Ah - the splendor of a British Summer! After a truly spectacular April and May, we now get all the rain we should have had then. There’s been a few nice days in between, but for the most part June and July have been a complete washout! There was one scorchio day when I was trekking through London - I believe the temperature touched on 30 degrees - I sweated much and became somewhat dehydrated as a result, prompting me to acquire yet more equipment (See Trek Towel and Hydration Pack below!).
It seems contrary, but for a British Summer you actually need more equipment than in Winter - to get you through every conceivable eventuality! I also finally found a proper solution to my Sun Visor challenge - after product testing nearly half a dozen varieties, I finally settled on the Orca Visor, which combines great aesthetics with perfect functionality, shame it only comes in black and white!
My other big discovery 6 months into my regime is the need for proper stretching exercises. By all means do a warm up as well, but make sure you slow down the pace at the end of your walk and do some stretches to ward of stiffness and sprains. I acquired my first exercise-related injury, which did not occur during the walk, but on a following rest day, when I tweaked (sprained) a couple of muscles which were overly taught and stiff. Regular stretching, as per the exercises below, should minimise the potential for sprains and muscle ache.
Recommended equipment (Row-by-row - left-to-right)
Apple iPhone - Your portable music player, map, compass, pedometer, field guide and emergency communicator!
Sennheiser MM100 Headphones - Wireless Bluetooth headphones are perfect for Nordic Walking
Orca Sun Visor - Like I said above - great aesthetics - in fact all the 5Fs (Fabric, Finish, Fit, Form, Function)
Paramo Quito Jacket - Paramo’s lightest water-resistant jacket - the Paramo Vista is also great - and just very slightly heavier by a few grammes!
Leki Carbon Traveller Poles - Leki’s finest telecopic Nordic Walking Poles
North Face GTD Crew Tees - Featuring smart ’Minerale’ fabric for ultimate ’cool’ comfort - great wicking properties as well
Salomon Wayfarer Bermuda Shorts - Technical wicking shorts with 4 zipped pockets
Lifeventure Small Trek Towel - Mini portable towel perfect for wiping a sweaty brow - with permanent anibacterial properties and rapid drying
Paramo Cascada Trousers - Medium weight water-resistant trousers, comfortable-ish to wear up to around 24-25 degrees, after that shorts are really preferable
Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX - Truly the best trail-running / Nordic Walking shoes - I have these in 3 colours - Black (Winter), Green and Blue - they perfectly combine comfort with stability, traction, cushioning, support and water-resistance, as well as having an ingenious lacing system - you cannot buy better!
X-Socks Sky Run Socks - Perfect Summer running socks, I also have X-Socks Speed Metal Socks for the warmest days; they have extra cooling properties - really love them X-Socks Socks!
Camelbak Octane XCT Hydration Pack - With 3 litre capacity, this is the perfect pack for a day’s warm-weather activities
Recommended Nordic Walking Stretching Exercises (Courtesy of Exmoor-Outdoors.co.uk)
1. Stand up straight, holding onto pole for support
2. Gently, bend your knee behind you to grasp your ankle with your opposite hand
3. Bring ankle towards bottom, hold for 15 seconds, then switch legs
1. Plant both poles shoulder-width apart
2. Place straight leg in front, heel on ground, toes pointed up
3. Gently, bend other knee while leaning forward with straight back. Hold for 15 seconds, then switch sides
Chest / Upper Shoulder Stretch
1. Grasp pole behind back, hands a little wider than shoulder width
2. Lift pole up towards head until you feel stretch
Lat / Back Stretch
1. Place poles well out in front of you
2. Lean on poles with straight arms
3. Bend upper body at waist downward; do not over-extend lower back
Tricep / Arm Stretch
1. Grab the top of the pole grip with one arm
2. Bring pole over head and down back; grasp other end with other hand
3. Pull down on lower part until you feel stretch in back of arm, then switch arm
Torso / Lateral Twist
1. Grab pole with wide grip overhead
2. Standing up straight, bend at side, reaching opposite hand over head
3. After stretch, change sides, then come back to normal position
4. From normal position, gently twist torso until you feel stretch, then turn other way