Posts Tagged ‘running’

Independance Day Workout Alert

July 2, 2015

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Sunday morning is the perfect time for a workout. We’ve had a little time to kick back and rest over the weekend, we are not as strapped for time as we are during the week, and we have the day ahead of us to recouperate. If the weather permits, it is a great opportunity to persue outdoor activities. This Sunday, however, you may want to rethink that morning run along the river.

With July Fourth celebrations comes fireworks, and with fireworks comes particle pollution, a condition which effects air quality.

An article in the Journal of Atmospheric Environment states that the amount of airborne particles nearly doubles during the night of the fourth, and doesn’t settle back down until about noon on the fifth. These particles can be comprised of nitrates, sulphites or other chemicals. Exposure to this type of pollutant has been linked to respiratory issues, including heart and lung disease.  Those with asthma, bronchitis or coronary conditions should be especially careful during this period.

Enjoying the great outdoors has its benefits, but this Sunday might be a good day to hit the trendmill or spinning class instead.

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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What Would a Caveman(or Woman) Do?

October 23, 2013

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Back in prehistoric times, cave people were incredibly fit. They didn’t diet, and they didn’t workout. There was no gym, no Soul Cycle and no Crossfit to join.They didn’t count calories, and had no trendy food related ailments or phobias.

While the Paleo diet, based on how our ancestors ate in Paleolithic times has certainly become a craze, there is something to be said for eating and behaving like our forefolks did.

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Cavemen and women travelled everywhere by foot. They didn’t have cars, or subways, or even bicycles. Everywhere they went, they walked. Often, that journey was several miles per day. If a saber tooth tiger was chasing them, they ran: fast!  Reconsider your transportation choices and try walking where possible.

They hunted and gathered their own food, and never, ever called for take-out.     Procuring food was very physical, and preparing it was also a task. Think about the energy needed pick berries, hunt and skin animals and even the act of rubbing sticks together to create fire. While we don’t really expect anyone to be hunting and fishing in urban areas, the act of preparing your own food increases your activity level, and provides you the opportunity to prepare cleaner, healthier meals.

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Our prehistoric pals ate a diet rich in fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries. Fast food, sweet treats and refined carbs didn’t exist. Clean eating was a way of life.  If you aren’t ready to go Paleo, consider giving up things that come in packages and eat only fresh foods.

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Neanderthals had overdeveloped right arms, originally thought to be a result of carrying heavy spears. Recent findings from archeologists in Cambridge debunked this theory, citing the many hours spent scraping animal skins to make clothing as the reason for this discrepancy. What repetitive motion based chores do you do that require a little muscle?

Many of our health woes have emerged due to the conveniences of modern living. Before you jump in the car and drive to the fast food restaurant, ask yourself “ What would a cave man do?” The answer just might be the secret to good health.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Smart Socks

June 26, 2013

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There are lots of workout related gadgets on the market these days. From bracelets that track activity, calories and even sleep quality, to sensors inserted into running shoes connecting to  apps galore that track, prod, and reward progress, it’s overwhelming.

But what if there was something that could help prevent injury, and improve technique? For those of us who are a prone to injuries of late (ahem), this could be interesting!
The Sensoria is an insert that fits a specially developed athletic sock embedded with electronic fibers. The device can track activity, pace, distance and lap times as well as stance, cadence, foot position and stride length. It connects to an app, and users are told whether or not their running pattern is neutral or over pronated, which can result in injuries. Should an injury occur, the sensor can provide analysis to help the user improve technique to avoid future problems.

Statistics show that 60% of runners experience some type of foot injury annually. This smart sock could impact that number significantly.

The Sensoria kit is available for about $99, and includes a pair of washable socks, an ankle sensor and the app.

photo: glasshouse images

The Superbowl is Not a Giant Bowl You Fill With Snacks

February 3, 2013

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Today is Superbowl Sunday. It is an annual event that is to junk food what turkey is to Thanksgiving.

