Monthly Archives: March 2017

  1. Should You Stick to One Pair of Running Shoes or Rotate Through Several?

    30th March 2017.For runners, nothing is as fundamental to success and comfort as the right running shoe. Regular shoes just don't provide the type of robust support necessary for the foot during running. Prolonged use of shoes that don't cushion the foot from the repeated and rapid impacts of running can eventually lead to the development of injuries. Naturally, you want to stay as comfortable as possible while out on your daily run; preventing an injury is just one part of the equation. When you feel relaxed, and foot discomfort isn?t a distraction, you can power through more miles. How many pairs of running shoes should you have, though? When you initially find a pair that fits perfectly and delivers an excellent running experience, the natural inclination is to stick with that pair till they fall apart. Is that the best method, though? You may have heard some runners advocate using multiple pairs and rotating through them. In this article, we'll put running shoes under the microscope and look at the reasoning behind rotation and whether it's right for you. While adding more shoes to your closet could be a costly expense, it may also lay the groundwork for more success on the race course. First, though, let's think about the valid reasons for sticking with just a single pair.

    The "pros" of sticking with one pair of shoes

    The primary reason not to cycle through several pairs of shoes for many people is a very simple one: the budget. A high-quality pair of running shoes isn't cheap; instead, it can potentially be a relatively large investment in your fitness. For many, the idea of making a second large and discretionary purchase just doesn't square with their budgeting practices. Using one pair until they've worn out and it's time to replace them won't be a problem so long as you keep track of their condition and age. For others, time is a limiting factor. Being picky about your footwear isn't

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  2. Improving Your Swimming Strokes: Breaststroke Edition

    27th March 2017.When you were first learning how to swim, which stroke formed the foundation for your education? If your experience was similar to the one most people have, you learned the breaststroke first. With it's easy to understand movements and ample opportunity for breathing, it's an excellent introduction to the world of swimming. However, the breaststroke also epitomises the phrase "easy to learn, difficult to master." Watching Olympic swimmers compete in the breaststroke highlights what a technical stroke the manoeuvre is in reality. Without the right form, it can be tough to gain or maintain speed. Are you satisfied with the current state of your breaststroke? Even if you are, there's always room for improvement. For those who feel like this is one of their weaker strokes, there are plenty of ways to focus on improving. Today we'll take an in-depth look at the breaststroke, its component elements, and how to effectively adapt your form to achieve faster times. We'll also think about ways you can prepare your body for success through preparations on land. After working on your backstroke and front crawl, improving your breaststroke is the natural next step. So, where should you begin when working out the kinks and improving your form?

    Master the way you position your body in the water

    Perhaps more than any other swimming stroke, the breaststroke requires very careful attention to the position of your body in the water. Without the right form, you will increase the amount of drag on your body substantially. Drag slows you down and wastes your energy while also having an adverse impact on your joints. To avoid putting too much stress on your body, finding the "streamline" position is imperative. This position is where your body is as hydrodynamic as possible, cutting through the water with each

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  3. Parkour: Free Running for Fun and Fitness

    23rd March 2017. Have you ever seen someone running at full speed towards a wall, only to climb straight up and over to continue as though it wasn't an obstacle at all? Even if you've never seen such a feat in person, you've probably seen parkour, also known as free running, in media. It?s a popular modern method of crafting a compelling chase scene, as seen in the opening sequence of the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale. For a free runner, it seems, there are no obstacles, only tools to use in moving forward, upward, or side to side even faster than before. Could you pick up this sport? As a matter of fact, yes ? that's entirely possible. There are plenty of amateur free runners practising in cities and towns all over the world. Should you, though? What kind of an impact would it have on your physical fitness? Today we'll delve into the answers to these questions and more. With its highly athletic requirements, it's clear on the surface that one needs to be quite fit to perform parkour effectively. Before we examine its pros and cons and cover how to begin, though, let's define exactly what we mean when we talk about parkour.

