Tips for the Beginner Snorkeler

  • First, be aware of the elements. Check the weather before you go out just in case something new has begun brewing. This is very important especially if you are planning on going quite a distance off shore. The weather can change quickly so be prepared if it does. Know the currents. If the waves look rough and the water isn’t clear then don’t go in. Ask locals if they know of spots that are better than others, look for flags and signs that direct you to areas that are considered safe for swimming and snorkeling. Look for lifeguards on duty or go out with reputable snorkeling companies who will put your safety first.
  • Second, select a location worth seeing! If you don’t do your research and just grab your snorkel gear and go you might just see sand, for miles leaving you wondering what the hype is all about. Be sure to select a location full of life making it a jaw dropping experience, but don’t lose your snorkel. A coral reef will offer you a plethora of colors and countless fish, manta rays, turtles, moray and other exotic creatures depending on the location. Now that is the kind of sightseeing to write home about. You don’t have to go to a reef to find interesting underwater adventures though. Some other ideas are shipwrecks that have great stories, locations where your favorite marine animals swim and beaches that have a trademark like shark teeth hiding throughout the sand.
  • Last, be good to yourself and the ecosystem. You need to make sure you are well hydrated and are wearing proper sunscreen. Some sunscreens are harmful to the marine ecosystem, especially the coral reef, so be sure to use eco/marine safe or biodegradable sunscreen which is now becoming a requirement for some countries like Mexico. Make sure your equipment fits good and isn’t bothersome while you are trying to enjoy your adventure. Be sure not to touch the animals, as safety for them and you, and remember not to stand on the coral reef as it is living too. Unfortunately, much of the reef has been dying due to people not knowing or caring enough to change their actions.

Marathon Addict

Ever since the first marathon was run in Greece many, many moons ago, man has had a fascination with running the marathon. In honor of the marathon, there are some very famous marathons that everyone in world would love to run. We know of New York, Boston and London. Every year thousands upon thousands of runners and walkers descend on the streets of these great cities to “give it a go”. With much fanfare, emotional, elation, exuberance and cheering they trudge along, drinking, sipping and chewing on energy foods and snacks to propel themselves to the finish line.

At the finish line, promises are made such as “never again”, “I am crazy”, to “what was I thinking”. Hours later, with adrenaline gone, giving way to lactic acid filled legs a runners thoughts turn to “well maybe one more time”. You see, the marathon is like a drug. It pulls you in, you experience a high and a low, and then it has you. After a few weeks, the mind starts saying “I have to have another”. It’s got you.

Back on the roads, along with the others you trudge along. Cold mornings, hot days, you keep running and running never giving up. Not even an injury can stop you. In the gym lifting weights, swimming or cycling, “got to keep the heart rate up”. Cannot let a little injury stop you from your fate. There are medals to be won, and pictures to be taken. On and on you go. With no end in sight you churn up the roads, trails and sometimes even the track for some speed work.

At last it’s that day, the day you have been waiting for since you last had a taste, a taste of the marathon. Gun goes off, and everyone dashes, pushes and shoves, “got to get into my stride”. Along and along we all go, miles after mile we keep pushing. The end is in sight legs feel strong, “maybe a little faster, could break that PR”.

There it is the finish line, glorious finish line, medals, pictures, adoration, and Gatorade. You have done it, completed another marathon, and dare I say welcome to the club, the club of marathon addicts.

Strides

The problem is that we tend to think of doing something like 400 meter repeats as fast as we can when we think of speed work. I was guilty of this myself a few years ago when I decided to start doing workouts on the track for the first time in over 10 years. In my mind I still felt like I was in college and should be doing the same sort of track workouts I did back then, my body however did not feel the same way. So I started out with two speed sessions a week of repeat 800’s and 400’s. By the end of the third week I had to quit doing speed work and cut way back on my mileage for about a month to get rid of all the new aches and pains I had.

