Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

The Narrows!

September 21, 2017

Zion_NarrowsFor the last several days I have enjoyed being in and around Zion National Park (Utah) where we had the opportunity to hike “the Narrows” as well as several other short hikes along some other trails in the park.  What an awesome experience!   We opted for the top-down hike from Chamberlain Ranch (16-mile trek); our planning began several months ago since we needed to arrange for permits to hike in this direction.  We also were hoping that by going in the fall, despite the possibility of slightly “higher” and colder water, that the weather would be a bit more stable — i.e., less rain and a lower chance of flash flooding hazards. From here we will be heading up to the north rim of the Grand Canyon to hike for a couple of days before returning home. Ah, the joy of being disconnected . . . a little therapy, courtesy of nature!

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Still Not Losing?!

February 9, 2017

Well, we are more than a month into the year and if one of your New Year’s resolutions was to lose some weight, it’s time to check in and see how you are doing.   If you are doing all of the right things (primarily diet and exercise) and still find you are having trouble shedding those pounds, there may be other culprits to blame . . .

  • It could be the medications you are taking (the side effects of some prescription medications is weight gain — don’t quit taking your meds, but by all means check in with your doctor for options that may not have this side effect).
  • It could be you are not getting enough sleep.  Establish a healthy routine, aim to get between 7-8 hours per night, and stick to a schedule (get up and go to bed at the same time everyday, including the weekends).
  • It could be the bacteria in your gut.  While bacteria generally do a world of good (breaking down food, absorbing water and nutrients, regulating insulin, producing fuel, etc.), certain bacteria could also be responsible for regulating inflammation, fat metabolism, and appetite.  Stick to the helpful microbes (live-culture yogurt and a variety of high fiber foods).
  • It could be the temperature you keep your thermostat set at.    We naturally seek out the thermoneutral zone (comfy-cozy), bump the temp down a bit and kick-start your fat metabolic activity. (66 degree temps or lower).
  • It could be a strain of the common cold – adenovirus 36 — avoid this virus if at all possible (wash your hands frequently, exercise [boosts your immune system], and get enough rest).

Simple enough, right?  Good luck!

Source: AARP: the Magazine, Feb/Mar 2017, p. 24-25.

99 Great Ways to Save (Part 7)!

October 22, 2016

In the July /August issue of the AARP Bulletin, several experts offer tips and tricks that will help you save money in a variety of categories: travel, technology, home, finance, style, food, fun, getting there, health, and entertainment.  Part 7 will be the fun category (tips courtesy of Jonathan Jarvis [director, National Parks Service], Curtis Pride [President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition], and Marissa Stephenson [senior editor Men’s Journal]).

62. Visit on fee-free days.
63. Get free or low-cost passes to national parks.
64. Find a park in your backyard.
65. Perform body-weight exercise.
66. Use free fitness apps.
67. Join a health or nutrition challenge.
68. Join a gym in the summer.
69. Consider small-group training.
70. Ask local retailers about free fitness classes.

Source: AARP Bulletin, July/August 2016, p. 27.

Best Cities for Running!

September 27, 2016

In the October issue of Runner’s World, they analyzed more than 250 cities (populations greater than 160K) with the highest number of households per capita who reportedly participated in some form of running over the last twelve months.  Data was gathered from a variety of sources to create five categories of special importance to runners (presence of sanctioned clubs, races, and running stores; the number of trails, open spaces, running tracks, etc.; ideal running weather; access to healthy food options; and safety [crime and traffic] for pedestrians).   Here’s the list of the top-50.