    What is parkour? Free running explained

    In its most basic form, parkour is simply a philosophy of movement: you must get from one point to another, no matter the obstacles in your way, with only the strength of your body. Parkour never involves devices or equipment that can provide assistance with climbing, jumping, or any other movement. Originating from a challenging obstacle course used to train French special forces commandos, parkour comes from the word parcours, which translates to "the path." In parkour, the path you take is what the whole sport is about; it can be as challenging or as easy as one chooses on the fly. Today, there are several "schools" of free running

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  4. A Beginner's Guide to Mountain Biking

    20th March 2017. When the spring weather is at its peak, and the conditions outside are perfect, you have the perfect motivation to find ways to spend as much time outdoors as possible. The whole family should want to seize the opportunity to enjoy the weather and some physical activity too. What about bicycling? While cycling together can be fun, your local area may not have many interesting routes to use. Traffic and other safety issues also come into play. What if you could enjoy the vigorous physical exercise of cycling in a vastly more attractive setting? You and other members of your family can do just that with the exciting sport of mountain biking. Not just a way to change the scenery and reignite your interest in bicycles, it's a thrilling activity, too. Have you ever watched a video of a pro biker tackling a tough course? They can make even the biggest drops look easy to handle. Though you won't need to "catch air" in such an extreme way with your family, even basic trails can provide plenty of excitement. Before we dive into the "hows" of starting to use mountain bikes, though, we should take a quick look at the "whys," too. There are plenty of ways that mountain cycling is good for your body and mind.

    Why choose to ride mountain bike trails at all?

    Cycling around the city can be a very effective way to develop one's fitness. It's easy to ride long distances and institute a regular program. So why switch to mountain biking instead? Setting aside the ways in which it is more fun and exciting, let's look just at the health benefits. First up is the cardio question. Is it more effective for your heart health than riding a touring bike? The answer is yes ? it certainly can be if you ride often enough. Mountain biking requires you to use a much larger group of muscles across your body than a plain old cycle. Just think of how much of the body one must use to "hop" a bicycle over a root

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  5. The Facts About Playing Badminton for Fitness

    16th March 2017.There's no denying that playing sports are some of the most effective ways of improving your personal fitness and physique. One look at just about any professional athlete is all it takes to see the excellent shape in which they keep their bodies. Though not everyone can play on that kind of level, it doesn't mean that all other individuals can't access the health benefits of athleticism. However, choosing the sport that you play for fitness isn't always easy. Do you choose to go for something standard and classic, like soccer, or does something else catch your interest? Perhaps the fast-paced game of badminton, with its shuttlecocks and small racquets, is the game you'd like to play. Is badminton a good fitness activity? It requires lots of speed and agility which is often the result of intensive training. Thus, there are plenty of good reasons to try it out for fitness purposes. Both the game itself and the preparations you'll need to make can help improve your body. However, like all physical activities, it does have some drawbacks as well. Let's look at the "pros and cons" of picking up badminton for fitness, plus a few pointers on how you could find your start in the sport.

    The major health benefits of playing badminton

    If you've ever played in a game of badminton or even a match of tennis, then you know you're often out of breath by the time someone scores the final point. The level of physical exertion should give you a hint towards one of the first major benefits to playing this sport: it's simply excellent for your cardiovascular health. As you dart to and from the net chasing the shuttlecock, you'll need lots of quick bursts of energy. That puts intense demands on your lungs and heart. Over time, it can help you improve your stamina and ability to play for long periods of time. If you find yourself easily winded as a beginner, though, we'll discuss how you can hit

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  6. Walking Football: An Excellent Sport for Senior Health and More

    13th March 2017.Is there a clearer expression of the human body's incredible abilities than watching young athletes in their prime compete for the top spots in their respective sports? When our bodies are young, many of us turn to sports to exercise, have fun, and connect with our peers. Why should sport remain the domain of the young solely, though? As we get older, many of the rigorous sporting tasks we tackled with ease in our youth have become more difficult. Without the competitive aspect and the drive to improve and be better, many people drift away from sports as they age. That might even lead to an abandonment of regular exercise altogether. It doesn't have to be that way, though, and indeed it shouldn't ? after all, exercise is important throughout our lifetimes. While age can slow us down, it shouldn't knock us out of the game entirely. That idea is the driving force between a game that's growing in popularity in many places: walking football. At its most basic, it's a version of the game of football we all know and love but tweaked to slow down the pace of play. How exactly does it work, and where is it finding popularity? Let's look at the answers to these questions, plus the health benefits participants of walking football can enjoy.

