Friday, 2 December 2016

Celebrate #27

I have been so busy recently that I am celebrating the fact I can join in with the Celebrate crowd led by Lexa and her co-hosts Tonja and L.G!  Click on the button below to join in too :)

This week I attended my local borough sporting award ceremony as a finalist in their adult coach/instructor category.  I was blown away to be on the stage with "proper" coaches as I still don't really count myself as one and it was truly lovely to have been nominated.  I didn't win but I actually know the winner and she is amazing so I was very pleased for her.  It was also really nice that two of the ladies that were my original guinea pigs when I first began teaching Nordic walking could also come along to the awards with me and we had a really great time together.

I am also celebrating getting into a good knitting cycle where I have used up quite a few odd balls of wool from my stash knitting lap blankets for Alzheimer patients as part of a new project at my local hospital.  Using 10mm knitting needles and two strands of double knit they knit up really quickly and look quite good too with the colour combinations I have used.

Lastly I am celebrating and being thankful for the continued good weather we have been having in November which has allowed me to be outdoors so much - autumnal sunshine is just so beautiful :)

Here's hoping everyone else has had a good week and found something to be thankful for too - I'd love to know what you've been up to so leave a comment below!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Weight Loss Wedneday

Well I have to report a small loss which is a step in the right direction and makes me feel positive for the future.  The scales now read ___ 4 1/2 so I need to keep going and hope that in two - three weeks time I will be reporting that I have gone below the stone threshold.

I have exercised well this week (5 hours - 300 minutes) and I tried out one of the recipes from my new dieting book:
that went down a treat with both my husband and myself which bodes well for the future.  So this week will give me the opportunity to try out a couple more and I have more exercise planned so that I will have done 300 minutes this week too.

Last week, I had an interesting comment left by author Crystal http://crystalcollier.blogspot.com about how muscle focused exercises could help with weight loss.  I looked into this and interestingly found many references by doctors of how the bigger the muscle the more calories are burned and for longer so this week I did a bit more exercise focused on my larger muscles and hope to continue and add to this this week too.

I am also going to be measuring certain areas of my body so that even if the scales do not seem to be going down as much as I'd like hopefully my body shape will be changing for the better.

Joining up with - 


because we all need a little support in this weight loss journey :)

Let me know how things are going for you and as always I really value any tips or advice you can offer :)

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Celebrate #26

Another week where celebrations were high on the list - so joining in with the celebrate crew :)
Led by Lexa Cain and supported by Tonja Drecker and L G Keltner why not join in too?

1 - parties where we got lots of family together - always good to spend time in the company of little ones and lovely to have the opportunity to do a real party tea!!  Great fun had by one and all :)

2 - my radio interview for a local BBC radio station went really well. I didn't speak gobbledy gook and the radio presenter was really interested in finding out more about Nordic walking and invited me to tell everyone my website to find out more.  I've had more interest and people contacting me on the back of it so really pleased on how it all turned out!

3 - I also had more new people come out trying Nordic walking this week and really loving it so hope to see even more regular walkers this week - my group numbers are steadily growing :)

Here's hoping everyone else had a great week and will be enjoying their weekend too.  Leave me a comment below to let me know what you've been up to this week.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday

Must confess I feel rather down this week as my scales stay steady.  I sneaked a peak last week to see a one and a half pound loss but unfortunately after another party long weekend it looks like I've regained it all.  Looking on the bright side I haven't put on but still - sad face.

I wish I could say I feel confident I'll have a better week this time but I feel rather lack lustre - even though I got hold of one of the Hairy Bikers' diet cook books (from a charity shop) which had been recommended to me by a lady who has had great success this year - getting the weight off and keeping it off!


They have an on-line weight loss program too now (which you sign up and pay for) but I don't think that's what I need just at the moment but their free weight loss calculator did remind me that if I was able to lose 2lbs per week then it would take me less than 5 months to lose THREE STONE and that means that I would be standing on those scales on the 29th March at my perfect weight.  Maybe this thought will inspire me this week plus trying out some of their recipes?  Tune in next week to see what transpires :)

Linking up with - 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The Prompt #129

Joining in with Sara for her wonderful creative writing linky -

I wasn't going to this week but then I saw the prompt word and suddenly I had a flood of memories plus a new moment this weekend so I thought - why not?  I can't say it's very well crafted but I hope you get the message behind it :)


TRICK!

