Aug 13

Outdoors Adventure with Geocaching

GeocachingIf you’re tired of hiking the same trail or picnicking at the same park, then Geocaching may be exactly what you’re looking for. Geocaching is the high tech version of a treasure hunt. Armed with nothing but a handheld GPS unit and a thirst for excitement, you’re off for new adventures and the likelihood of finding a hidden cache.

Here’s how it works. Geocachers seek out hidden treasures utilizing GPS coordinates posted on the Internet by those hiding the cache. So to geocache, you’ll need a handheld GPS receiver. GPS, which stands for Global Positioning System, is the only system today able to show you your exact position on the Earth anytime, in any weather, anywhere.

GPS satellites, 24 in all, orbit at over 11,000 miles above the Earth. The satellites transmit signals that can be detected by anyone with a GPS receiver. Using the receiver, you can determine your location with great precision. But just as important, you’ll be able to locate other things too, such as a geocache. There are a variety of GPS receiver models to choose from starting at about $100.

Once you’ve got a GPS unit, you’ll need to know where the caches are hidden (hint: they’re everywhere). When a cache is hidden, the cache’s coordinates are submitted to a website for all to see (www.geocaching.com). Enter the coordinates into your GPS and you’re ready to go. There are more than 100,000 caches in over 200 countries.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Armed with a GPS and the coordinates, how tough can it be? In an urban area, easy access is typically available in the way of roads and trails. But what about on a mountain? What if there aren’t roads nearby? It’s entirely possible to be a few hundred feet from something and not be able to reach it such as across a river or two hundred feet below the cliff you’re o.

After you try to find a few caches, you’ll understand a number of the nuances of actually finding the cache. That’s the fun part. Once you find the cache, there are a couple of simple rules. Sign the logbook and if you take something from the cache, be sure to leave something.

But what about placing a cache? That’s fun too. Just be sure to follow the rules as outlined at www.geocaching.com. Once you’re a seasoned geocacher, you’ll try your hand at travel bugs, geo-teaming and benchmark hunting.

If you have only a couple hours to search for a cache, try to find one that is close by. If you have a couple days, take a family trip and make an overnight adventure out of it. Using your GPS along with your sense of adventure, you are bound to spend more time out of doors with people you enjoy. What could be better? Get Outdoors!

Aug 05

Understanding Your Shoulders and Arms Muscles

Shoulders and Arms MusclesBecoming familiar with the muscles that make up your body has more benefits than simply allowing you to talk shop with your training partners. The more familiar you are with the muscles you’re working, the better you’ll be able to judge what’s needed to make improvements.

In this article we’ll get to know the muscles that make up the shoulders and arms. Shoulders and arms work together but they require significantly different exercises to make them bigger and stronger.

The main muscles found in these areas are as follows:

Deltoid – this is comprised of three separate segments that cover the shoulder and run a few inches down the arm. The anterior deltoid raises the arm to the front. The middle deltoid raises the arm to the side. The posterior deltoid draws the arm backwards.

Rotators – these are small muscles of the rotator cuff that control small movements of the upper arm. Consisting of an internal rotator, external rotator and supraspinatus they are used in lifting and throwing actions.

Biceps brachii – the biceps covers the front part of the upper arm and consists of a long head and a short head. The long head crosses the shoulder joint and works with the front deltoid to raise the arm to the front.

Triceps brachii – the triceps covers the the back of the upper arm and consists of three sections – the long, lateral and medial heads. The role of the triceps is to straighten the arm at the elbow.

Brachialis – this muscle lies between the upper arm bone and biceps. It helps the biceps to bend the elbow when the palm is facing sideways.

Forearm muscles – the forearms consist of many little muscles called flexors and extensors. The largest forearm muscle is the brachioradialis that lies close to the elbow.

Jul 27

Staying Healthy Together, Exercising With Your Children

Exercise With ChildrenMaking exercise a priority is a challenge for everyone. And for parents it can be especially difficult to find time to workout because of the full plates that they often juggle. When summer arrives the juggling act becomes even more tricky with children home from school and involved in extracurricular activities.

But, finding time for regular physical activity is so important that it should be a priority placed on your calendar, just like your kids’ softball game. A parent needs to exercise not only for themselves, but also for their kids benefit. It’s important to set a good example.

If your children never see you engage in fitness or if they hear you complain about working out, then they are going to have a negative image of exercise. Let them know that you workout to stay healthy, to be strong and to have more energy and stamina (so you can keep up with them)!

The big question is how to make it a priority that fits in your schedule. Well, it’s actually easier than you may think. With a little planning you can find ways to incorporate workouts into the time you spend with your children. Regardless of what age your children are, there’s a way to find time to workout (often even with your kids)!

Here are some tips that you can use when exercising with your children based on their age.

Age: Infant through pre-school

Fit in exercise time while they are napping. Try a home exercise video, walking or jogging (if you have a treadmill), jumping rope.

Occupy them for even 15 minutes with a video or toy while you do some toning exercises like squats and triceps dips.

Grab your stroller and go for a brisk walk*. Or, buy a jogging stroller for more flexibility. With a jogging stroller you can walk faster, jog or even run at a fast pace. And, for veteran rollerblades, you can even use the stroller for some skating time.

