09 Feb 2021

Athletics

In my high school and college days I was a very active athlete. I enjoyed playing basketball, track, football and wrestling. I felt I was at my peak physically. When my friends ask me if I would like to learn how to play the sport of golf, you might imagine my reaction. Are you serious? Golf isn’t a bonafide sport. Golf is a recreational event where older adults get together to drink and gossip. As Larry Atkins, a lawyer and writer wrote in the Chicago Tribune. Golf isn’t a sport, it’s a skill much like bowling, billiard, darts, auto racing, curling, shuffleboard and pinochle. It’s an activity that older people take up when their knees go bad and they can’t play real sports like baseball, basketball and football anymore.

This was the exact attitude I possessed about golf in my younger days. Now, that I have matured somewhat or my aches and pains have caught up to me. My outlook on life has changed somewhat, including my thoughts about golf. I have reached that stage where I can’t participate in activities like basketball, baseball or football, my knees and body will not allow.

My friends once again approached me and asked if I would be interested in learning how to play golf. At first, I said no but they were very persistent. I thought to myself, golf consists of a lot of gossip and socializing. I can socialize and gossip with the best of them so why not give it a try. If I truly don’t like it I can always quit.

Learning golf is more than I anticipated, it is very challenging. But,I began to enjoy the challenge. Walking in the great outdoors and taking in the fresh air. The golf courses I have visited are spacious and beautiful, how could you not enjoy taken in Mother Nature’s natural glory. My friends that encouraged me to take up golfing have abandoned the practice. I’m still at it. Because,I love the benefit it provides.

Playing golf regularly helps me stay fit, improves my muscle tone and endurance and I have lost weight. Golf is good for my mind. As physical as golf can be, 90% of the game is mental. An 18 hole round is basically one long mental exercise, constantly making me think and forcing me to stay focused on the task at hand. Golf can also help relieve stress, anxiety, and even depression. It’s also a great way to meet and make new friends.

The lesson I learned from this experience is one everyone should embrace. Condemnation prior to investigation can distort a person’s outlook on life. You should try it before you deny it. That’s all for now. Remember, the potential to create a meaningful and productive life lies within us all.

11 Nov 2020

EXERCISE,WHY?

Too many people have the wrong idea of exercise. Their exercise consist of jumping to conclusions, running up bills, crunching charge cards, swimming in debt, stretching the truth, bending over backwards, lying down on the job, side stepping responsibility and pushing their luck. Others feel, if it weren’t for the fact that the TV set and the fridge are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all. If this is your idea of exercise or physical activity, because you just don’t have the time, I want to let you in on a secret. Those who think they have no time for physical activities will sooner or later have to find time for illness. Also these so called physical activities don’t lead to a treasure chest of health, instead to a life full of stress, anxiety and inflammation.

Lets examine the role of inflammation. Inflammation plays a central role in healing. When it’s good, it fights off foreign invaders, heals injuries and mops up debris. But when it’s bad, inflammation ignites a long list of disorders. Inflammation can travel throughout the body and cause problems all over. Over time, chronic inflammation can trigger your immune system to attack healthy tissue and organs in your body. When left untreated, prolonged chronic inflammation can increase your risk for disease like, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, blindness and cancer. Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. It’s important to take brain inflammation seriously because it can rapidly degenerate the brain, raising the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain degenerative disease. When you see”itis” at the end of a condition, it means inflammation such as encephalitis, appendicitis, arthritis, colitis, bronchitis, hepatitis and cystitis. There is more, much more but I think you get the point. Inflammation can be very nasty.

Now, it’s time to put exercise under the microscope. Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom. And, with any kingdom, in order to safe guard its treasure (health) you must guard and work at it continuously.
Lets explore some of the jewels or benefits found in the treasure chest of health.

Exercise possesses many different jewels or benefits for health. Recently, research at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found how just one session of moderate exercise can also act as a anti-inflammatory. The brain and sympathetic nervous system, a pathway that serves to accelerate heart rate and raise blood pressure, among other things, are activated during exercise to enable the body to carry out work. Hormones, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, are released into the blood stream and trigger adrenergic receptors, which immune cells produces. This activation process during exercise produces immunological responses, which include the production of many cytokines, or proteins, one of which is TNF a key regulator of local and systemic inflammation that also helps boost immune responses. The study found one session of about 20 minutes of moderate treadmill exercise resulted in a five percent decrease in the number of stimulated immune cells producing TNF. Exercise is also known to reduce a number of inflammatory markers, like c-reactive protein and interleukin-6, which are linked to a number of diseases. The anti-inflammatory effects of exercise are likely one of the underpinnings of its effects against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, neurodegenerative conditions and more.

