Friday, January 23, 2009


The effects of wind chill

A recent Nordic Walk in bitterly cold conditions here in the UK gave me a sharp reminder of the effect that the wind can have on perceived temperatures. Even when the still air temperature is about average, a strong north-easterly wind can make it feel very cold. Indeed, such a wind is often described as being “lazy” as most people will have described it as having “gone straight though them”, rather than “around”!

The apparent cooling effect is called “wind chill” and can prove dangerous, particularly if your Nordic Walks take you into remote or upland territory. Even in your local park the effects at best can be uncomfortable. Of course, citizens in countries where exceptionally cold winters are commonplace will be well aware of the risks and have mitigation measures in place.

As a guide, it is suggested that if there is a wind of ten knots, a calm air temperature of 0 Celsius will feel like minus 5 Celsius. As the wind increases to 25 knots the wind chill falls to minus 12 Celsius, and so on.

Certain medical conditions can have an impact, eg. people with diabetes who have peripheral neuropathy may find that they sweat more on their face and neck, where we lose a large proportion of our body heat. Also, people taking Beta-Blockers (often used to manage high blood pressure) may have colder hands and feet owing to constriction of blood vessels. (Therefore, if you are an instructor, your medical screening questionnaire will be relevant).

Fortunately, if you are exercising hard the effects of wind chill are somewhat mitigated by the heat generated by metabolism. Of course, what you wear plays a key role, but this can prove difficult to gauge for the keen exerciser. Another article will follow soon which discusses the principles of the “layering system” of clothing.

In the meantime, keep well hydrated – both inside and out!

Malcolm Jarvis, Nordic Walker Leeds UK

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Update on Ticks - and their removal!

You might recall that last year (4 and 5 May 08) I posted a couple of articles about the risks from “tick” bites (here in the UK we call these delightful little creatures “sheep ticks”).

Since that time I have noticed a number of published “warnings” about the increase in the UK tick population and it is claimed that cases of infection have increased dramatically since 2006. Indeed, I recall a recent report by Nordic Walking UK which mentioned two instructors who had contracted Lyme disease following tick bites (perhaps NWUK could confirm my recollection?).

Tick “hot spots” are said to be the New Forest, the South Downs, Berkshire and Dorset (David watch out!) although ticks can be encountered in almost any geographical location, even London parks!

The increase in numbers in the UK has been attributed to the nature of the past two summers, which have been wet and mild (ticks do not like hot, dry weather). Reports from elsewhere in Europe tell a similar story (I have no details from the US).

Just to remind you…….the main risk to humans from a tick bite is the bacterial infection known as Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis. It was so named after a cluster of cases in Old Lyme, Connecticut, in 1974. Thankfully, the disease is rarely fatal although the outcomes can be very serious: possibly affecting the heart, joints and nervous system. In the UK the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health is now calling on the government to make Lyme disease a notifiable disease.

Successful removal of a tick from the skin surface is therefore important. Whilst recently reading a UK outdoor magazine, I noticed a useful looking device which seems to make the task much easier, and effective. It is a pen sized removal tool called a “Rix Tick Lasso” (pictured above) and retails in the UK at around £7.00 (I have not mentioned other currencies as the exchange rate seems to change hourly!). It looks like a useful addition to an instructor’s first aid kit and can be found at

If you are not already doing so, I would recommend that Nordic Walking instructors who take their clients/parties into known “tick territory” should give a warning appropriate to the circumstances. You might also consider if your clients are wearing clothing suitable for the identified risk.

Also note that it might be easier removing ticks from your canine companion using this ingenious looking device.

Malcolm Jarvis, Nordic Walker, Leeds UK

Saturday, January 03, 2009


3 New UK Nordic Walking Challenge Events in 2009


Announcing 3 new and exciting Nordic Walking challenge events for 2009 in the beautiful surroundings of Anglian Waters’s reservoirs in Leicestershire, England, on a mixture of tarmac & rolling shale footpaths.


THE HAMBLETON HIKE: 10 or 13 miles of rural rutland water as you circumnavigate the wonderful Hambleton Peninsula. Complete this & you’re on your way to the Grafham Gateway.

7th Feb 2009, 10:00am


GRAFHAM GATEWAY: 9 miles of easy going tracks around this delightful reservoir just 2 miles off the A1. Once through the gateway, you are on your way to the jewel in the crown- Rutland Water - 14th March 2009, 10:00am


THE RUTLAND ROUND: 17 miles of rolling paths around this man made wonder, take in sounds & breath taking scenery as you embark on the final leg of your journey - 10th oct 2009, 9.30am


Nordic walking taster sessions available

For more information & an entry form contact ANDY POLLARD on or call 07790226115

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