsp almond extract
Pre-heat your oven to 175⁰C.
Mix oats, nuts, seeds, cranberries and cinnamon together.
In a separate bowl, mix the beaten egg, milk, honey and almond extract together.
Next, mix the wet ingredients with the dry and leave the oats to soak up the ﬂavours for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Spread the mixture evenly onto a 9” x 9” baking tray covered with greaseproof paper.
Pop into the centre of the oven for around 35 minutes, until golden.
Remove from the oven, leave to cool and then slice up into 12 pieces.
Store in an airtight container and enjoy with a cuppa or out on a walk.
Dr Sally Norton MB ChB MD FRCS is an NHS consultant surgeon and well-being expert. For more advice and tailored programmes on healthy eating, weight loss and well-being visit www.vavistalife.com Nordic walking 25
One in five Of us has lOw vitamin D levels anD even thOse Of us whO walk all year rOunD are at risk...
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ost of us know that being outside can boost our vitamin D levels. But can we get enough of it from walks alone and why is vitamin D so important? Public Health England issued new guidelines this summer about how much of this vital vitamin we need to stay healthy.
What does vitamin D do and how much do we need? Our bodies need vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphate. The minerals are essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Without it young children are at risk from rickets and adults can develop osteomalacia, which can make bones painful and tender and even lead to osteoporosis. Vitamin D also seems to play a part in boosting our immune system and acting as an anti-inflammatory. More and more research is being done about vitamin D, including how taking supplements on top of existing asthma medication can significantly reduce the risk of severe asthma attacks. But, as a nation, we are not getting enough. The Public Health England guidance is that everyone over the age of one needs to have about 10 micrograms (400 iu) of vitamin D each day to stay healthy. This advice is based on recommendations from the government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) following its review of the evidence on vitamin D and health.
How we get our vitamin D - sunlight, food and supplements Vitamin D is often referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ as it forms under our skin in reaction to the sun. This is good news for us walkers as we are exposed to the sunlight when we go out walking. The bad news is that in the UK the sun is only strong enough for us to make vitamin D from April to September. Whilst it is possible for our bodies to store vitamin D for up to a couple of months, in this country during the winter months - and all year round for some people - we need to obtain vitamin D from other sources. Vitamin D is found naturally in a small number of foods, including oily fish (such as salmon, sardines and tuna), red meat, liver and egg yolks. It’s also found in fortified foods like breakfast cereals and fat spreads. However, it’s difficult for us to get the recommended amount of vitamin D from food alone. 10mcg amounts to the equivalent of one salmon fillet or ten egg yolks! This is why PHE is recommending that everyone should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D in autumn and winter. People whose skin has little or no exposure to the sun - like those in institutions such as care homes - or who always cover their skin when outside, risk vitamin D deficiency and need to take a supplement throughout the year. Dr Louis Levy, Head of Nutrition Science at PHE, said: ‘‘A healthy, balanced diet and short bursts of sunshine will mean most people get all the vitamin D they need in spring
and summer. However, everyone will need to consider taking a supplement in the autumn and winter if you don’t eat enough foods that naturally contain vitamin D or are fortified with it. And those who don’t get out in the sun or always cover their skin when they do, should take a vitamin D supplement throughout the year.’’
So what should we do to get enough vitamin D? The simplest way to increase our levels of the sunshine vitamin throughout the year is to get out more - and what better way than walking outdoors for an hour or two? From April to September, we can make enough vitamin D from sunlight by walking with our forearms, hands or lower legs uncovered and without sunscreen for a short period. It’s not known exactly how much time is needed in the sun to make enough vitamin D to meet the body’s requirements. This is because there are a number of factors that can affect how vitamin D is made, such as your skin colour or how much skin you have exposed. Several commentaries say that about 10 minutes would be sufficient. And don’t forget you should be careful not to burn in the sun. There’s a balance to be had and there are skin cancer risks if our skin starts to turn red or burn through sun exposure.
Remember... • Our bodies can’t make vitamin D if we are sitting indoors by a sunny window because ultraviolet B (UVB) rays - the ones our body needs to make vitamin D can’t get through the glass. • During the months of October to March, the sun isn’t strong enough in the UK so we need to ensure we are getting our vitamin D through the foods we eat and/or through vitamin supplements. • Because Vitamin D is fat soluble, taking too much supplement can be toxic so stick to the current recommendation: about 10 micrograms (400 iu) of vitamin D each day.