Another jewel or benefit of exercise. The American Heart Association started the country’s first set of exercise guidelines in 1972. And it’s not hard to envision why exercise helps the heart. If you’re physically active, your heart gets trained to beat slower and stronger, so it needs less oxygen to function well, your arteries get springier, so they push your blood along better, and your levels of good HDL cholesterol go up. It’s also not much of a surprise that physical activity helps prevent diabetes. Muscles that are used to working stay more receptive to insulin, the hormone that ushers blood sugar into cells, so in fit individuals blood sugar levels aren’t as likely to creep up.

Exercise can also trigger the growth of new brain cells. Neuroscientists used to believe the brain was the only organ incapable of growing new cells which partly makes sense, since we need our brains to be relatively stable over time, to keep our memories intact and to keep us us. But, in recent years its become clear that the brain, too, can grow new neurons, in a process called neurogenesis. And what seems to spur the growth of new neurons, perhaps above other activities, is aerobic exercise. The area of the brain that seems most capable of growing new cells is the hippocampus, the seat of learning and memory. It’s also the area that’s known to shrink in depression, and particularly in dementia, so the fact that we may have some control over our health is very promising.

Exercise has many more benefits. It’s known to slow the aging process, improve mood, makes us more resilient to stress, improve social skills, give us better sleep and improve our memory.

Food for thought:
The act of getting strong doesn’t start in the gym, it starts in your head.

Fitness is not about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than you used to be.

Exercise is done against one’s wishes and maintained only because the alternative is worse.

Not only will exercise make you look fantastic, but it will make you feel that way too.

The best fashion statement is a fit, healthy body.

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it’s the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.

Exercise plays a vital role in my life. The way I keep at it is to do things I truly enjoy, like biking, hiking, walking, golfing, camping, Tai Chi, and swimming. If you can find something that you enjoy doing and it is physical activity, you’ve killed two birds with one stone ( forgive the reference to killing birds) but you get the point. Go for it, the benefits of exercise are simply amazing. Talk to you soon, stay healthy and safe.

29 Jun 2020

Unique Exercises That Get You Outside More

 

In this new normal that includes social distancing, working out at the gym may not be a possibility. If you can’t afford to purchase equipment to use at home, then getting outside to get some exercise is always an option.

Most people take a walk or go jogging when they exercise outside. Those are excellent options, but they aren’t always the best choice for everyone. If you need to do something different to take care of yourself, then consider these ideas to focus on your fitness.

1. Just Keep Squatting

A series of squats outside is just as practical as the ones you complete at a gym. You’ll want to complete ten regular ones first. Then put in 10 jump squats, followed by ten knee-to-chest jumps. Complete the circuit with 10 squats on your tiptoes. Then repeat the process but with nine repetitions, then eight, and so on until you reach one. Remember to keep a straight back and don’t press up on your legs with your hands.

2. Pyramid of 15

This exercise has you complete a press-up, then walk forward about 10 feet. Then do two press-ups before walking back to your original spot. Complete three press-ups, and then continue until you’re doing 15 reps. If you can’t reach the top number, then figure out your maximum ability and work to improve it.

3. Blitz Your Cardio

Walking and running are excellent cardio options, but you can take things to the next level when getting outside. Begin your exercise with mountain climbers for a full minute. Then run to a point that’s about 60 feet away or on the other side of your yard. Perform ten burpees before running back to complete another minute of mountain climbers. Then complete nine burpees, following the pattern until you reach just one. 

4. Exercise Barbarian

Hang a pull-up bar outside using the instructions given to you from the manufacturer. With palms facing you, complete three chin-ups. As you remain on the bar, release your left hand to change the grip so that your palm faces away. Then turn your right hand. Now complete three more chin-ups. Reverse the process again until you can no longer get above the bar. If you can’t finish three right away, then do two if you can. Even one is better than none, and you can build up to the targeted number.

5. Yardwork

Exercise doesn’t need to be fancy to offer useful results. If you have chores that have been on your to-do list for some time, then spend the time during one of your exercise periods to get the work finished. Mowing the lawn, repairing siding, fixing a roof, or cleaning the house are all effective ways to achieve a moderate workout. If you don’t feel like the activity is presenting a challenge, then go harder and faster as you cross items off of your list.

Once you decide to exercise, then it becomes easier to add more activities to your daily routine. Consider using these outdoor options as a way to get out of the house when cabin fever is intense. 

24 Jun 2020

Best Cycling Trips to Take in the United States

 

If you love to explore new parts of the world with your bicycle, then the United States is a cycling paradise. It provides a diverse set of biomes for you to discover, all from the comfort of your saddle.

When you start planning your next American cycling trip, then these are the routes you’ll want to consider taking.

