Monthly Archives: May 2016

  1. Road Cycling versus Track Cycling: What's the Big Difference?

    It goes without saying that mountain biking is very different from road cycling, but what about road cycling and track cycling? Both of these forms of bicycling are done on hard surfaces and both use lighter-weight bikes than what you would ever use for mountain biking. Still, road cycling and track cycling are very different sports, with different equipment needs, different strategies, and different benefits. In the most accurate descriptions, track cycling is viewed as an entirely different sport than road cycling?just as road cycling and mountain biking are different pursuits.

     

     

    What Is Track Cycling?

     

    Before we move on to comparing road cycling and track cycling, let's take a closer look at track cycling. Specifically, let's talk about the qualities that define this type of bicycling. The first thing to know about track cycling is that it is, by definition, a racing sport. Many cyclists will take up mountain biking or road biking as a leisurely activity. They'll go for long solo rides on the roads near their house for their daily exercise, or take off into the wilderness as a means of testing their physical strength and endurance.

    Track cycling is a pursuit that you will only get into if you are interested in competition. As a result, it's a rarer form of cycling than either of the others. The explicitly competitive nature of track cycling is not the only reason that it is less common than road cycling or mountain biking. Another reason is the need for facilities. With both road biking and mountain biking, all you need to get involved with the sport is a helmet, the appropriate type of bicycle, and the great outdoors. Track cycling is normally done at indoor facilities with tracks that were built specifically for bicycle racing. These facilities are called velodromes and they feature banked

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  2. The Growing Popularity of Mud Runs and Obstacle Races

    For years, if you told someone you were going to "run a race," that person would likely assume that you were gearing up for a marathon or signed up to run a five or 10-kilometer road race. Nowadays, though, another option is available: mud runs. According to an article published last fall by the USA Today, mud runs?also known as "obstacle races"?have seen so much growth in awareness and interest that they are now "more popular than marathons." The USA Today piece focused on a number American obstacle run events, like the "Tough Mudder," the "Spartan Race," and the "Warrior Dash." These races vary substantially in distance?from about three miles to 26 miles, according to the article?but all have a few things in common: obstacles to be cleared, mud to be crawled through, and other impediments you would never find in the midst of a marathon or traditional road race.

    What Is Obstacle Racing?

     

     

    The definition of "obstacle racing" is, as you might expect, fairly self-explanatory. Competitors have to cover a certain distance as fast as they can, racing against opponents who are also working their way toward the finish line. Like any type of running, there is a specific course with a route that racers must follow from start to finish. Unlike traditional cross country or road racing, the course is littered with physical challenges. What are those "physical challenges"? The answer to that question depends on the race, but it's common for racers to have to get through pools of mud, scale walls, crawl under barbed wire, get over rope obstacles, cross sequences of monkey bars, and more. Some races are more extreme with their obstacles, requiring participants to wade or swim through bodies

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  3. Eight Reasons to Take Up Boxing

    For whatever reason, most people don't think of boxing when they are brainstorming new sports or activities they could pursue. Perhaps it's because on TV, boxing looks brutal, hard-hitting, and dangerous. However, while boxing can be dangerous if taken too far or attempted without proper training, it can also deliver a whole slew of physical and mental benefits. Here are eight good reasons to find the nearest boxing class and sign yourself up! The eight reasons covered within this article are:

    1. Great Way to Keep Fit
    2. Learn Self Defence
    3. Increased Confidence
    4. Opportunity to Express Emotions
    5. Socail Aspects
    6. Clear Thought Under Pressure
    7. Build Discipline
    8. Enhances Coordination

     

    It's a Great Way to Get Fit

    Boxing is not just mindless fighting. On the contrary, the right boxing training regimen can be a terrific path to full-body fitness. Warm-ups, sparring and other in-class exercises will work your upper arm muscles, your lower arm muscles, your shoulder muscles, your chest muscles, and even the muscles in your abdomen and core. Suffice to say that there aren't many athletic pursuits that can deliver the kind of amazing upper body workout that boxing can. One of the best things about boxing is that it also pulls in other types of fitness. Sure, in an actual boxing class, you will spend most of your time stretching, warming up, sparring with a partner, or working on your form in front of a punching bag. With the gloves on, you'll work the aforementioned muscles, boost your upper body strength, improve your endurance, and get your heart beating. Outside of class, though, don't be surprised if your instructor encourages cardiovascular workouts (running, swimming, etc.) or strength training (weightlifting) to keep you in shape, maintain your endurance, and increase your muscular flexibility. These activities will help make you a better boxer, but they'll

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  4. Why It's Important to Combine Both Cardio and Resistance Training

    It used to be that an athlete in a cardiovascular sport was just an athlete in a cardiovascular sport. You were a runner, a tennis player, a swimmer, or a cross-country skier, and those activities made up the vast majority (if not the entirety) of your daily exercise regimen.