With a snip and a snap,
bit the chewing gum pack
On my brother’s small finger
which took too long to linger
on my prankster pack of gum
This trick - my number one!

“Why do you have that penny there?”
My Dad would pluck one from my hair
Or behind my ear, beneath my chin
“Please show me how,” I’d beg of him
A way to make me smile however sad
A trick to save the day however bad.

“I can pull my thumb in half”
My nephew said with cheeky laugh
And with all eyes watching him
He amazed us with his grin
And his thumb in two parts - quick
For him it’s his first trick!

A deck of cards was all he had
But magic oozed from my grandad
And stories told of naughty Jacks
And Kings and Queens both red and black
He’d shuffle in and out the pack.
These tricks I’d all wish back.

How strange that mischief such as this
Throughout our lives gives us much bliss
For young and old, for girl and boy
Tricks played, tricks seen, dispense much joy
And gives us memories - filled with laughter
That we'll hold now - for ever after :)

Friday, 28 October 2016

Celebrate #25

Reflecting on my week, I feel I have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for - so I am happy that thanks to Lexa Cain, Tonja Drecker and L G Keltner there is somewhere to share this with others. 
Why not join in too?

1. Family Get Togethers
Last Friday, saw the arrival of both my parents and my son and his lovely girlfriend for the weekend celebration of my husband's birthday.  It was really perfect and so enjoyable and these special days are now something always to be treasured due to my father's illness.  My parents were so pleased to be able to meet the special girl in my son's life for the first time and of course being with young people is always such a tonic so there was lots of laughter throughout the weekend :)  My husband is always happy when family is with us and indulged in his passion of trying out a new dinner menu of venison stew with redcurrants which was delicious. We also had the most amazing indoor fireworks which were a great success and most unexpected as we had thought they'd never be as good as those we remembered from our own childhoods.  All in all a very special weekend :)


2. Bargain Hunting
I was thinking only last week that I would be needing a new pair of trainers as it gets muddier and wetter outdoors and trainers are so much better for Nordic walking in than walking boots.  My summer trainers are designed to allow the feet to sweat (yes I know Too Much Information!!) but this also means they let the wet in which is fine in warmer weather when they can dry off quickly but not so good as it gets colder. They were such a good bargain from a sports shop at only £10 that I realised I would be very unlikely to find another such bargain for branded trainers so imagine my surprise and delight when in the very next charity shop I visited there on the shelf in front of me was a sign proclaiming "brand new" next to a pair of Reebok trainers in MY size and with a price tag of £10!! I tried them on and they fitted perfectly so very happy I continued on my way to another charity shop where I found a top quality Regatta light weight waterproof with peaked hood in light purple and grey for only £5.50!  Boy was it my lucky day :)

3. Award Ceremony
I put forward the name of a lady, who regularly attends various of my Nordic walking groups, for a newcomer award in the Feel Alive at 65 celebration that was advertised for my county and was delighted when she and I received invitations to attend the award evening this week.  It turned out to be a wonderful evening not only because my nominee went up to collect an award certificate and met a member of the GB Olympic rowing squad but also because there were so many people there of an older age who are doing such amazing things in sport and active pursuits.  It really opened my eyes to what is on offer, what should be offered more widely and most importantly what can be accomplished as we get older despite failing health if we have our drive and determination.  The oldest participant there was 95 - yes - 95!!  Some of the stories told brought tears to the eyes and at various times there were audible gasps from the audience myself included.  I felt honoured to be amongst such people and I certainly appreciated the boost Nordic walking got as being talked about as a beneficial activity for the elderly :)

Now I'm off to catch up with what's being celebrated this week in the lives of others - here's wishing you all a super weekend!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Hygge Help Out

Today, I have a request - can you help me decide which one of these colour schemes works best for my up-coming posters?