1. Dirty Kanza

This trip over the rolling dirt roads of Kansas allows you to explore the grandeur of the Flint Hills. It’s a challenging journey that lets you see the heartland of America without much traffic getting in the way. There’s a lot of up-and-down movement to enjoy. You’ll have 60 miles to navigate before you reach the first town, which means you need to be prepared for mud if it rains.

2. Mount Evans

This Colorado climbing trip takes you to the summit of a 14,000-foot mountain. You’ll see waves of the Rocky Mountains standing tall and proud once you arrive. You’ll be climbing for three straight hours to complete this course. Don’t forget to check your brakes at the top so that you’re prepared for the 28-mile downhill descent.

3. Oregon’s Coast

If you take Highway 101 in Oregon, then you can see hundreds of miles of Pacific Ocean coastline stretch out before your eyes. Several distractions can delay your journey, ranging from waterfalls to sandy beaches – and most are open to the public. Be prepared for lots of clam chowder and coffee for this journey.

4. San Juan Islands

San Juan Island is the most populated of this group of islands off the coast of Washington. Friday Harbor is the primary community, and about 8,000 people in total live there. You’ll find quiet, two-lane roads awaiting your arrival. If you reach the western side during your cycling adventure, then whale watching at Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse offers the perfect end to the day.

5. Gran Fondo

You get to enjoy the urban environment of NYC with this beautiful cycling trip that hugs the Hudson River. It’s only 10 minutes from Manhattan on your bicycle. You’ll navigate through several small river towns until you reach the 1,200-foot climb that takes you to the summit of Bear Mountain. 

6. Ride Through Time

If you follow State Route 12 in Utah, then you have over 120 miles of breathtaking landscapes to see. Buttes, cosmic pinnacles, and slickrock canyons have high population numbers between Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Parks. It gets hot during the summer months here, so consider taking your cycling trip in the spring or fall. You’ll start at 7,500 feet before dropping toward the farming communities of Henrieville and Tropic. Don’t forget to spend some time at the Escalante River!

There are more than 4 million miles of public roads in the United States. It’s the most extensive network of its type in the world. That means you can always find a perfect place to do some cycling.

23 Jun 2020

Affordable Hiking Trips You Can Plan This Year

 

Hiking is an easy way to explore the world. As long as you bring enough supplies with you for the journey, the costs are relatively low while the discovery opportunities are out-of-this-world good!

Several epic hikes are available around the world for you to experience. If you’re looking for a way to step outside of your comfort zone, then consider planning one of these trips this year.

Best Trips to Take When You Love Hiking

1. Giant Panda National Park

Chinese officials visited Yosemite and Yellowstone to glean inspiration for their own system of national parks. Giant Panda is the best of them all, connecting dozens of reserves in the Qinling Mountains to create a protected area for local wildlife. You’ll find quiet forests, challenging alpine trails, and teahouses awaiting your arrival.

2. The Lost Coast

This stretch of the American coastline is so rugged that transportation engineers couldn’t bring Highway 101 close enough to let people enjoy it. That means you have a beautiful wilderness to explore on foot when the urge to start trekking arises. You’ll see quiet beaches, stunning waves, and lots of sunshine with this adventure that’s available all year long.

3. Long Range Traverse

You’ll find this trail at Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. It offers a 26-mile backcountry adventure that’s remarkably challenging. The park requires you to take a mandatory orientation before starting. Follow the caribou trails to create an incredible hiking opportunity over three days.

4. Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park looks like it could be from an alien world. Hundreds of hoodoos, which are crimson-colored pinnacles, stretch up to the sky to create stunning pillars that stretch to the horizon. These natural formations create amphitheaters, canyons, and more areas for you to explore. Day hikes, backcountry trails, and more are available when you start trekking through this Utah masterpiece. 

5. An Teallach Traverse

This Scottish masterpiece is a scramble in the Highlands that covers 12 miles. You’ll cross open grasslands before reaching a horseshoe-shaped ridge that stands at over 3,000 feet above sea level. Some sneak-arounds are available if you don’t feel like taking the entire journey as intended. You can combine it with a long-distance hike on Cape Wrath or West Highland Way for an even bigger adventure. 

6. Vermont Colors

When autumn comes to Vermont, the entire state seems to turn shades of red, yellow, and orange. The stunning display is at its best when you take the Long Trail through the Northeast mountains in the state. You’ll come across the occasional lake or summit to experience one of nature’s grandest expressions. You can take day trips if you prefer, and there are also driving options to consider.

The best hiking trips aren’t just available to the rich and famous. When you have these destinations added to your itinerary, then you can see the incredible work of Mother Nature while sticking to your budget. What trail do you plan to take this year? 