     

    What Is Cross Training?

    Nowadays, though, the concept of "cross training" is growing more and more prominent in many parts of the world. The most basic definition of cross training is "training in two or more disciplines." In other words, if you're a runner, you don't just exercise by going for runs every day. Instead, you supplement your running with other fitness activities, like strength training, other cardio activities, or competitive team sports.

    The idea behind cross training is that, by exercising in disciplines beyond their main sport, athletes will be able to boost their performance levels in their primary sports. When you are a runner or swimmer and your only training is running or swimming, you are working the same basic muscle groups every time you exercise. When you cross train, you give yourself the opportunity to work other muscles.

    This process aids your full-body fitness, helps you develop strength and flexibility, and lowers your risk of injury by creating a greater muscular balance throughout your body. In addition, cross training can help to break up the monotony in day-to-day exercising. If you are bored with your usual running route or pool exercise, taking a day off and trying a workout in a completely different discipline can offer a much-needed change of pace.

     

    Pairing Cardio and Strength Training

    One of the most popular cross training combinations pairs cardio and strength training?at least, among some groups. For every athlete who pairs cardiovascular workouts with strength or resistance training, there is probably another who buys into the old myths that cardio and strength

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  5. The Smartest Diet When Training for a Marathon

    Planning for a marathon is about more than just sketching out your workout plan. Indeed, while it is incredibly important to stay on top of a fitness regimen?and to keep ramping up your miles as you get closer to race day?you can still do all the right things, training-wise, and still fall short of your goals during the marathon. How come? Because diet and nutrition matter almost as much as training and fitness when it comes to marathon preparation.

    The Marathon Challenge

    A marathon is a long race. Most people never attempt one, and even the majority of long distance runners view those 26.2 miles as the gold standard of fitness and determination. (Ultramarathons, meanwhile, are reserved for the most daring professional runners.) Finishing a marathon is an immense accomplishment no matter who you are, and that's because it's not an easy. Heck, even for die-hard runners, there's no such thing as an "easy marathon." There are plenty of reasons for why running a marathon is such a challenging athletic pursuit. 26.2 miles is a long way, and at some point, you might find yourself contending with an injury or dealing with dead legs. Physical exhaustion is a major hurdle in any marathon, and your hope will obviously be to become so tough in training that you can stave off physical exhaustion.

    Mental exhaustion is also a factor. With how long a marathon is, you might find yourself just getting bored or disengaged somewhere along the way. Furthermore, while your body is going to suffer fatigue during a marathon, it's your mind that is going to start tossing around the "I can't go on" and "I need to give up" thoughts. However, writing for Shape.com, former Team USA member Heidi Pashman said that the number one reason runners fail to finish marathons is not injury or mental exhaustion. "The number one reason for dropping out of a marathon is gastrointestinal problems,"

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  6. Ranking Swimming Strokes Based on Calorie-Burning Potential

    Swimming is typically thought of as one of the most gentle and relaxing sports. Indeed, thanks to how easy swimming is on the joints, doctors recommend it as the top form of exercise for seniors. However, while swimming can be relaxing, it can also make for an intense cardiovascular workout. If you're using good form and pushing yourself, you can burn calories rapidly in the water. But which swimming stroke is best if your main goal is to get your heart pounding and start burning calories? Different swim strokes use different muscle groups in different capacities, so it's easy to understand why one swim stroke would burn more calories than another. Below, we've ranked the most common swimming strokes based on calorie-burning potential, to help you build a great fat-burning workout in the pool. Do note, however, that the calorie counts provided here are only approximations or estimations and don't necessarily reflect how many calories you will burn during your swim workout. As with any exercise, the number of calories you burn while swimming will depend on several different factors, including your current body weight and the intensity of your workout.

     

    Swimming Strokes and Calories

     

    As you might expect, the swimming strokes that are the most difficult or that tire you out the fastest tend to be the ones that burn the most calories. For the purposes of this ranking, we will start at the top and work our way down the list.