One of the best (and most overlooked) ways to introduce speed work into your training is with strides. Strides are usually around 100 meters in length. They are broken into three sections; the first section is used to accelerate. During this portion you gradually build your speed so that at the start of the second section you hit your top speed. This isn’t necessarily an all out sprint but rather a controlled fast pace. You then hold this pace for the second portion of the stride. The final section is for slowly easing back down to either a walk or slow jog. Personally, when I do strides I like to do them on the straightaway on a track or barefoot on the infield. That way I can use the markings on the football field to designate the different sections of each stride. I go from goal line to goal line with the first 30 yards being the acceleration phase and then I hold my top speed for the next 40 yards and then gradually slow down over the final 30 yards.

The great thing about strides is that they can be worked into just about any type of run. Often times people like to do them after they have completed a normal easy run. However, they can also be done in the middle of a run. When I run from my house there really isn’t a good spot for doing strides in my neighborhood after I finish my run. So what I will do is plan my run so that at some point I pass by a track where I do several laps of jogging the curves and striding the straights. Basically, strides can be done anywhere you find room to safely do about 15 seconds of faster paced running. I would recommend trying to do your strides on a softer surface (grass, dirt, a track, etc.) if at all possible and as with any sort of speed work, always be sure and do a good warm-up first. One other way of doing strides that I have found to be fun change of pace is to do them up hill. If you are doing strides up hill just go for time instead of distance. Find fairly steep hill and do about a 15 second stride up the hill. You can then walk back down for your recovery. This is a great way to build strength in your legs.

When doing strides the most important thing to focus on is your form. You want to work on running fast but relaxed. Also, make sure you are not over striding. Your foot should be landing directly under your body, not out in front. For me it always feels a bit awkward the first few times I do strides after not doing any speed work for a while. But if you keep at it and pay attention to your form eventually it will start to feel comfortable.

Run to Slim Up

Yes! It’s true if that’s what you have to do. It’s what you have to do to keep from missing any days of running. Because if to slim-up is your goal then this is just what you want to do. Everyone’s body makeup will vary, but I would say it takes four to five days a week of running to keep the gut off! And you will have to work your way up to between two to three miles a day for each run. This kind of schedule should allow you to eat just about anything you want to eat. It’s the size of your portions you have to watch out for.

There is one thing about running that doesn’t last. If you start missing more than four days in a row you will start to lose your slim-up fitness you have acquired from the act of running. What did I do over the last twenty years if I couldn’t run? You can park your car further away from the store. You can run back and forth to the car. You can get up early and run before you go to work. Your creative self will come shining through!

Sometimes you may have to run at lunch time instead of eating lunch. I do see if you’re one who likes to go to a fitness center. You may not always have time for that. Most of my runs would always start and finish at the front door. You might call this time management! I can see if you do not live in a community where you may not be able to run outside. Some of my most favorable running days were when we lived by a park where there were ten square miles of running trails. We didn’t move so I could keep my running grounds.

You just have to give it some thought. To have little chance of a cold or a flue means a lot. To many most likely to not die from a cardiovascular disease, this means a lot too! If your goal is to slim-up and work you daily runs in if you have little time, this all will mean a lot too! I hope this gives you some slim-up ideas from the guy that runs!

Dangers Associated With Scuba Diving

  • The Bends/Decompression Sickness – Decompression sickness is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Divers need to pay close attention when ascending because of the body’s absorption of nitrogen. If a diver does not take the adequate time to release the nitrogen, build up an assortment of issues can arise. A diver with decompression sickness can experience a skin rash, aching joints, paralysis and in extreme cases, death.
  • Barotrauma – If someone suffers from barotrauma, he or she has damaged their inner ear because they have not kept themselves equalized. Preventing damage to the inner ear courtesy of underwater pressure is done a few ways. The most common things divers do is pinching their nose shut and blowing. Other options include swallowing or chewing, both options force air into the middle ear.
  • Sea Creatures – Scuba divers need to remember one factor, as beautiful and as interesting as sea creatures and sea life are, they do pose potential threats. Scuba divers need to stay alert and not touch things or get to close to dangerous sea creatures. Sharks, stingrays, and other creatures pose potential risks if not respected.
  • Malfunctioning equipment – Whether you own or rent diving equipment it is essential to give it a thorough check before heading to the water.