30 Apr 2020

Incredible Backpacking Foods for Your Next Adventure

 

When you take food with you on a long-distance trek, then lightweight options are your top priority. It might seem like your choices are limited in this category, but you can still find calorically-dense selections that will meet your needs without being a strain to cook.

One of the essential items you should consider purchasing for your trekking adventures is a food dehydrator. You can make trail snacks that are easy to carry while still keeping something that’s highly nutritious available.

Here are some of the best backpacking foods that you’ll want to consider having available as you plan your next adventure.

Best Foods to Take on Backcountry Trails

1. Anything Fresh

Pack something perishable for the first day spent on the trail. Having some fresh fruits or vegetables available can help you to kickstart your adventure on the right foot. You can slice apples, cucumbers, or similar products for a healthy snack that won’t contribute long-term weight to your pack.

2. Cheese

This food comes packed with calories and protein. It adds a lot of richness to any meal while coming in several varieties so that you can find preferable flavors. Although some cheeses do require refrigeration, many do not – and that means it can keep for several days if managed correctly.

3. Dry Foods

Instant noodles, soup mixes, and rice are all excellent choices for backpacking because of their lightweight nature. They take up very little space, but you can make them with some water over a campfire when you stop for the evening. Consider adding dried beans, veggies, or spices to create a complete meal.

4. Freeze-Dried Foods

This option might be more expensive than the other items you could pack, but it also provides more variety to your die. You can find several proteins, produce selections, and desserts available. Add water for a calorically-dense meal. Some of them can be eaten without preparation, such as the packaged ice cream.

5. Purification Tablets

Although this item isn’t technically a food, you’ll want to pack some so that you can prepare meals on your backpacking adventure. A multi-day hike never has enough room to bring enough bottled water for the entire trail. That means you’ll need to make the water you find out there safe to drink. If you don’t want to use purification tablets, then a filter is another option to consider.

6. Beverage Mixes

Outside water sources may not provide the best-tasting drinks you’ve ever experience. Some of the streams can taste like you just licked an animal. By adding a powdered drink mix to your pack, you can benefit from the extra electrolytes while disguising the undesirable flavors of the fluid you need to drink. Protein powders are another way for you to manage your dietary needs during your trip.

When you take a little time to plan your meal options for a backcountry adventure, then you won’t be hungry or thirsty during your journey. Choose the foods from these categories based on your needs so that you can have some fun exploring!

27 Apr 2020

How to Maximize Your Gym Membership Investment

 

A gym membership is useless if you’re spending the majority of your time waiting for other people to get off of the equipment you want to use. It’s a waste of money if you spend more time trying to motivate yourself to exercise instead of going to the facility.

If you have a gym membership and you want to maximize that investment, then these tips can help you to get your body and finances into shape.

Tips for Maximizing Your Gym Membership

1. Choose a facility that’s close to home.

If it takes you 30 minutes or more to reach the gym each day, then it’s too far away to be an effective membership. It’s a lot easier to lose your motivation when you must drive that far. Choose one that’s close to your home or office so that fitting in a workout is easier on your schedule.

2. Know what your fitness goals are before starting.

Your gym membership should help you to achieve your fitness goals. Are you training for a marathon, or is your goal to get healthier? By knowing what you need before you sign up, you can find a place that offers what you need. If you love swimming and the gym doesn’t have a pool, are you maximizing your investment?

3. Hire a certified personal trainer.

Although you’ll spend more when pursuing this tip, it will pay off because the one-on-one attention puts a focus on your health and wellness. If you’ve never been to a gym before, this investment can help you to discover what equipment options can help the most. Some facilities even offer a free session with a new membership.

4. Eliminate your inhibitions at the door.

Most people go to the gym because they want to improve their health or fitness. Everyone is there to work on their body. Everyone has different ways to achieve that goal, so don’t be intimidated by someone who is ultra-intense on the equipment. Go there to do your thing instead of worrying about what other people think or feel. Improving yourself is the reason you made this investment!

5. Explore everything that the gym offers.

The list of fancy equipment and classes that a gym membership provides can be extensive. If you’re new to this world of health and fitness, then it might seem overwhelming. That’s why doing some experimentation can be useful for the soul when you want to maximize your investment. Try everything available to you. Your body is going to tell you what is effective and what should be avoided.

6. Integrate resistance training into your routine.

If you want to maximize your caloric burn, then add resistance training to your gym routine. Even if you can’t access the weight machines, bands or dumbbells can add weight to your workout. You’ll also continue to see metabolism boosts after you return home.

Some gyms are overrated or too understaffed to provide beneficial outcomes. Before deciding on a membership, tour the facility and ask for a trial to see if it feels right. If it doesn’t, then move on to the next facility. 

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