    1. The Butterfly

    If you've ever watched Olympic swimmers doing the butterfly and commented on how hard it looks, you guessed right. Typically labeled the most difficult of all common swim strokes, the butterfly is also the stroke that burns the most calories. With strong technique, the Butterfly can burn 150 calories every 10 minutes and have

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  7. How Exercise Is Vital for the Mind as Well as the Body

    We often think of exercise first and foremost as a way to keep our bodies physically fit. Indeed, taking the time to engage in physical activity each day is vital for losing weight, building toned muscles, maintaining cardiovascular health, or simply keeping the body feeling good. But physical fitness is not the only benefit of daily exercise. On the contrary, exercise can be as vital for the mind as it is for the body. Indeed, exercising can impact your work performance and productivity, your relationships, and even your enjoyment of life in general. How does all of this work? Read on to learn some of the specifics of how exercising can benefit your mental health.There are five key areas of these benefits we are going to explore within this article:

    • Stress Reduction
    • Maintains a Focused Brain
    • Boosts Your Mood
    • Increased Productivity
    • Improves Your Sleep

     

    Exercising Reduces Stress

     

    If you've ever hit the gym after a hard day at work or headed out the door for a long run after finalizing your bills for the month, you aren't the only one. Many people use exercise as a way to get away from the pressures and stressors of day-to-day life and clear their minds. Working up a sweat?regardless of how you do it?can be a great way to channel your frustrations and get rid of your stress in a healthy way. In turn, ridding yourself of stress is something that can help you in almost every facet of your life. High stress can lead to any number of consequences depending on who you are?almost none of them good.

    Some people handle stress by lashing out at friends or family; these angry outbursts can harm your relationships and only hurt your mood further. Others might turn to drugs or alcohol, or go into social withdrawal. Stress can also

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  8. Darts: A Game or a Sport?

    When you're out at a pub, a few beers in and playing a game of darts with your pals, it probably feels like just that: a game. Believe it or not, though, athletics funding organization Sport England actually considers darts a sport. That fact caused a bit of a squabble last year when enthusiasts of the card game bridge launched a court challenge that essentially asked: "If darts is a sport, why isn't bridge?" According to a report from Reuters, the court challenge was spearheaded by the English Bridge Union. In 2014, the English Bridge Union applied to have their favorite card game recognized as a sport by Sport England. That application was denied, leading to the 2015 court challenge where the EBU attempted to determine whether the denial was lawful. The battle between the EBU and Sport England?and, more fundamentally, between bridge and darts?is a great setup for a new take on an old debate. Is darts a sport? And if it is, do the qualities that earn it that distinction also extend to bridge and other card or "table" games? Let's take a look at the points on both sides of the debate.

    Yes, Darts Is a Sportdarts game or sport dartboard

    To start, we'll take a look at the arguments for why darts belongs in the catalog of activities considered as sports, not just by Sport England, but also by other comparable organizations. When Sport England rejected the application for bridge to be considered in 2014, they did so by looking at the core definition of "sport."

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  9. From the Couch to 5K: How to Start Training for Your First Road Race

    Making a pledge to run your first 5K can be a life-changing decision. For many runners, the first 5K road race is a sort of rite of passage. Five kilometers?or 3.1 miles?is the perfect distance for a beginning runner to target as they train for their first race. It's not too long, but long enough to be a test of fitness and endurance. Add the fact that the 5K is perhaps the most common of road race formats, and this type of running event is clearly the perfect starting point for those looking to get off the couch and start running for the first time. While the 5K may be the perfect starting point, though, it certainly won't be easy if you've never put in many miles as a runner. Who knows? Years from now, you could find running five kilometers at race pace the easiest thing in the world. For now, though, expect a bit of a challenge as you take your first steps toward your first finish line.

     

    Getting Started

    You can't get to the finish line of your first 5K race if you never get on your feet and start running. As such, the first step toward getting a race under your belt is to pull on a pair of running shorts, lace up a new pair of running shoes (be sure to invest in something that provides ample support and comfort!), and get out on the road for a workout. Don't be expecting to run Herculean distances right away. Every runner has to start somewhere and it's okay to run just five minutes down the road and then turn around and run back on your first day.

    The most important thing is to keep running. Don't stop and walk, don't despair that you're too slow or too weak, and don't get discouraged and skip days. If you keep at it, run every day, and gradually increase the length and speed of your runs, you will be ready for a 5K before you know it! Your strength, endurance, and speed will increase almost imperceptibly over time

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