For younger children, you can use a back carrier to transport them while walking. This can burn even more calories as the extra weight makes it more challenging.

Turn on some music and dance together. Toddlers love dancing, especially when their parents joins in.

Push your kid on a swing. And, after every push complete one squat.

Use an infant carrier or bike trailer to enjoy a bike ride together.

Age: Grade School

Try rollerblading or skating together.

Spend an afternoon at a park with a playground, but don’t spend the whole time relaxing on the sidelines – join in on the fun. Spend some time swinging to help workout your legs. Try making it across the monkey bars – even just once (it’s a great upper body workout and you’ll be amazed that your kid does it with such little ease). Try some pull-ups using a bar on the playset. Do some tricep dips on a nearby park bench.

Play catch with a ball or get a small group together for a kickball or softball game.

Make Saturdays family bike outing day.

Involve your kids while you strength train. Let them count your reps out loud for you and/or clock your rest time in-between sets.

For pool outings, don’t just spend time soaking up the sun. Walk back and forth in shallow water while your kids have fun splashing about.

On rainy days that force you inside, walk or run up and down the stairs. You might even make it a contest to see who can finish 5 complete rounds first.

Age: Teenagers

Register for a fun run (or walk) event and spend time together training for the event.

Purchase a family gym membership and workout together weekly.

Play tennis or basketball together.

Consider joining a community volleyball or softball team that includes enthusiasts of all ages.

Don’t just sit and cheer your kids at their sporting events. Every few minutes do some walking or jumping jacks or squats.

Implement a daily family walk each day before or after dinner.

Work together in the yard raking leaves, planting flowers, trimming trees.

 

So, with all the above recommendations, you no longer have the “I’m a parent – I don’t have time to workout” excuse. If you implement these activities for just 30 minutes three times per week, you can easily burn an extra 450 calories or more! Plus, working out sets a great example for your children that will teach them at an early age how important (and easy) it is to make physical fitness a part of daily life. Exercising with your kids also provides the extra bonus of spending quality time together.

Jul 20

Get In Shape in the Fun Way with Inline Skate

Inline SkateInline skating is a fun way to get in shape and stay fit especially on warm sunny days when it’s a lot more enjoyable to exercise outdoors than on a treadmill or exercise bike indoors at the gym. These days most cities have nicely paved paths through parkland, beach and waterfront areas to make your rollerblading experience more enjoyable. Unfortunately depending on where you live, you may not be able to or want to rollerblade all year round.

There are many benefits to be derived from inline skating. It’s much easier and safer on the knees and back than jogging since your legs aren’t taking as much pounding against a hard surface. You don’t have to travel as far as cycling to get maximum benefits. Along with a great cardiovascular workout, blading provides you with a fantastic lower body workout by strengthening and toning your thighs, gluteus, calves and hamstrings. It’s like doing thousands of lunges using your own body weight without even realizing it or getting bored!

You should try to combine blading with strength training exercises with weights such as leg extensions, leg presses and calf raises to name a few. This will ensure that your muscles and bones remain strong and it helps to prevent any possible injuries from occurring.

Warming up

Before you begin inline skating, you may want to do a little bit of light stretching particularly focusing on your thighs and hamstrings. Right now there is debate over whether or not to stretch before exercising. I believe you should do what feels best for you. Also, the first few minutes should be done at a slower pace as a warm up for your muscles.

Safety

Rollerblading is extremely safe once you get proficient at it. Rarely will you fall by yourself. If you do, it’s usually a result of your surroundings. No different than cycling or walking on a sidewalk. To prevent injuries and scrapes, you may wish to purchase elbow, wrist and knee pads plus a helmet.

If you’re new to this sport, I suggest you either borrow a pair from a friend or rent a pair just to try it out, get a feel. When you’re ready to buy a pair there are a few things to look for. If you’re going to buy a really cheap pair I’ll guarantee you that you will not enjoy inline skating. What I suggest that you buy a pair in the mid-price range.

Boots

What should you look for in a pair of inline skates? The obvious being that the boot fits your feet properly in a pair of sports socks. If you feel the boot rubbing against your ankles or your toes rubbing inside the boot, try another pair because ill-fitted boots will result in blisters and sore feet. Just like a badly fitting pair of running shoes.

It will be better if you use laces for the boot with one plastic or Velcro strap at the top and soft boots with plastic heel and bottom moldings for extra support. Soft boots with no plastic molding support usually give way to your ankle over time. Wheels should be in the 76-78mm range. 80mm is too big a wheel for most people. Look for bearings with ABEC 4-5. Most quality inline skates come with ABEC 5 bearings nowadays anyway.

Maintenance

Inline skates are easy to maintain. The wheels need to be rotated every once in a while to prevent uneven wearing out. So if you use them 3 times a week, monthly is fine or take a look for how much wear there is on the wheels. The bearings need to be lubricated too.

You can do it by removing the wheel bearings assembly and wiping the surface of any dirt and then spraying the entire wheel bearing assembly with lubricant. You don’t have to remove the bearings from the assembly casing because usually there is only very little dirt gets in there and it’s a lot of work to completely remove and put it back together again.