It is expected that Americans will consume over 11 million pounds of potato chips, 8 million pounds of tortilla chips and more than 4 million pounds of pretzels. Add in 1.24 billion chicken wings, 4.4 million pizzas and 111 million gallons of beer. No word on guacamole and bean dip consumption.

The average person will consume 1200 calories during the game. That’s alot of calories.

What would it take to burn off the day’s excess?

Actually playing football instead of just watching it could torch the entire amount in two hours. Walking it off could take 5 hours, but a moderately paced run could burn them off in two. A good spinning class or 3 could solve the problem in about 2 1/2 hours.

Taking a relaxing yoga class could help you come to terms with your indulgence, and work it off if you are willing to practice for 7 hours straight.

Or you could just enjoy the game and go back to healthy eating tomorrow.

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You Talkin’ To Me?

September 21, 2012

The other day, as I toweled off and tried to catch my breath at the end of my cycling class, the teacher started talking about how “some of us needed to learn to experience the feeling of discomfort more intensely during their workouts.”

As he wound up his monologue, he stared right at me. Coincidence? Probably, but it threw me for a loop just the same.

This particular teacher is known for his “show no mercy” attitude and pushing you beyond your limits. I leave class physically drained, soaking wet, and proud of my accomplishments. I push myself, (with his help) pretty hard. He doesn’t generally come by to check up on me, or increase my resistance. I might have just been in his line of vision as he was addressing a packed room. Or, he might have singled me out silently to let me know I needed to up my game.

Whether or not he did, the effect was the same.
The next day, thighs still tight from the above-mentioned class, I got on the treadmill. Almost immediately, my left quad cramped and my hamstrings started screaming at me to stop. Did I, you may be asking? Hell no! I pushed through 4 miles absorbed in the experience of intense discomfort. All I could think about was my cycling teacher’s glare.  I powered through my workout with his words motivating me to keep going.

Later, after spending some quality time with a foam roller and a hot bath, I walked to work as usual. I had a few stops along the way, and didn’t bother to change my shoes. On the way home, I kept thinking about “the comment” again, and wondered if he could have walked 3 miles in 41/2 “ heels. That would teach him about pushing through the feeling of discomfort, wouldn’t it?

Of course I could just go up and ask him if he was addressing me specifically, or if it was just a coincidence. But I don’t really need to know the answer. His comment somehow ignited some competitive flame inside me, and is serving its intended purpose, even if it really wasn’t intended for me!

Family Ties

August 31, 2012

We’re here in Hilton Head, South Carolina, for a family beach vacation. It has been raining pretty much the whole time we have been here until today.  Family holidays can be a be a bit trying under the best of circumstances, but with 5 people of differing interests trapped together in the rain, it doesn’t get easier.

We get up, eat, I work out ( if I can) and then we eat again. I have been to the outlet center 3 times in 4 days.  Yesterday, I couldn’t go to the gym because everyone else was antsy to get their shopping on. At night we eat again, and come home to scream at the television, while watching the Republican National Convention. Yesterday, the storm took out our T.V. and Wi-Fi for a bit. We almost declared a state of emergency!

I have not posted lately, due to lack of inspiration and Internet service. I also have a rule that I don’t post anything that I know will offend others. I am about to break that rule, because you just can’t make this stuff up. It is official. These people from whom I came are not normal.

Today was finally a gorgeous day. My desire was to spend as much time outdoors and as active as possible.  Be careful what you wish for: I did not plan on participating in what turned out to be the “Hairdresser Mini-Triathlon.”

I spent the morning on a quiet 2-hour bike ride on trails and on the beach. After lunch, B and I went for a swim, while the men went to play golf.

Nana* had a late afternoon appointment at the hairdressers. As she was preparing to go, she realized that they took her car. “ No problem, “ I said, “just take the other one. The keys should be in the house somewhere.”
Nope. Mr. Genius* and his sidekick* went off golfing with one car and both sets of car keys.  We tracked them down and they agreed to leave the keys at the pro-shop for pick-up. I offered to ride my bike over and get them.

