It’s always exciting to discover new places to walk which you never knew were there! Catton Park is, without a doubt, one of those places you may never know existed unless you are a local that is. For me, coming from over t’other side of the city, I was thrilled when I walked through its gates for the first time! Majestic rolling countryside seemed to stretch out for miles in front of my eyes and the last remains of summer flowers still added colour to the faded grass.
Setting of to explore with the poles in hand, the next decision was where to go first? There were paths leading this way and that, some into the woods and others around the grand old house with a conservatory which could rival one at Kew Gardens. Nothing beats choice when walking, to add variety and interest, so with plenty on offer, I was in my element!
I soon met a local dog walker who was intrigued by “the sticks” (an often heard term!) and the way that they seem to “push you along”. So true! We soon got chatting, and a rudimentary explanation of Nordic walking was underway. First revelation was busting the common misperception that these ‘sticks’ are there to ‘provide balance’ (aka trekking poles) – and are often used by people who need a walking stick in everyday life. The actual reality is they are like pocket rockets – with the poles planted behind you to propel you along. This in turn engages the upper body and makes you feel lighter on your feet. It also engages 90% of your muscles and burns 20-40% more calories.
The intrigued dog walker liked the sound of that, but then wondered if it was suitable exercise for her. She liked to amble and meander with her dog and not walk at speed. Second revelation was on its way! Whilst Nordic walking was originally used by elite cross country skiers as a way to stay in shape throughout the summer months, it is actually growing into a popular way for people of all ages and fitness levels to gain fitness, tone up, lose weight and improve their health. I explained that as a Nordic walking instructor, I have a variety of walks which ensure that people walk at a pace and level that is right for them. A Kick-Start Monday walk is high energy, whereas a Mid-Week Meander is more sociable and gentler paced.
There is always one way to find out if Nordic walking is for you! That is to have a go, and take the poles for a walk yourself! Before we parted ways, I gave my dog walking companion details so she could book up a FREE taster session. Two days later she got in touch so I look forward to walking with her in Catton Park next week!
Catton Park is not just a wonderful place to walk, but it is full of friendly folk who like a chat whilst out and about. That is what exercise is all about, it’s the ‘feel good’ factor which makes you want to do it again. It started to rain as I gathered speed down towards the woods, but that didn’t dampen spirits. I was delighted to have found a new place to walk and look forward to returning soon!