Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.


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Move and learn this month

Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Gwad, it’s already September! Soon it’ll be cookie-eating season, the rain will be back and because of all those cookies and our fear of melting in the cold wet air our fancy holiday attire might not fit. Ugh….what ever will we do?

Well, you can be sure I’ll come up with some ideas to keep us looking svelte, your task is to take my advice.

As you know, September is the month students return to school. With that, I suggest we follow tradition and learn something new ourselves. At least get some culture as we exercise and make an effort to learn, and experience something new.

Here are a few ways you can move, learn and experience all at the same time:

Parking Day — Ever hear of it? PARK(ing) Day is an annual, worldwide event that invites citizens everywhere to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks for the public good. The idea is to promote the need for more open space within our cities. It’s creative, green and inspiring, get a map and go for a walk or cycle to check ‘em out. Parking day is Friday, September 16th.

Presidio Habitats — If you’re in The Bay Area you need to check out the Presidio Habitats walk. It goes away at the end of September so this is your last chance. What is it? – It’s an art exhibition celebrating the wild Presidio. 25 pieces of sculpture are scattered around the Presidio mixed in with the plants and wild life. It’s very cool and a great way to get some exercise along with a little culture and history mixed in. Get a map and go!

Look up — Generally as we walk around we see only what’s at eye level. When was the last time you stopped and looked up? We’re missing the best parts of old buildings by not looking up. The top of a building is like the decoration on the top of a cake. An Architects’ signature is the top of his building. The next time you’re walking around, make an effort to look up, not just once but often. You’ll be amazed at all the beauty up there.

That should get you started. I hope you get the idea, move and learn is your challenge. Have at it!

Happy 3-day weekend!


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Learn from Aunt Kelley

Banana Slugger

This is going to be a short lesson today because I can’t really type. It’s a long story but basically I burned the top of my hand really badly (second degree style). Then, I went hunting for Banana Slugs with my nephew and let a couple of slugs crawl on my charred hand, getting really dirty and slimy. The next day I went swimming in the kinda gunky Russian River and, lo and behold I woke up this morning with a hand so swollen it’s close to twice the size of the other one. Not a pretty sight as you can imagine.  With that, I’ve spent much of today freaking out in one way or another while watching doctors marvel at the mess I made of myself.

Anyway, looking back at the events of the last few days it seems pretty clear where I went wrong, but at the time I was having too much fun to worry about something that “might happen.” The lesson for today is don’t be a dumbass like me, be respectful of your body when you wound it. You can really mess yourself up. Take my word for it, or if you like I’ll send you a photo of my oozing elephant hand (that may never be the same again because of my stupidity).

Have a good weekend! I’ll be back Monday with something more chipper (unless my hand explodes).


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The coolest thing to hit two wheels

Stop!

If you know me, you know that I’m an absolute snob when it comes to bicycle handling skills and simple road etiquette. Having been somewhat of a damn good cyclist in a former life, I’ve seen the good and the bad side of folks on bikes. In fact, my nickname used to be The Bike Nazi. Why? Because I have zero patience or respect for folks exhibiting poor, or unsafe bike handling skills or simple etiquette.

While bicycle handling and etiquette are each very large issues, one of the most concerning is the lack of respect for the common stop sign. Declining to stop when required is not only a safety issue but an unfortunate missed opportunity to practice ones handling skills (trackstand, getting in and out of pedals…) and the building of fast twitch muscle fibers (they help you sprint & move quickly).

Rather than going any further, I suggest that you read the article below. I’ve lifted it from Katie Kelly at MillValleyPatch.com. Katie has captured my personal thoughts re: the stop sign issue perfectly. We ask that you read it and spread the word.

Stop! Braking news!
How the coolest thing to hit two wheels is likely already at your fingertips.

It’s a growing cycling fashion statement, a training tool, and an indicator of riding prowess. No, it’s not the latest GPS device or power meter. It’s stopping for red lights and stop signs.