Hygge seems to be really on trend here in the UK at the moment so I'd like my Nordic walking to get some of the publicity as it is part of the Nordic way of life!!

But I just can't seem to make up my mind which colour scheme works best or maybe you have another colour that you think might be even better?  Any input would be really useful and if you want to learn more about why Nordic Walking is so Hygge and good for you then please check out the blog post below on my Nordic Walking site -

Have you heard about Hygge (pronounced Hoo-guh) a Danish concept of cosiness that spans the Nordic countries?  Here at Ministry of Nordic Walks it seems to be fitting perfectly with what we do in our group walks particularly at this time of year.

1: Happiness and Mindfulness
Denmark (where Hugge originates) regularly tops The World Happiness Report (commissioned by the United Nations since 2012).  Meik Wiking, Charlotte Abrahams and Louisa Thomsen Brits (authors of books on Hygge – see below) link Hugge to mindfulness techniques and happiness science where people should be experiencing and concentrating on the pleasures and sensations they can appreciate in the present moment leading to increased well-being and feelings of happiness and contentment. 

Nordic Walking in the autumn and winter months brings lots of these types of pleasurable moments. The warm snuggly feeling of woollen socks, gloves and hats, the heating up of the body through the physical exercise, the beauty and aesthetics that surround us in nature as we walk along and the lovely feeling of having been out and exercised – all giving us a little bit of Hygge which we can appreciate.

2: Get Back to Nature
Signe Johansen in her new book “How to Hygge” sites the Nordic love of being at one with nature and enjoying the great outdoors as central to the concept of hygge. This is backed up by several studies that show that those who exercise outdoors are more likely to keep up a constant routine as well as walking outdoors burning more calories than using a treadmill due to factors such as wind resistance, inclines and downhill slopes.

Nordic Walking is ALL about getting outside and getting off the beaten track and into nature.  The Nordic poles help with stability and power on inclines as well as reduce downhill stress and we all agree walking with others keeps us coming back for more!

3:  Clear Your Head
Hygge is all about having that feeling of being content. Research has shown that being outdoors in a park or forest environment lowers stress levels, increases feelings of energy, is associated with greater feelings of revitalisation and positive engagement, boosts your self-esteem whilst decreasing tension, confusion, anger and depression.

Our group Nordic walkers often talk about how Nordic walking really helps them to attain a feeling of happiness and contentment as we walk along various pathways along canals and through tree lined areas.  The constant rhythm of “planting” the poles firmly, helps decrease tension or any anger issues and many have commented upon the positive mental health well-being they feel Nordic walking in such natural surroundings gives them.

4:  The Joy of Exercise
Hygge views being physical (taking exercise) as being enjoyable and not to be seen as a chore or something laborious. Signe Johansen points out that hygge is about the joy of exercise as a group activity and collaborating to achieve a sense of community.  Studies show that sedentary lifestyles are as dangerous to our health as smoking and dramatically increase our risk of contracting serious health problems such as cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and cancer.  So health and happiness are linked in hygge.

Nordic walking in groups achieves this sense of community and joy of exercise as we decide on which routes to take and new places to explore.  The use of the poles aids to the pace and length of walking routes we cover so decreasing any feelings of walking becoming laborious.

5:  De-Stress with something warm to drink
Hygge also encompasses another Nordic tradition of Fika – which is a daily break to sit down and enjoy a hot drink allowing oneself to de-stress.

Our Nordic walking groups often begin and end at cafes and many of our walkers make use of these facilities either before or after a walk – the social aspect makes it a welcome break from the hurley-burley of life.

References 
Books

Charlotte Adams – Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures – Living the Danish
                                   Way
Signe Johansen - How to Hygge
Louisa Thomsen Brits - The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well
Meik Wiking - The Little Book of Hygge

Research Journals
J. Thompson Coon, K. Boddy, K. Stein, R. Whear, J. Barton, M. H. Depledge. "Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review." Environmental Science & Technology, 2011; : 110203115102046.

Miyazaki Y, Lee J, Park BJ, Tsunetsugu Y, Matsunaga K. "Preventive medical effects of nature therapy" Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2011 Sep;66(4):651-6.