Nope again. Mr. Genius and his sidekick also had the combination to the bike locks with them.  It is important to note that it is not possible to contact Mr. Genius directly, as his cell phone is in the house in a plastic bag of rice, trying to recover from a late afternoon swim during a rare hour a few days ago when it was just thundering, but not yet raining.

I put on my new Nike running shoes, purchased at the local outlet center during a monsoon, and ran the 2 miles to pick up the keys, in record time. As I returned dripping with sweat and breathing heavily, Nana realized that they gave her the keys to the car they had, not the one that was here. Now Nana can’t leave, and they are stranded with no keys for their car.

Nana calls the sidekick and “rips him a new one.” I intervened and got the combination to the bike lock. I jump on the bike, rode like the wind to the golf course, locked up the bike and drove the car home for Nana.
Nana made it to the hair salon, and Mr. Genius will have to ride the bike home, get the other car, and go pick up his sidekick at the golf course. He will have to do this in golf shoes, as Nana took off with their sneakers in the car, just to be spiteful.

The good news: I like my new running shoes, my knee is healing well and I burned about 800 calories in activity, which I may need to consume in alcohol tonight.

The weather channel just upgraded the weather from stormy to sunny for  tomorrow and we might get another beautiful day in before we leave.

We will have to make another stop at the outlet center on the way out of town, because my new running pants still have the security tag attached to them. Apparently when the alarm beeped when leaving the store, Mr. Genius didn’t think to check the bag in his hand to see if it was the problem.

Family: You can’t live with ‘em, and you can’t live with out ‘em.

To be continued…

*names have been changed to protect the guilty

photo: indigo jones

My Left Foot

April 5, 2012

I have an ugly little secret. Don’t tell anyone, but I have a bunion on my left foot. A really, really ugly bunion.

It’s been there for years.  For a long time, I considered it a badge of courage; a medal for enduring pounding runs, and teetering high heels. It came about during the late ‘90s, when pointy toes were all the rage, and grew larger as heels grew higher.

Despite slathering my feet with Vaseline every morning before I go to the gym, I have callouses in that area, as well as the occasional blister. Not pretty.

The bunion rarely hurts, so I just ignore it and hope it goes away.  Recently, I started experiencing some pain elsewhere on my foot, and when I looked at the slightly swollen area on the top of my foot, the red welts from uncomfortable shoes, and the big old lump sticking out of one side, I knew something needed to be done before sandal season.

As usual, rather than consult a real professional, I consulted Google. According to various websites of varying degrees of credibility, many bunions come from the toes being compressed for long periods of time. (Those stilettos really are to blame!) Most doctors recommend a simple surgery to reset the bones to their original locale.

In my opinion, no surgery is “simple” and I set out to find a home remedy.

If compression caused the problem, than it only seems natural that stretching the toes apart should reverse the damage, right?

While perusing the local Duane Reade the other day, I found my ally, by the name of

“Goodnight Bunion.”

“Goodnight Bunion” is a medieval looking contraption that hooks onto your big toe to “gently realign tight tendons and muscles in your foot while you sleep as an alternative to surgery.”

For a fully refundable $9.99, my foot problems are on the way out.

The first night, B tried to help me figure out how to put it on. She ultimately consulted her Holy Grail, YOUTUBE, where she found a video tutorial entitled “How to put on Goodnight Bunion.” Yes, it’s that complicated.

Once strapped into the thing, it is nearly impossible to walk. Sleeping with a big plastic thing on your foot is also challenging, unless you sleep flat on your back. Otherwise, the shin of your other leg gets very bruised, thus distracting you from the discomfort of your bunion.

The first 2 nights I had to take it off after only a couple of hours. It seems that one of the side effects of Goodnight Bunion, is Good Morning Arch Cramps!

Alas, enduring pain is the price of beauty, and I am determined to self heal my gnarly foot.


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