Category Archives: United Kingdom

Nordic Walking May Boost Brain Power

I’m constantly amazed at the range of Nordic Walking’s usefulness, from the elderly frail to the super-athletic — but mainly as an enhancer of physical health and emotional well-being for the majority of us who fall somewhere in the continuum between. Now comes word of Judy Barber’s workshops in the U.K. in which she helps people with such issues as creativity, inspiration, motivation and general well-being that took place as with a group “walking workshop” on the trail.

She wrote on her blog of her latest ‘How to Lead Lively Workshops’: “There’s the coordination of the left and right sides of the brain for allowing analytical and creative thinking to work together, especially if you swing your arms, left arm with right leg, right arm left leg and so on, so that it’s a cross-over exercise. I’ve added using Nordic walking poles to my walking, partly for that reason.”

If you find yourself thinking more clearly and completely since you’ve gotten going on a Nordic Walking program, the diagonal technique might indeed have fueled the brain to think across the creative-analytical gap.

UK Walking Book — and a Pub Pint

I’ve always admired the way people on the other side of the pond manage to combine walking with other good things in life. In the Alpine countries, for instance, people walk along beautiful mountain walking paths from village to village, from valley to valley, or just down the road at whatever pace they choose. Some amble, some move with sporty speed. Somewhere along the way, they might stop at a mountain farm for fresh milk, rustic bread and farmstead cheese, or in a village afe or inn for a glass of wine, a mug of beer, a bowl of soup, a cup of coffee, or a sinful pastry — or some combination. Refreshed, the continue on their way.

The Brits also like to ramble or stride through the countryside, seeking sustenance here and there. A new book, Good Walk, Good Pub (South Lakes) by Meg Brady will lead you on the right paths. Priced at £11.99, this 136 page guide features 20 circular walks of different levels of challenge, each with a quality inn en route. It includes full-color maps, pictures and easy-to-follow directions. It is ideal, says Footstep Publishing, for “a walker who likes beer or a beer drinker who likes to walk. Check out UK bookstores or go to www.goodwalkgoodpub.co.uk.

Nordic Walking in Competitions

My December 2, 2006, post about the Portland (OR) Marathon that includes Nordic Walking spurred a recent comment from a reader named Inkosi. Since few regular visitors to this blog are likely to go back that far, I repeat it here: “Interested to see that NW event taking place in conjunction with a road running marathon. Wish we had something similar in UK but unfortunately we do not. On a particular point of interest could you tell me whether there are any specific Rules that govern the NW’s in the event? Will be pleased to hear from you.”

I can’t tell you specifically about a marathon in the UK that includes Nordic Walking, but I have learned about a four-race series called the Lakeland Trail Races. The 2006 events included a Nordic Walking category, and so will the 2007 events, for which entries are being taken now. All four 2006 races sold out, according to the organizers. The first race is the Hawkshead 15K on April 28. While not a marathon, that’s a respectable distance for most Nordic Walkers. Categories include Challenge (for walkers and less competitive runners), Nordic Walking Challenge (for Nordic Walkers only), Trail Race (for competitive runners) and Fun Trails (for children). Participants of all ages and abilities are encouraged to enter. Each finisher will receive a T-shirt, and prizes include awards for the first eight men and women, including overall awards for competitors in three of the four races. Rules, entry forms and more information are on the Lakeland Trails website.

As for the Portland Marathon, its website says only, “The Nordic Walking Marathon World Championships will be open to all levels regardless of skills and abilities. Nordic Walkers will start together and be chip-timed like all other participants. It is anticipated the championships will draw participants from all over the US as well as a strong European contingency.” I think the organizers meant “contingent,” not contingency, but you get the idea.

Inkosi, does this help? Anyone else in the UK know of any other competitions that include a Nordic Walking category?

Nordic Walking in London

Seven million Europeans reportedly have taken up Nordic Walking, and the sport is now being promoted across the English Channel and the North Sea as well. The authoritative BBC just reported that some 200 prospective partiticants showed up at London’s Hyde Park this past Sunday to give it a try — or, as the Brits would probably say, to give it a go. It was noted on a blog called The Londonist, which titled its posting, “No, I Haven’t Lost My Skis,” observing “So, if you do see sporty types looking like they got lost on the way to the dry ski slope, but are gamely skiing without their skis over zebra crossings and through foot tunnels regardless, it’s Nordic walking, it’s a real sport and it’s in London.” The BBC noted that organizers, who arranged free coaching by Nordic Walking pros, are hoping to recruit 30,000 Nordic Walkers within a year. There are already several Nordic Walking clubs, blogs and websites in the UK. Perhaps the BBC and The Londonist just noticed.