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Skifree AND BE
IT IS THE NATURAL FOREFATHER OF NORDIC WALKING AND, AS VICKY WELSH DISCOVERED, FABULOUS FINLAND WAS THE PERFECT PLACE TO DO IT
’d wanted to try my hand at cross-country skiing ever since I discovered Nordic walking over six years ago. So, ﬁnally, in early 2016 I set oﬀ with members of Bristol Nordic Walking to the birthplace of our favourite form of exercise. It was a group of competitive cross-country skiers in 1930s Finland who started using poles as part of their oﬀ-season training when there was no snow. They quickly realised that the technique was perfect for keeping their heart and lungs in good condition, as well as ensuring their upper and lower body muscles remained in top shape. This continued training, speciﬁc to their sport, kept them ahead of the competition when the snow returned. Thus Nordic walking was born. Our trip was the culmination of two years’ worth of researching and planning, from ﬁnding the best place to stay, to ﬁnding an instructor to help get us going on our skis. I struck gold on both counts. Our base was the beautiful village of Akaslompolo in the top left-hand corner of Finland, right in the heart of Lapland country - no chance of the snow drying up and having to resort to Nordic walking here! As for our instructor, Timo couldn’t have been more patient. I think we all beneﬁtted from having Nordic walked beforehand, although nothing quite prepares you for your ﬁrst ever crosscountry skiing experience, known as ‘classic skiing’ in Finland. The
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skis are very narrow and most of us spent the first day trying to stay upright. Balance and core strength were probably the two key components. The arm and leg coordination came easily to us and double arm poling was very useful. As I improved I began to benefit from rotating my upper body and extending my arm fully behind me to maximise the push but even after a week, I know there’s a very long way to go before I can say I’ve mastered this sport. Yet the trip wasn’t just about the skiing. Every day I bubbled over with joy, gliding (sort of) along the purpose-made tracks through this beautiful part of the world. We went through national parks and passed sacred forests and frozen lakes. We also saw the Northern Lights and stopped in the famous Kotas (Lapp huts) with central fires. Sometimes we would ski alongside generations of families all skiing together, more than a few with their young ones in sleds behind! Everyone locals and visitors alike - were friendly and helpful. And Timo, who was also our guide, was as knowledgeable about the area as he was about his sport. He took us on many beautiful routes and to some excellent cafes. A highlight for us all was the day he took us snow-shoeing through an ancient Sami sacred forest. It included a stop at one of the government-maintained wilderness cabins where Timo lit a fire and we all ate cake and drank hot berry juice. The icing on the Täytekakku was our hotel. The YlläsHumina has spacious rooms, delicious buffet-style meals and, of course, friendly and helpful staff. Small wonder that people
return time and time again, many for over 10 years and some for nearly 25. That tells you something about a place. Needless to say, we all returned home with our own memories of this magical week. Mina loved being on skis and surrounded by nature and stillness. Mel achieved a lifelong ambition to Nordic ski and to see the Aurora Borealis. Meanwhile, Jane is planning to buy sausages for the open fires on her next trip so she can ‘‘soak up the wonderful isolated feeling of this beautiful place.’’ Yes, we are doing it all again in 2017 - and there’s still time to join us. For now, kittos paljon - or ‘thank you’ - YlläsHumina. Kittos paljon Finland.
The 2017 trip takes place from 26th February - 5th March 2017 and costs £1,150, which covers all accommodation, breakfast and evening meals, private instructor and guide, airport transfers and a 12-week ski fit programme for you to follow in the lead up to the ski trip, including specific ski strengthening and balance exercises. Flights are not included and will have to be booked separately. For more information, visit: http://www. bristolnordicwalking.co.uk/our-walks/events/crosscountry-skiing-trip-finland-2017
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Join us ...to get ski fit, holiday fit or just body fit at an Urban Workout class on Clifton Downs See our Facebook page www.facebook.com/UrbanWKT to book your first session - free! Or call Ros on 07886 885213 for more details
Timetable of regular walks www.bristolnordicwalking.co.uk/our-walks/regular-classes day
Ashton Court - Nordic Walking Workout
Fishponds, Oldbury Court (dog friendly)
Ashton Court (dog friendly)
11.15 - midday
The Downs - meet at Sea Walls
Very easy (not included in membership - £5)
The Downs - Nordic Walking Workout
The Downs walk
Blaise (dog friendly)
Blaise (dog friendly)
The Downs - Nordic Walking Workout
Fishponds, Oldbury Court (dog friendly)
Nailsea, entrance to Tesco car park
The Downs - Nordic Walking Workout
Leigh Woods - Stamina Building Walk
Ashton Court (dog friendly)
Blaise (dog friendly)
Nordic Walking World is published by Gloss Magazines Ltd, Tremough Innovation Centre, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9TA Tel: 01326 231721, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.glossmagazines.co.uk
Issue 1 of Nordic Walking World, the magazine of Bristol Nordic Walking which offers fitness tips, advice on what kit to buy, recipes and ar...
Published on Nov 3, 2016
Issue 1 of Nordic Walking World, the magazine of Bristol Nordic Walking which offers fitness tips, advice on what kit to buy, recipes and ar...