Some of you might be wondering what is she talking about? The Feel-Good Factor? Believe it or not there is a dictionary definition for it:. Here is one Google came up with: “a quality in something that makes people feel happy and positive about their lives.” But what does it really mean? I think people will have different feel-good factors. Some people will feel very, very content to have a long hot bath, just locking the rest of the world outside that bathroom door, perhaps even enjoying some music. Others will feel really good having a lovely meal and drink with family and friends in the pub just down the road in Stratford upon Avon.
For me it is going out Nordic Walking in our beautiful Warwickshire countryside! Having the sense of achievement of a challenging and hilly route through Oversley Woods in Alcester or around Coughton Court and Spernal Lane in South Warwickshire is just fabulous and sends me on a real high. Today I have been feeling even more accomplished as I took a group of Nordic Walkers on a 5 mile walk along quite hilly pathways. Accomplished because the group itself was ranging vastly from complete beginners to long established Nordic Walkers. The challenge for me was to make sure everybody was happy, everybody achieved what they set out to achieve by joining this walk. And I managed just that – I enjoyed seeing the smiling faces as we got back to our starting point. The “athletes” of the group got their exercise kick as well as the pleasure of meeting a couple of newbies. And the newbies very much enjoyed the welcoming nature of the rest of group; they enjoyed that they could go on the same walk as experienced Nordic Walkers. I felt incredibly pleased that this mix of people all realised their goal for the day before midday, they felt full of energy and ready to tackle whatever the rest of the day would through at them! A big thank you must go to the trainers at Nordic Walking UK for equipping us instructors so well in managing mixed ability groups!
But in all seriousness, there are plenty of studies that have produced evidence that exercise outdoors or indoors increases mental wellbeing and energy levels. I am currently part of a research study that investigates “The effects of a twelve-week Nordic Walking UK programme on health-related fitness and overall wellbeing Nordic Walking UK”. Of course the study will be looking at physical changes such as fitness levels. However, there is also a keen interest to see how this sociable exercise in disguise affects the overall mental wellbeing and whether it gives you a Feel-Good Factor.
I am about to start a 5 week Nordic Wellbeing & Fit for Life course to make this very inclusive activity even more inclusive. This course will help people to learn how to be fit and strong enough to enjoy taking on new activities and challenges with confidence! It is suitable for people that don’t feel they are able to join a general fitness class or have just undergone rehabilitation after illness.
For those that still need convincing that Nordic Walking is the best fitness activity in the world I offer regular Free Tasters in Alcester and Stratford upon Avon. More details of those and how to reserve your Nordic Walking poles in Warwickshire can be found at www.arrowandarden.co.uk/activities.
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