NEW HORIZONS – FRESH PERSPECTIVES
Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats a day out walking with the sun on your back, a cool breeze in the air and views going on for ever and ever. Add to that the sounds of chatter and laughter of your companions and the lure of a pub garden to provide a welcome cooling drink or two at the end and in the words of Lou Reed, “It’s just a perfect day…”
So a group of twelve of us Norfolk Nordic Walkers set out this Saturday from Norwich to meet a fellow group of eight Nordic’ers from Tameside near Manchester to share a walk. We all met in Cley and caught the indispensable Coasthopper up to Sheringham, causing a mild stir with our fellow passengers as to what 20 noisy walkers were doing with ‘funny sticks’. Soon, we were out on the beautiful Coastal Path, beaches on one side, summertime rural Norfolk to our left. The sea was green, not a cloud in the sky, the fields were golden and 8.5 miles melted away. We crossed from rugged cliff to grassland, then onto shingle into salt marshes, past Cookies Crab Shack in Salthouse and pint drinkers in the Dun Cow waving us on as if we were in the Tour de France (you get the idea!), and then towards Cley Mill on the wonderful Attenborough Trail. Never was a drink so needed in this heat, and so the pub garden of The George in Cley was a mini oasis of calm – and then we arrived! A memorable day, not just for the achievement of the mileage, but also for the sense of camaraderie, of doing it together and having FUN. A fab day out was had by all!
AN EXPERIENCE SHARED
It’s a fact that those who get a real buzz from their walks will find their enjoyment doubly enhanced when the experience is shared with like-minded companions. Much of the time, walking requires minimal concentration and thus leaves you free to relax and take in the environment whilst (optionally) chatting with others in the group. Walking together in inspirational surroundings, or tackling challenging trails, quickly builds a strong sense of community and friendship in which walkers willingly support each other, and often perform above their potential in the process. Whether or not walking is taken up for health reasons, there is no doubting its huge contribution to well being which has long been recognised. Not only does it become a ‘good habit’ if practised regularly, it is also seriously addictive!
CLEAR YOUR MIND
The rewards of feeling fitter, it must be remembered, extend to mental health too. Though walkers are happy to accept the ‘high’ that comes from being on the trail with friends as just one part of what constantly lures them back to the open air, the release of endorphins responsible for this phenomena is known to combat stress and anxiety, promoting a positive mood and restoring a sense of perspective. This calm but free-flowing mental state was also well understood by our forebears; for example, St Augustine’s advice to those wrestling with intractable problems was ‘solvitur ambulando – a walk will solve it.’
According to a new analysis of recent research, organised walking groups improve walkers’ blood pressure, heart rate, total cholesterol and mood. “Walking groups are increasingly popular but until now we have not known if there are wider health benefits from walking groups, apart from increasing physical activity,” study co-author Sarah Hanson told Reuters Health in an email. Hanson, a researcher with the Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia said the findings provide clinicians with evidence of an effective option to recommend to those patients who would benefit from joining walking groups.”
GO ON THEN, PROOVE IT!
Data on more than 1,800 walkers in 14 countries was included in the new analysis. The studies mostly examined walking as a potential therapy for an existing condition, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease and others, although healthy people were also included in some studies. The researchers found that, on average, participants who joined walking groups experienced meaningful improvements in lung power, overall physical functioning and general fitness, in addition to the changes in blood pressure, body mass index and other important risk factor measures. Also, key was they were less likely to drop out or miss a scheduled walk as compared to walking solo.
DITCH BAD HABITS
Undertaking walks in the company of others also provides an important measure of security for walkers who might otherwise be a little nervous of walking alone in challenging or unfamiliar terrain. Walking alongside more experienced walkers is a great way for beginners to gain an understanding of the skills /techniques required whilst developing their own experience at a much faster rate. Being part of a Nordic walking group helps new members build up confidence FAST and not fall into bad habits (bent elbows, poles in front etc) which solo walkers can fall headlong into.
COME AND BE PART OF THE ADVENTURE
As wanderlust tightens its grip on your soul, new walks will inspire you to explore new areas without the tension of getting lost or flustered map reading. You can simply Enjoy The Ride and devour the new landscapes and vistas in front of you. Remember, we are all in it together, come rain or shine, so whatever your walking goals, there are walks each week to suit you, and walks that will challenge you. Come and be part of the adventure…
UP AND COMING WEEKEND ADVENTURES
(remember you can choose a shorter or longer route on most of them…)
28th July 9 miles* Dunston Common Ruins and Views (2 x 4.5miles)
4th Aug 10 miles* Marston Marshes to Keswick (2 x 5 miles)
11th Aug 8 miles* Mulbarton Tas Valley Trail (2 x 4 miles)
18th Aug 9 miles* North Burlingham / South Walsham Circular (6 + 3 miles)
25th Aug 8 mies* Yare Valley Adventure (5 miles + 3 miles)
1 Sept 12 miles* Wherryman’s Way from Bramerton (6 miles x 2)
8th Sept 6 miles* Roaming the Boudicca Way!
15th Sept 6 miles* Whitlingham Woods and Trowse trails
22nd Sept 13 miles* North Norfolk Coastal Half marathon
23rd Sept 4 miles* Blakeney – Cley Circular Coastal walk
29th Sept 3.5 miles* Wymondham Tiffey Valley walk
Fancy a workout walk at 5.15pm at Broadland Business Park on Wednesdays? This will be a lively hour of pacy walking to work up a sweat.
THE WEEKLY SCHEDULE w/c 23rd July
Book all courses / walks at www.norfolknordicwalking.co.uk/activities
9.30am Kick Start Monday! Whitlingham Country Park – FAST WORKOUT WALK
10.30am TWO MILER Wellbeing @ Whitlingham – A gentle safe way to walk yourself fitter in this beautiful location
12pm Monday Motivator @ Broadland Business Park – Energising walk to crank up the working week.
6.30pm EVENING NORDIC WALK @ UEA/Earlham Park – Add in revs or simply unwind after a busy day – choice is yours!
10am Summertime at Beautiful Blickling Hall 3.5 miler. Simply enjoy sociable Nordic walking in a stunning location – you never know what you will find!
1.30pm Well Being Gentler Pace Eaton Park & Yonder! 2 miles – A gentle safe way to walk yourself fitter!
5.15pm Broadland Energiser @ Broadland Business Park –Push yourself after a day in the office!
10.30am FREE Taster Catton Park
11.30am Catton Park Wellbeing and Feel Good walk – Such a beautiful park – come and see for yourself and enjoy a gentle walk
1.45pm Stepping Up (hills) & Back Caistor St Edmund / High Ash Farm – Sociable Nordic walking in a stunning location with hills for added exertion. FAST WORKOUT
11am Feel Fit and Fab Friday Walk @ Eaton – Varied routes at your own pace but with optional exertion to push yourself that little bit extra…
10am Dunston Common Ruins and Views (4.5 miles x 2 – short or long option)
“LIFE IS ABOUT CREATING AND LIVING EXPERIENCES THAT ARE WORTH SHARING…”