It’s all the rage, and all the cool kids are doing it, from national championship winning bike racers to downhillers to commuters. What may have started as a countywide crackdown against red light runners is evolving into a habit that quickly differentiates between Marin locals and those passing through, the experienced and those trying to show off. The difference? The experienced, skilled crowd stops for stop signs.

And it’s not just cops sending the message.

“I confess, I used to do it,” says Sean Fekete, of San Rafael, of yesterday’s trend of rolling through stop signs. “I’m cruising along, don’t want to stop and then start again.”

Today, whether riding after work on a fixed gear or blazing down a mountain on his downhill bike, stopping for stop signs has become part of Fekete’s regular riding style.

Why the change?

“I was riding a lot with a bike racer, and she was stopping at all the signs, so I just did it because she was,” says Fekete. “Later, I was working with a local coach, and his rule was that if you ran stop signs or red lights, he wouldn’t work with you.”

Fekete is just one of a growing number of Marin locals who feel intense annoyance at those who don’t stop.

“It’s lazy and disrespectful,” he says. “If you want to ride without having to stop, enter a race. Why give pedestrians and motorists even more reason to hate us?”

“I see people blowing stops signs so often now,” says multi-masters track national champion Pete Billington, also of San Rafael. “It is really frustrating when the same people complain about cars not respecting bicyclists.”

What sign running cyclists don’t realize is that not only do they stand out to the crowd as either inexperienced or dangerous, they’re missing out on a valuable muscle defining training tool.

“Stopping at stop signs really is a good opportunity to develop strong core muscles and even sprinting technique,” says Billington. “The tendency to swing the bike from side to side during a sprint is just wasted energy and practicing hip drive and forward acceleration is critical to developing top speed.”

Throw that at the next newbie who screams “On your left!” at the next stop sign.

How to Stop for Stop Signs

We asked Officer Paul Stromoski of the Ross Police Department what exactly cops are looking for when it comes to stopping for stop signs. You may find yourself surprised at how easy it is.

1. You don’t have to put a foot down. Come to a complete stop, yes, but it’s okay to stop for a split second, and then continue on. “Nowhere in the California Vehicle Code does it say cyclists have to put a foot down,” says Stromoski. But if you’re unable to maintain a track stand (balancing your bike at a complete stop), then obviously, you should, especially in a situation as described in Tip #2.

2. Give motorists and pedestrians who were at the intersection before you the right of way. This is Driver’s Ed 101, and yes, it applies to cyclists. Yield the right of way to those who rightfully have it and you may suddenly find your self within an intersection of allies. Who wouldn’t want that?

3. Cops want to see you physically turning your head to look in all directions. “You might think a peripheral look from the corner of an eye is enough,” says Officer Stromoski. “But we’re looking to see your helmet actually moving. It’s the only way we know you’re really looking.”

These are three tips that can spare you from expensive traffic fines or from drawing attention to yourself as an absolute novice. They could even save your life. And who knows? They may even help you get to the podium.

P.s. Thanks Mo, for bringing this article to my attention.
P.s.s. Thanks Katie, for sharing your words.


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Watercress, really?

Watercress

I find it amusing that things that have been around forever, all the sudden become popular. Like they were just discovered or something.

Watercress is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by human beings. Strangely, it seems to be the current “wow look at this” item of discussion.  The reason: watercress is one of the five vegetables highest in nutrient content per calorie. It’s believed that getting the most nutrients in the fewest calories, is the recipe for disease prevention, reversal, and permanent weight loss. It seems kind of obvious but maybe not something we think about on a daily basis?

With that, I decided to find out what the deal is with watercress. I learned quite a few things, here is what I found the most interesting:

  • The Basics — Watercress can often be found in the wild, in and around streams and cool running water. It is a member of the mustard family, has small, crisp, dark green leaves. Its pungent flavor is slightly bitter and has a peppery snap. Choose crisp leaves with deep, vibrant color. Store it in the frig.
  • Yo’ eyes — Watercress contains among other things, Lutien in very high levels. Lutein acts like sunscreen for the eyes (that’s kind of cool, since regular sunscreen burns when you get it in your eyes).
  • Energy & Metabolism — A generous dose of iodine is found in watercress. Iodine helps make the thyroid hormones that regulate your metabolism.
  • Water weight — Watercress is 93% water, and provides some protein (veggies containing protein are a bonus!).
  • More than you think — Watercress has more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than an orange and more absorbable iron than spinach (that’s impressive).
  • The list goes on — Basically watercress is loaded with everything your body needs to live longer and live better. It’s full of, many nutrients with antioxidant effects, and phytochemicals including different carotenoids. If you’d like the complete nutritional lowdown you’ll find it here.