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Boston, MA
  4. San Diego, CA
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Portland, OR
  7. Minneapolis, MN
  8. New York, NY
  9. Omaha, NE
  10. Denver, CO
  11. Chicago, IL
  12. Madison, WI
  13. Colorado Springs, CO
  14. San Jose, CA
  15. Los Angeles, CA
  16. Rochester, NY
  17. Pittsburgh, PA
  18. Tucson, AZ
  19. Raleigh, NC
  20. Boise, ID
  21. Oakland, CA
  22. Philadelphia, PA
  23. Sacramento, CA
  24. St. Louis, MO
  25. Buffalo, NY
  26. Virginia Beach, VA
  27. St. Paul, MN
  28. Richmond, VA
  29. Santa Rosa, CA
  30. Charlotte, NC
  31. Las Vegas, NV
  32. Tampa, FL
  33. Lincoln, NE
  34. Albuquerque, NM
  35. Cleveland, OH
  36. Cincinnati, OH
  37. Milwaukee, WI
  38. Atlanta, GA
  39. Des Moines, IA
  40. Irvine, CA
  41. Salt Lake City, UT
  42. Baltimore, MD
  43. Spokane, WA
  44. Honolulu, HI
  45. Indianapolis, IN
  46. Phoenix, AZ
  47. San Antonio, TX
  48. Miami, FL
  49. Oklahoma City, OK
  50. Houston, TX

Source: runnersworld.com/bestcities

Back in the Groove!

July 30, 2016

Discipline, consistency, persistence . . . this has been the last six weeks as I have slowly regained my motivation and my stick-to-it-iveness with an exercise/diet program.  I started from scratch/ground zero in mid-June having gone more than a year-and-a-half between regular exercise, and boy, was it challenging, but it was time.  I’ve been able to maintain my focus now for several weeks and feel as though I’m truly back in my exercise groove.  I’ve been alternating my workouts with running, speed walking, and bicycling (and occasional weight workouts), and I feel great.  I’ve also change my diet a bit and have cut out a lot of the sugars and carbohydrates that I had come to love — they are now just the occasional reward.  Not only do I feel good, but I’ve dropped some of my unwanted pounds as well and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.  It’s good to be back.  I may not get back to the fitness levels I possessed in my late 30s early 40s, but any improvement over my current levels is better than nothing.   My goal now: to stay in the groove while on vacation and traveling.  Wish me luck!  (What, me worry?  Piece of cake, right?)

Are You Wasting Your Workout Time?

January 13, 2016

How many of us “find” ways to distract ourselves away from our workouts?  Men’s Health magazine has identified thirteen different ways  that you could be frittering away your workout (nearly half of your hour-long session).

Activity (# of minutes)
1. Fiddling with workout apps (1)
2. Texting or emailing (1.5)
3. Watching TV (1.5)
4. Considering your next exercise (1)
5. Waiting for/resetting equipment (3.5)
6. Cleaning up after others (1)
7. Making small talk (1.5)
8. Judging other workouts (1.5)
9. Checking people out (3)
10. Weighing yourself (.5)
11. Sitting in the sauna (1.5)
12. Taking water breaks (2.5)
13. Resting longer than needed between sets (6)

I am happy to report that I rarely use any of these to self-distract from the exercise at hand.  I workout alone, I don’t use apps, I don’t weigh or use the sauna, I rarely take water breaks, and I hardly ever rest.  But then again, I’m not doing a weight workout (I mostly do aerobic — running, cycling, walking and occasional calisthenics).  When I do perform calisthenics and do “reps,” I time my rests and keep it moving.

Source: Men’s Health magazine, January/February 2016.

Not Your Typical Walk!

July 10, 2015

Running has always been my preferred choice in exercise for most of my life.  But every now and then, usually when I’m recovering from an injury, I have found myself substituting walking into my regimen.  And, to gain the most benefit possible from the walking, I try to walk as fast as I possibly can (power/speed walking). Power/speed walking is defined as is the act of walking with a speed at the upper end of the natural range for the walking gait, typically 4.5 to 5.5 mph.  Power walking is different from racewalking (an actual Olympic event) which has a very specific techniques along with a couple of very specific rules:

  1. Racewalking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs.
  2. The advancing leg must be straightened (i.e., not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until in the vertical position.

I’m not sure that I’m ready to advance to the racewalking stage, but this technique boasts to be a great aerobic workout and that it burns more calories per mile than fitness walking or running.  Want to learn more?  Here are some links to some informative sites:

http://www.racewalk.com/
http://www.usatf.org/Sports/Race-Walking.aspx
http://www.racewalking.org/