Decompression sickness can occur if a depth gauge is broken. If there are issues with a regulator is it possible for the scuba diver to drown. Never rent, or use, scuba gear that appears faulty in any way. Using suspect gear could lead to sickness or death.

Passion of Ice Skating

I will never forget that day because up until that point I had never witnessed a jump like that up close and in person. I had only seen ice skating on television, where professional figure skaters seemed to execute jumps effortlessly, almost as if they were just dancing, and not barreling down the ice rink at 20 miles per hour. And, I have to tell you that nothing prepares you to see that kind of power and speed up close. What I also remember is that I saw David’s skates at almost eye level as they reached the top of the boards that day- nearly 4 feet off the ground! That’s what I call flying!

At that rink, I got to see a lot of great skating like that all the time. It was my new home rink and I was still an amateur skater, just getting to know the sport. Seeing the raw power of that jump, and the perfect landing made me want learn how to jump and spin and do all those tricks that I saw the other skaters do, and I became determined to do what David did that day…

But my skating career began much earlier, when I was about 9 years old. It all started one summer when my mom asked me if I wanted to take up a hobby for the summer. She introduced to me the idea of either learning how to roller skate or ice skate because she thought a hobby with an exercise aspect would be good for my health. Initially, I thought about roller blading, but the streets around our house were uneven, and had plenty of cracks, which made it difficult to roller blade, so I chose ice skating because there was an ice rink close to our house. It was that simple!

I returned to the sport at age 21, and since then, I’ve learned many spins and many jumps and all the moves in between. And yes… I even the flip that I saw David perform that fateful day. Over the years I took on new elements, practiced them, took quite a few falls, got back up and finally mastered them.

I’ll tell you, there is no greater feeling in the world than learning how to spin so fast that it feels like you’re floating above the ice, or the brief weightlessness you feel when executing a jump – it’s almost like flying. And learning how to control your edges, how to stick the landing and move through footwork as though it were a melody played out before you. It took years to master some of these moves but they have been the best years of my life, because I didn’t just learn the physical moves, but gained the confidence that comes with mastering difficult physical routines!

In addition to learning elements, I learned some other things along the way too like discipline and perseverance, attention to detail and grace, strength, and confidence – all of which have served me well on and off the ice. I spent many hours at the rink drilling and working hard on my elements and I did this as often as possible not because someone told me to, but because I loved it! I even went so far as to take gymnastics and dance lessons in order to improve body awareness and grace, and I cross trained off the ice so that I could become strong and confident. All of this spilled over into other aspects of my life and created the person I am today.

I should mention that I did almost all of my skating as an adult. I realize ice skating as a sport can be intimidating, especially for adults, but regardless of your age, you can participate at any level you want to. And the best part of learning ice skating as an adult is that you get to choose how often you engage in this amazing sport. You can simply do it once a week, recreationally, and just have fun, or you could do it every day if you wanted to for an amazing exercise routine.

Another great aspect is that there isn’t a learning barrier. You could take lessons from a professional trainer, or simply get a learn-to-skate program and practice on your own, at your own pace and comfort level. The most important thing for adults to realize is that anyone can learn (women and men) and no one is too old! During my years, I’ve met all ages and people from all walks of life on the ice and have formed great friendships and come to realize that anyone can learn how to skate!

I have been teaching skating for over 15 years now and I love passing on the passion of this amazing sport! Come join me on the ice, and let me share the joys and personal development it can bring into your life!

Recreational Running

Recreational running has also become a great social activity in our society today. Everyone who has incorporated it in their lifestyle knows the health benefits associated with it. Due to the increased number of people currently engaging in fun running, there are now more cases of running related injuries than there were few years back. I get asked all the time how one can deal with these injuries and since every case is different we are going to look at general ways to avoid or manage running related injuries.