That should be enough info to get you started. The next time you see watercress in the market, pick up a bunch and give it a try. It’s all the rage!

P.s. The other veggies highest in nutrient to calorie ratio are kale, collard, mustard and turnip greens.
P.s.s. Check here for some pretty yummy sounding watercress recipes.


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Turkish Getups


Want an exercise that will work your entire body? Here it is, watch the video.

If you don’t have a weight, use a soup can or filled water bottle. Remember to keep your arm up in the air and your eyes looking up at your hand.

Do 10 – 15 reps each arm or the best you can and work up to 10-15, you may skip the weight if you absolutely have to. Add this exercise to your fitness routine once a week. It will improve your all around strength, balance and coordination.


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Do U have what it takes 2B a Warrior?


Last month my friend Dawn participated in her first Warrior Dash. What’s a Warrior Dash? According to their website it’s a, mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from hell. It’s a fierce running series held on the most challenging and rugged terrain across the globe. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits and then celebrate (with beer and “gargantuan” roasted turkey legs). Sounds like hella fun if you ask me! Dawn thought so too, which is why she and her friend Tiffany donned their old running shoes (you did wear old shoes right Dawn?) and bucked up for what sounds like a death deifying challenge.

Rather than foolishly attempting to explain Dawns’ race I ask you watch the short video above. It’s taken via a GoPro video camera that her husband Mark Brent strapped to her chest. Thanks to Mark (and Dawn) you get to experience the whole event at high speed. It looks really fun!

In the end Dawn had a great time. She says, “It was a little scary leaping over roaring fire, but EMT’s were close by, just incase…” She adds “The most challenging part was trying to untie our mud-caked shoe laces afterwards, all in all, what better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon – got a great workout, caught up with an old friend, and got to share it with you all!  Oh, and the bonus – free body mud!”

Watch Dawns’ video! After that, you might actually consider signing up for an event like this yourself. They’re held all over the country. There’s one scheduled for the Bay Area in late October, which I’ll be participating in (can’t let Dawn have all the fun!). Let me know if you want to join the fun, we’ll be training for this event in all my classes starting next week!

P.s. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Dawn! You’re an inspiration! Wish you were here…

P.s.s. If you live in Seattle, check Dawn out. She’s at The Exercise Space. I can vouch for her, she has great taste in friends.


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Get outa the road!

I am George... go around me

This is George, George gets tired sometimes and when he does, he stops in his tracks and lays down. It’s pretty funny, but that’s because George is a dog with an impressive attitude.

It’s a little different for the rest of us, we’re expected to be a bit more mindful and to stay out of the way of things that might run us over or need to get past us. I bring this up because living in the middle of a tourist, and outdoor-life mecca I often risk my life (become annoyed) trying to get from one place to another either on my bike, running or walking.

We’ve all experienced it, folks walking or riding along in front of us only to stop dead in their tracks when they simply feel the urge. Never mind that you were right behind them.  My grandmother once fell down an escalator because some dork stepped off the moving contraption at the top but then just stood there. Granny had no place to go but down. After that Granny never got on an escalator again.

My favorite maneuver is the dude that blows past you on his bike or on foot only to slow down once ahead because he just used all his energy to pass. Now you’re forced to get around him. Even better are the hordes of people (not always tourists!) perched on bikes that like to stop in packs blocking the road or even in an intersection. WTF is that?  Get out of the road dummies! Oh… and getting a flat tire on your bike is no excuse to block the path. Find a safe place and move out-of-the-way of anything and everyone that may be headed toward you!

Consider this a friendly reminder. Be smart, be responsible and respect thy fellow public. Okay?