Clare Balding discovers the benefits of Nordic walking.

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Last week on Clare Balding’s Radio 4 programme Ramblings, she took a lesson in Nordic walking from British Nordic walking instructor and national coach, Catherine Hughes. She then went for a Nordic walk with a group of mothers with their daughters, all of whom have learning difficulties.

If you have learning difficulties it is even more important to get fresh air and exercise to help stimulate the brain. Walking with poles has huge mental health benefits as well as physical. It gives the walker confidence and empowerment. British Nordic Walking has been working closely with the mental health charity MIND. They have highlighted the extra benefits to normal walking. The rhythm of pushing the poles into the ground is very therapeutic , a good way of expulsing ones anger. People find it reassuring having something in their hands, akin to playing with worry beads, and there is no doubt that exercising makes you feel better.

The most memorable finding of Clare’s Nordic walking experience was the remarkable effect that it had on the lives of these young people and their mothers. For many of them, they find it very hard to socialise and communicate, but being a part of this weekly walking group has given them the confidence to do that. Being able to share their troubles and feelings with fellow comrades, and learn a new skill at the same time has enriched their lives for the better. Nordic walking has given them a reason to go out and exercise, and is much a therapy for the mothers as it is for the children themselves.

To listen Clare's Nordic walking experience: click here To find a local nordic walking group please click here.

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