    How walking football works

    The good news when it comes to learning walking football is that it does not differ significantly from its parent sport. Typically played in games with five players to a side, walking football can accommodate up to seven a side in normal play. The name of the game has already given away the key difference that sets it apart, though: throughout the entire match, the rules allow for absolutely no player to run. Not the goaltender, not a striker, not a defender ? no running, period! The game's rules state that one foot must always be on the ground. You play the entire game at a walk, which while sometimes brisk, does not carry

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  7. Developing and Improving Your Swimming Strokes: Backstroke Edition

    9th March 2017. Every swimmer knows that while grasping the basics of the pool is easy, mastering the more technical ways to move through the water is difficult. There's a reason Olympic swimmers spend many hours a week in the pool, after all; there's a lot to practice to compete on a global level. For swimmers who hop in the water for their health or as part of a smaller competitive scene, though, the same need to develop exists ? albeit on a smaller scale. Improving your swimming strokes will not only enable you to exercise more efficiently, but it will also make the entire activity more enjoyable as well. Today let's focus in on one of the more technically challenging moves: the backstroke. The freestyle and the breaststroke take practice to get the movements right, but at least you can see where you're going! With the backstroke, the entire process can take some adjustment before you feel comfortable. Many swimmers struggle to execute a technically proficient backstroke. In fact, you might waste tonnes of energy and effort every swim session if you haven't worked on your backstroke in a while. Let's look at how you should approach this difficult manoeuvre and what you can practice to improve your abilities.

    Perfect the positioning of your head and legs

    For many of the other swim strokes, athletes must concentrate primarily on the way they move their body, not where it is in the water. With the backstroke, however, the situation is different. If you don't have good posture in the water, you'll find it's hard to stay afloat and even harder to breathe comfortably. Bad posture is one area where many swimmers struggle when first tackling the backstroke. One would think it's simply a matter of pushing off and staying on your back. However, proper form involves pushing back against some of your body's natural instincts. Without the ability to see where you're going, your inclination is to tilt

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  8. Outdoor Gyms - Will One Pop Up Near You in 2017?

    6th March 2017.Think back to when you were a child; what was one of your favourite activities to engage in outdoors? If you were like most children, the answer likely involves an outdoor playground or park with lots of brightly coloured equipment. These objects challenged your spatial reasoning and the ability to navigate them with your body. Not just an excellent way for children to exercise, playgrounds are just good plain old fun for all involved. As an adult, do you ever wish that you could recapture that feeling from your youth? Exercising can be a difficult slog, and much of the gym equipment we see isn't very visually inspiring. Soon, though, you might be able to head outside into your local community for a playground-like experience perfect for adults. More and more municipalities are now looking to install "outdoor gyms." At first, it might sound counter-intuitive ? how could you put all of the equipment and objects in a gym outside? The reality is a little simpler than that. However, the outdoor gyms popping up everywhere offer much to those who avail themselves of their equipment. Let's take a closer look at what these outdoor spaces are, what you'll find there, and how to make use of them. We'll even touch on the specific benefits, too, because moving your fitness routine outdoors can be a chance for significant positive change.

    What is an outdoor gym, and where can you find one?

    At first glance, an outdoor gym might look just like a child's playground. There's often a cleared area, covered with mulch or a rubber surface made from recycled tyres. On top of that surface is a host of Outdoor Gyms Bright Equipmentequipment, often painted in bright colours such as red or yellow. On a closer examination, though,

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  9. The Many Kinds of Races for Runners of All Ability Levels

    2nd March 2017.For many runners, the solitude of their daily run is a chance to find some inner peace and focus on improving their abilities. However, over time, that isolation can become less of a solace and more of a stumbling block to success. Without some social component or a major goal to strive towards, it is all too easy for running to become monotonous and boring. That's a recipe for "burnout" and subsequently falling out of your routine. Even for runners whose skills are still at the beginner stage, this can be a major issue. So, what's a good solution for confronting this problem directly? Why not try the obvious solution, and enter a race? "I'm not ready for a race, though," you might say. That's not necessarily true; there are races available for runners across all skill levels. You may not even have to adjust your training regimen much to work up to competing in a 5k, for example. There are other, less strenuous options available as well. For the journeyman runner, though, there are also plenty of challenges to try. Let's consider all the various options out there and discuss which races are ideal for runners at different points in their development. We'll begin with the plain old 5k.

    Put your progress to the test in a 5k

    Even for beginner runners, accomplishing a 5k is well within your grasp. Consider this: even if you're just starting out and only running a mile at a time, a 5k only tacks on two more miles. In other words, with a couple of months of regular training, you can be ready to run any 5k out there. It's an ideal race for beginners, but it offers a good way for veterans to stay in the racing spirit between longer outings, too. Perhaps best of all, training for a 5k and participating in one carries a smaller risk of a fitness-related injury, simply because you don't need to train as hard or run as far as one does for a half-marathon or more. The vast variety of 5ks

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