Mixing It Up With Healthy Food

We’re going to step away from our typical focus on exercise and fitness today, and talk a little bit about that stuff we put into our bodies. Most of the time, we call it “food”, although a lot of the things we consume really stretches the definition of that word!

As most folks are aware, the prepackaged items you can buy in the grocery store, from power bars to potato chips, often contains a lot of ingredients that are widely accepted as being unhealthy. Others have quantities of things like sodium that our body needs, but are harmful if taken to excess.

A good way to get around this problem is to make your own food from scratch. One of the things we like to do is bake our own healthy, energizing snacks. Check out this video on making granola bars:

Obviously, you may need to invest in some new utensils and appliances if you don’t typically spend much time in the kitchen. As the video suggests, you’ll likely want to look at mixers for baking. This will almost certainly be a stand mixer: those little handheld models are not going to have enough power to deal with things like the recipe shown here.

The cool thing about these appliances is that they can be used for a wide variety of things. Kitchenaid, for instance, offers a wide range of accessories that will allow you to use their stand mixers as blenders, food processors and more. This is a great opportunity to save space by reducing the number of gadgets you have.

Of course, these aren’t the only healthy foods you can concoct. There are tons of great recipes online, many of them both tasty and nutritious. Check ‘em out!

Jogging Strollers for Two: Fitness and Family

While treadmills, exercise bikes and their cousins all have their place, getting outside for your fitness routine is infinitely preferable to being stuck indoors on a machine. This isn’t always that easy to do, though.

stroller for threeObviously, the weather is a factor, but another one that could play a role are small children … especially if you have more than one. Little ones require a lot of attention, and you probably don’t want to pay a sitter to look after them when you’re just going out for a run.

If you have a pair of children close to the same age, a tandem jogging stroller could be an excellent option. Specially designed to allow for control and stability while moving at something faster than a walking pace, they are certainly worth looking into.

Actually, there are a couple of basic styles for strollers with two seats.

Tandems are just like the bicycle of the same name, where one child is seated behind the other. In some models, it’s also possible for an older child to stand, which might come in handy if he or she is already walking and gets tired. If you’re out for a jog, however, you’d likely want both kids to be seated.

Side-by-side strollers are the other configuration. This variant can be more stable than the narrower tandems, and offers both children an unencumbered view of the world passing by. Their greater width, however, can be a problem for fitting the stroller through doorways and other tight spaces.

Finally, since you’ll want the stroller to be just as functional for everyday purposes as for running, a travel system might be a wise choice. These models have matching car seats that are easily locked into place or removed from the stroller frame, so you can transfer your little ones in and out of cars and such with less fuss.

If you are a parent with two young kids, then, a two-seat jogging stroller could be a great option to help you keep up with your fitness routine.

Fitness and Photography: Trail Cameras

One of the true pleasures of going for a run or hike outdoors is being surrounded by the beauty of the nature world. While having options for getting in your workout inside is important, especially when the weather fails to cooperate, we really prefer the clean air and wonderful scenery of the one of the area trails to jogging on a treadmill while staring at the TV.

Of course, if you spend any amount of time in parks or other natural settings, you’ll likely want to share your experiences with friends and family through photography. Today’s smartphones take quite good pictures, but the fact that you’re supposed to be getting exercise as well as enjoying nature means you’d probably prefer not to be stopping and snapping photos all the time.

Also, if you want to capture images of the local wildlife, they aren’t likely to make an appearance when you go pounding by on your run. In fact, they’ll probably be attempting to increase the distance from you or hide. I mean, who knows what those humans are up to, right?

Recently, we’ve found quite a fun and easy solution to the wildlife photography problem: the so-called deer cam. Also known as trail cameras, these devices can be set up and left to take pictures of passing animals, being triggered by an infrared sensor.