Build your mileage gradually

It is human nature to try and accomplish as much as possible in life within a short time. For running unfortunately, doing too much too soon will only hurt you and discourage you from pursuing your favorite sport. This mainly applies to beginners more than advanced runners. It is important to remember that your body has to adjust to accommodate the any increased physical stress and it can only do so gradually. An increment of around 10 percent of your weekly mileage is enough after every 3 to 6 weeks. In other words, if you are doing 15 miles per week and you want to increase your mileage, you do not need to go past 16.5 miles per week. Bear in mind that your body will need up to 4 weeks to accommodate the increase comfortably.

Avoid running on hard surfaces

Most injuries associated with running are as a result of running on hard surfaces. I am sure there are trails or parks almost every location and making good use of them is paramount. If you like running along paved surfaces, at least make an effort to run on grass or dirt roads or trails once or twice every week. A good time is when you are doing one of your longer runs; it is refreshing to your legs. It is also important to avoid uneven surfaces as these may mess up the alignment of your body especially your legs and back.

Choose the right running shoe

I cannot stress this enough, but the condition of your running shoe greatly determines the number, type and frequency of running related injuries in your running pursuits. In other words, if you choose the wrong shoe type for your feet, the chances are that you be hurt even if the shoes are new. Sometimes you may have the right type of running shoe, but you have exceeded the mileage requirement for the shoe. If you are a beginner and you are not sure what type of running shoe to buy, get advice from running shoe expert or your trainer or more experienced runners. Avoid buying cheap shoe simply because of the price, it may cost you a fortune to treat injuries or even worse case stop you from running altogether.

Supplement recreational running with other activities

Our bodies need a break from running especially when we are tired. Since taking a break has its place in our running schedules, I recommend doing other activities that will yield similar benefits as running, but put less stress in our bodies. Swimming and biking are the two most common and effective supplements to running. Both of these activities lift the pressure away from your legs and in the process allow them to recover without you really taking time off from working out. If swimming is not enough, try running in the pool, this will surely give you a great workout. Swimming and biking are also great for rehabilitation after sustaining an injury.

Take time off from running

As mentioned earlier in this article, our bodies need time to accommodate the physical stress that we are inducing through running. The principle behind training in any sport is to improve performance. This happens through recovery and adaptation. The simple explanation of this fact is when you run you are stressing your muscles and other body systems and they can only be stressed to a certain level. Once that level is reached, fatigue sets in and if you do not stop, your body will break down. The best way to avoid breaking down due to fatigue is to take one or two days off every week from running. If you neglect taking time off, you are calling for trouble, you will get burnout or injured and you may not have a choice but to quit running.

Eat healthy and hydrate well

Most people use recreational running to lose extra weight or control their body weight. Due to bad advice, I have seen people running and still eating wrong foods and drinking highly dehydrating drinks. If the whole idea of running is to be healthy, then it does not make sense to counter that effect with bad eating habits. There is no right or wrong, I believe moderation is the key. Eating a desert once in a while is great and fun, eating it after every meal – well, you can answer that for yourself. It is a fact that carbonated drinks when taken excessively only help to dehydrate your body. Drinking water and non-carbonated sports drinks are highly recommended. Supplements and vitamins also go along way in keeping you away from injuries. So remember always to eat enough to supply just enough energy to meet your daily demands, but not excess that will be stored as fats. Extra body weight makes your body more susceptible to injuries.

Climatic Nutrition for Runners

We realise that to run a marathon in 3 hours (or 2 or 4 for that matter) will cost us a certain amount of carbohydrate stored in glycogen and a certain amount stored in fats. We top this up with carbohydrates during the run and we have more or less success (in a nutritional sense)depending on how good we are at getting the right quantity into our system at the right time. But the complicating factor is that we sweat. On a hot day we sweat a lot, on a cool day we sweat a little and on a cold day we only sweat icecubes. But our carbohydrate intake is often linked directly to our re-hydration schedule. This is because for many of us we rely on carbohydrate drinks of various forms to provide our water, salts and carbohydrates in fixed quantities. We use the same formulas for a deadly hot day when our highest priority (and most impossible task) is to replace our salts and water, as we do for a freezing cold day ,when all we really need is carbohydrates (because we’ve lost little due to sweating).

