Sunday, October 30, 2011

Get in Shape by Being a Kid Again

Want to be in great shape without having to go to a gym all the time or run miles upon miles?  Why not try being a kid again.  Run, swim, climb, bike, jump (play leap frog, jump rope, hop scotch), join a sport, and choose the right drink (more on this later)...

I know you may think I'm crazy, but hear me out on this one:
  • Running:
    Naturally, this is my favorite.  But I'm actually not talking about long distance running.  I'm talking about short sprints like when playing tag, Ultimate Frisbee, running away from the girls or boys who we all knew at a young age had cooties.  Sprinting is a great exercise for working your anaerobic system and giving you a fat torching workout.  Next time you're at the park with your kids or your significant a game of tag, or race to the will be fun.
  • Swimming:
    Have you ever seen a kid near a lake or ocean, who didn't want to swim?  Swimming is a great way to get exercise with very little impact.  It also works your entire body which is great too! 
  • Climbing:
    Kids are natural climbers.  They want to climb trees, rocks, etc...  Climbing causes you to use a variety of skills and senses.  Looking for the place to grab or place your foot, feeling for grooves that will provide a grip, pushing off with your legs, pulling up with your arms, etc...  It's an amazing way to use muscles that you may not use that often.  Next time you're at a park, release your inner monkey and climb a tree.
  • Biking
    Remember as kid when you got the new baseball card, or wanted to head to a friends house.  Did you walk?  Nah...You hopped on your bike so you could get there in record time.  Biking is great exercise and in fact, there are tons of debates on Biking v.s. Running: Which is better?  Personally, I think it's an individual's preference.  Next time you have to go to the bank or the store down the street - go green and get some exercise by riding your bike.
  • Jumping
    Jump rope, leap frog, hopscotch...all are very fun and very exhausting.  If you watch late night infomercials, you will no doubt hear the word "Plyometrics" or "jump training".  Guess don't need to be a personal trainer to know this is a good workout.  Kid's have known forever!
  • Team Sports
    Do you love watching basketball, baseball, or some other sport on T.V.?  Why not participate.  There are so many ways to play team sports - even as an adult.  Join a group at the Y, join an adult Soccer or softball league, or any of a dozen other sports.
  • Best Recovery Drink
    As a kid, I hated milk, but absolutely loved chocolate milk.  It's funny, because at my kid's elementary school, some teachers frown on the kids getting chocolate milk.  I think they are just focusing on the word chocolate.

    As a matter fact, 1% low fat chocolate milk is considered to be the best recovery drink after a tough workout (or recess...) because it has everything the body needs: It replaces liquids which the body has lost due to sweating, has carbs which an athlete needs for fuel, has protein which repairs muscles, and has electrolytes.  Mooove over Gatorade - there's a new sports drink in town!
There are many other ways not mentioned here, but rather than list them all - just observe kids and see what they do.  You'll have a blast and never realize you're exercising!

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Trail Running in the Fall

    I absolutely love running on trails, especially in the fall.  Going around a lake with the leaves changing colors and breathing in that crisp cool air is just so invigorating.  However, there are some hazards to be aware of when trail running in the fall.

    Fall is hunting season in many places.  Make sure to wear bright colors when running.  This way, you are not mistaken for whatever is in season.  If you don't have bright colors, whistle while you run, sing a song, talk to something - so it's clear you are not an animal.

    Fall is also when the leaves are...well...falling.  While it sure looks pretty, the leaves obscure things on the trail such as rocks, roots, stumps, etc...  These can all be tripping hazards, so make sure to shorten your stride and be alert.  If you do find yourself falling, look toward a soft patch.  We tend to go where we are looking...even when falling.  By focusing on the rock or stump, you will actually tend to fall toward it.  Look away and aim for the soft patch!

    Hopefully this helps.  Get out there and enjoy the leaves!

    Happy trails!

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