Here’s a nice little video showing the basics of how to use one:

These cameras are typically used by hunters for scouting areas that game frequent, but have also been utilized by conservation groups and in wildlife studies. If you are against hunting, then, you may find a lot of the marketing for trail cameras disturbing, but just remember that they can be used for more than stalking deer.

As you can see, these cameras take photos, and even video, completed automatically, so no one has to be anywhere near them and potentially frighten or disturb the wildlife. They can also take night time pictures as well as in daylight. Since many animals are more active after dark, this can be a great advantage.

From what you’ve just seen, it’s likely apparent that trail cams do not necessarily take the most beautiful of pictures, but they are a simple way to enjoy your local fauna without spending hours in a hide or blind waiting for the perfect shot.

So, how do we combine this with fitness? We position the cameras at appropriate distances, and make them scheduled stops along our route so it’s easy to check the memory card, then maybe do some stretching or other stationary exercises before resuming our run. This has added some extra pleasure to our routine that wasn’t there before.

A few cautionary notes before trying this yourself, however. The main one is making sure you are permitted to place trail cameras on the properties you visit. Since they will capture any movement, that also includes other people, so many public areas prohibit them as an invasion of privacy. Check with local authorities or the land owners before setting up these devices.

Also, deer cams can be rather expensive, so it’s worth learning more about what you need. We found this guide to be especially helpful.

Anyway, we hope you find this a great way to combine nature with fitness. Enjoy!

Running for Fitness: Steps Toward a Sensible Exercise Routine

One of our favorite cardio exercises is one of the simplest: running/jogging. It requires minimal equipment: just a good pair of shoes and suitable clothing. And you can do it almost anywhere: the only significant concerns being the weather and the safeness of the neighborhood.

Now, before we go any further, PLEASE, PLEASE schedule a complete physical with your doctor so you know your capabilities going in. Trying to do too much too soon can literally be life-threatening, so don’t skip this step.

runningIf the best you can do to start out is a walk around the block, or even just from your front door to the street and back, that’s perfectly fine. We all began from somewhere. I’m recalling a cheer from my high school athletic days: “Take it easy, take it slow: let’s go!”

Next, now that you understand your current physical limitations, educate yourself on how best to start working your way up to a healthy, effective running routine. Runner’s World provides an excellent five-step guide to help you get going.

Again, though, it would be wise to consult a fitness professional who can help you develop a personal exercise regimen, especially if you have significant health issues and need to work up to a more strenuous workouts gradually.

Finally, as we mentioned above, while walking or running outdoors may be the most enjoyable way to get some cardio, your local environment may not always cooperate. With that in mind, investing in a running treadmill is worth considering.

These machines come in a variety of sizes and capabilities, as well as a range of prices, so there should be a model that suits your needs. For example, many models will fold up to help save space, while others provide a variety of functions that measure your progress and/or help keep you entertained while working out.

Regardless, if you’re ultimate goal is building up to running or jogging, make sure your machine is capable of handling the greater impact of these activities, as opposed to simply walking. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for in these instances.

Of course, you might also decide a gym membership is the best option for you. Many people find the fact that they’re paying a monthly fee motivating, so they are more likely to show up and get in their workout. Also, many of these facilities have trained fitness experts on site to help you get started.

In the end, a simple cardio routine based on walking or running is a simple, proven way to improve your health. Follow the basic steps outlined here, check out our recommended resources, and we hope to see you out on the jogging trail soon!

Rowing for Health and Happiness

Up in the high country near us, many people enjoy white water sports. There are rapids nearby to suit every level of experience, and it can be an exhilarating activity, shooting along surrounded by forest and mountains underneath a cerulean sky.

Still, this isn’t everyone’s style, and while it is a good workout, a safer and arguably more complete one can be had from rowing on lakes or calmer streams and rivers.

RowerWhat are some of the benefits?

For starters, it uses all of the major muscles in your body, working upper and lower extremities in addition to building core strength. This leads to greater stability, as it helps develop the “neutral” muscles that are often ignored in other exercise regimens. Increasing this stability means you are less likely to get strains and sprains from everyday activities like lifting and bending.

