By Gill Stewart at
We are a positive bunch at NWUK and we simply think of the conditions as adding to the effectiveness of every step we take …read on to find out how you can turn adverse conditions into a positive with our simple tips!
MUD, GLORIOUS MUD!
Mud is the ultimate workout booster!
1.Every time your foot slips, your core muscles come in to play and help you to stay upright
2.Poles help you to stay upright (added bonus) but on really slippery ground you will actually get more of an upper body workout from them because you are using them to stabilise yourself as well as propel yourself forward.
3 For that shoe-suckingly deep mud you can get an added bonus in that it actually acts as RESISTANCE so every time you pull your foot up out of the mud, you are actually performing a tiny ‘weight training’ exercise. Added to that, shoes caked in heavy mud will act as little ‘weights’ and add to the effectiveness of every step!
We have lots of these near our HQ in Dorset and our mantra is that NOTHING will stop us enjoying or excursions with the poles. Here’s how to be positive about waterlogged routes and diversions!
1. When your routes are blocked by flooding, the only option is change direction or go round it! Both can add some valuable extra distance to your walk (to help blow away the Xmas excesses) and as long as you have a map or GPS, you will discover areas you have not visited before.
2. Waterlogged ground has the same benefits as mud – it pulls your feet down and makes you work twice with every step….bring it on! Mind you, we never venture out in these soggy parts without either fully waterproof shoes or our trusty Sealskinz waterproof socks on. Wet feet are not part of the fun!
Obviously you need to stay safe and windy days do bring the risk of tree branches falling and even being tripped up by your own poles if side on to a hefty gust. Yet walking into a head wind, once again, adds some oomph to your walk (another form of resistance)and the bonus is that when turn back you will have the wind behind you and feel like you are flying!
Although you need to avoid falling branches etc. those already on the ground will cause you to have to step over them or go round them…..you get the gist? Yes, it’s all going to add to your extra effort ‘points’ so embrace any obstacles and see them as a positive challenge.
One thing we have yet to see much of is SNOW, but rest assured it’s going to make an appearance pretty soon. Once again, it should not stop you from enjoying a good Nordic walk because it’s entirely possible and indeed fun to skim through the fluffy stuff. However, to stay safe we advise that you stick to grassy areas to avoid the risk of slipping on icy patches that may be lurking underneath the snow.
To stay upright on pavements and firmer paths we really do recommend the snow and ice grips that fit onto your shoes and that you check out puddles etc. to avoid stepping on sheet ice. Walking in a group is ideal because the lead walker can be on ‘puddle watch’!
Other safety ideas in grim grey weather are the High viz gilets, pole lights, headtorches and of course…..walking in a properly organised group where a qualified NWUK Instructor has already thought about and minimised all the risks!