So here is a marketing angle for any aspiring sports nutrition producer. How about supplying a pre-mixed drink that comes in various temperature formulas. Ranging from highly concentrated carbohydrates for cold running to highly diluted (but still high in salts) formulas for hot runs. Maybe call one “High Sweat”, another “Medium Sweat” and the most concentrated carbohydrate model “No Sweat”.

Maybe we should just be more creative with the products we have at our disposal already, by using combinations of gels, drinks, solid fuel, and dare I say it WATER to make up the perfect solution. Of course this is just one more complication that we can probably do without, but it may be that for optimal performance we can’t stick to one fueling strategy for all conditions.

We have to remember:

The hotter it gets the more we sweat, but our carbohydrate demand doesn’t change so drastically

The colder it gets the less hydration we need but again our carbohydrate demand doesn’t change drastically.

So really all we have to do is work out a formula which tells us how many calories we need to top up per klm at a given speed and we can keep that level constant regardless of the environment. Then work out our sweat co-efficient (how much we expect to loose in attempting to cool ourselves) for a variety of temperatures and then drink accordingly throughout the race or session.

Start a Running Program

The first mistake people make when they begin a running or jogging program is that they run too fast. This will leave you out of breath and spent in about 5 or 10 minutes. When this happens people generally think to themselves that anyone who runs is crazy or likes punishing themselves.

This simply is not true. Once I found out how to run properly, I was able to run a few miles with ease and comfort.

I had been running for about a month and was up to two miles. But at the end of these two miles, I felt as if I was going to keel over and die. My legs hurt. My lungs hurt. Everything felt wrong.

I thought I would just keep running these two miles until it became easier, but it never did. It got harder, if anything.

Then I heard about a guy named Stu Mittleman. This guy had run from San Diego to New York in 56 days. Basically Stu ran two marathons a day for 56 days. So I bought his book called Slow Burn and it completely changed any negative feelings I had about running.

The first thing I did was bought a heart rate monitor. This cost around 100 dollars and was the best purchase I have ever made. It allowed me to monitor my heart rate and stay at a comfortable running level, even while running up hills.

What I did, was started running at 50 to 70% of my maximum heart rate. At first, I felt like I was going too slow and not getting a good workout. But within a week, I was able to run 4 miles without any problems. The best thing was that after the four miles, I felt incredible. Instead of feeling like I was going to die before, I actually felt better.

To find your targeted heart rate zone, do the following:

Subtract your age from 220. Then multiply this by .50 and .70 and that will give you your targeted zone.

Example: Age 28

220-28 = 192

192 x .50 = 96

192 x .70 = 134

By this example, if you are 28, then you should be running in the heart rate zone of 96 to 134. To make it easier to remember, just round it up to 100-135.

If you are running in this zone, you will probably be very comfortable and be able to run a good distance.

You see, the problem people usually face is that they start off running too fast. You just need to slow down. It isn’t necessarily how hard you run, but that you are moving as much as possible, as often as possible.

Once you begin to add mileage, you will get in better shape and be running faster anyways. You just won’t be working any harder. Your body will adapt, and you will begin to move more efficiently, without more effort.

Running to Stay Fit

As long as you have sneakers or running shoes, you can start to enjoy the benefits and really experience running. Running is one of the sports that exercises your entire body and keeps your blood pumping all through out. It makes use of a lot of muscles in your body not just your feet and legs but also your upper body as well.

If you are just starting to experience running as your sport there are a couple of things that you need to know, which will help prevent you from acquiring running injuries. Whether you want to go for long distance running or short distance it is necessary that you have the right warm up. This will prevent your muscles from shock and allow it to adjust to the stress that it is about to undergo. A 10-15 minute slow jog is often recommended to start the blood flowing and your muscles moving. Remember not to run, just slow jogging as this is only the warm-up or preliminaries to your running. Once you have got your blood pumping and your muscles working, be sure to get the right stretching that your muscles need. This is one of the things that you should never forego or miss out since this is one of the most common causes of injury when it comes to running.

Not having the proper stretching can cause your muscles to tear or can give you cramps which can be dangerous when you begin running. Once all this taken care of, you can then start on your running regiment with much ease and lesser chances of injury.