Another advantage of rowing is its cardio benefits. Even in calm waters with a light shell, pushing the oars through the water is going to raise the pulse rate significantly, promoting better heart health.

Furthermore, rowing can be a great stress reliever. As you become more adept, you’ll develop a steady, satisfying rhythm that can be very calming as you work your way through the water. Many experts agree that combining physical activity with meditative practices is exceptionally beneficial.

Getting started in rowing isn’t that difficult. Here’s a video showing some of the basics if you are brand-new to this sport:

Of course, the weather won’t always cooperate for you. While a light rain likely won’t be a problem, open water rowing in more severe conditions is not wise, especially for beginners. And of course, the winter months will make outdoor rowing virtually impossible in many parts of the world.

With that in mind, investing in an indoor rowing machine is a good idea. The folks at http://compactrowingmachine.com offer an excellent guide on selecting one to suit your needs.

Overall, then, we highly recommend taking up this sport as a great way to improve your health, relieve tension, and enjoy the great outdoors. Do some research to find clubs or organizations in your area that can help you get started, and have fun!

Home Gym Air Quality

Finding space for a workout area in your home can be a challenge. You likely have a fair number of machines, plus free weights, and then you need floor space for stretching and other exercises.

Often, the most convenient place might be somewhere like the basement or garage, but this is hardly ideal. For one thing, using spaces like this for your fitness routines can actually be hazardous to your health. Let us explain.

free weightsWe’re sure it will come as no surprise to you that you breathe harder and deeper when working out. After all, your body needs that oxygen to keep going. Some estimates suggest that you are increasing your air intake by as much as three or four times while exercising.

The question is, what’s in that air you’re taking in? If you’re like most people, the garage and basement don’t get the same kind of housekeeping attention the rest of your home does. There is bound to be more dust and other impurities in the air in those spaces.

Add to this the fact that many folks store harsh chemicals in these areas that may give off noxious fumes, as well as the ongoing concern about naturally-occurring gases like radon, and that workout space in the cellar starts looking less and less attractive.

What to do? Well, assuming that you really have no other space available, the short answer is to make your fitness “room” a healthier place to be.

Number one, of course, is to give it a good cleaning, and keep it clean. Get rid of the accumulated dust and mold, and perhaps consider getting an air purifier. The site http://airfiltermachine.com provides an excellent overview of how to select a good one.

Next, remove any chemicals stored in the area to another location, and ensure they have air-tight caps. Also, make sure your workout space is well-ventilated. This can be as simple as opening a couple of windows while you’re exercising, and maybe adding a fan to pull air through the area.

Finally, especially if you’re using the lower level of your home for fitness, make sure you have a test done for radon levels. If there are high levels, you’ll likely need to have a system installed to extract it from the air. Even if you decide to move your workout room someplace else, radon will impact the air quality throughout your home, and as a carcinogen, it’s nothing to mess with.

Hopefully, these tips will help you set up a clean, healthy environment for your home gym. Let’s get moving!

Let’s Get Moving!

Hello, and welcome to Rocky Mountain Sport and Fitness.

In future posts, we’re going to be covering tips and advice on a wide range of ways to stay fit and have fun.

We love the outdoors, and here in the American Rocky Mountains, there are countless ways to enjoy it.  From hiking to mountain biking and beyond, we’ll be exploring all of these and more.  And our focus won’t just be on our region.  We’ll also share ideas for active adventures in fabulous locations throughout the North American continent.

If there’s one thing we understand, though, it’s that getting outside is not always the easiest thing to do.  We know something about snow in our neck of the woods, and while getting out for some cross country skiing is one of our favorites, you still need a backup plan if getting out the door isn’t convenient or possible.

With that in mind, we’ll also be covering indoor workout routines and equipment, including how to make exercising indoors more interesting and motivating.

That’s about it for now, but remember to check back again soon.  Thanks!