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Archive for May, 2011


PUT A SATELLITE IN YOUR GOLF BAG

The high technology revolution in golf has been concentrated in the manufacturing of clubs and balls. Titanium shafts, acrylate centers, four-layer ball designs — terms that have moved from the physics lab to the pro shop. But now, the ultimate for the golf geek — global positioning systems for the golf course.
 
Just as GPS technology has exploded in the general consumer market so that stopping for directions out of town is a thing of the past, now it is revolutionizing the game of golf. Gone are the days of, “I guess I’m 20 yards from the 150 yard marker” to, “It’s 163 yards to the front of the green.” Global positioning technology connects to orbiting satellites to tell you precisely (plus-or-minus one yard) exactly how far you are to the front, middle and back of a green, as well as the distance to bunkers, water and other hazards.
 
The systems are pre-programmed with information on various courses or they include subscription services to download thousands of courses worldwide.
 
More Than One Number
 
Knowing the distance to the green (actually three distances to the green — front/middle/back) is obviously a big help. But getting maximum use from GPS technology means using more than just your approach distance. Because the devices are programmed for individual courses, you also have distances to things you want to avoid — bunkers, water, etc.
 
For example, on your second shot on a par five, the yard marker may put you at 240 yards from the green. But GPS will add information such as those bunkers 210 yards away, so your best strategy may be to play short of the bunkers and then hit a wedge close for a possible birdie.
 
Different Approaches
 
One of the most popular GPS golf devices is the GolfBuddy® World Platinum. Featuring:  30,000+ preloaded courses, high resolution full color screen, full layout mode, full statistical analysis module, automatic course and hole recognition and includes rechargeable Lithium-ion battery and swivel holster.
 
Of course, no piece of golf equipment would be complete without a full range of accessories. Cart mounts, clamps, suction cups, leather cases and belt clips – low tech support for high tech golf.
 
GPS systems bring absolute precision to golf strategy. When you know you are exactly 187 yards from the green, you know exactly which club to use. Now, if you could just hit the ball exactly 187 yards!
 
-Par Shooter
 
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Hooked on Bass

They say that once you’ve hooked a bass, you’re hooked on bass fishing for life.
 
The popularity of the sport suggests that old bass-fishing aphorism has a lot of truth to it. Contributing to the sport’s popularity is the fact that bass fishing doesn’t require a lot of travel or money. You can probably find a good bass fishing spot nearby, as the big fresh water fish is plentiful in our lakes and rivers. And some basic equipment can have you fishing with little money spent.
 
The Fish
 
Before thinking about bass fishing, think about bass. Two varieties are common in U.S. freshwater: smallmouth and largemouth. Smallmouth were originally native to the central states, while largemouth lurked in central and southeastern states. However, both have been introduced to most of the nation. Both are similar in appearance and have large mouths, although the largemouth’s yap is a bit bigger. While smallmouth rarely exceed 17 inches, largemouth grow to 26 inches.
 
Bass travel in schools. So if you catch one, you’ll probably catch more. When bass feed, it’s usually near the bottom of the lake or river. Whether they hang out in deep water or shallow depends on temperature. They’re likely to feed where the water temperature is 60° to 75° F, and they frequently congregate near weed beds or underwater structures.
 
The Rod and Reel
 
If you’re new to bass fishing, don’t invest in fancy equipment. You can catch fish with a basic outfit. The Zebco 404 spincast fishing combo is inexpensive and well regarded. The bargain-priced Quantum Vibe Series Spinning Combo features a graphite reel and two-piece rod. The South Bend Ready-2-Fish Bass Spinning Combo is a good choice as well.
 
Not as basic as these but still affordable is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik® rod, fitted with a Pflueger Trion spinning reel. This medium action rod is suitable for a number of bass fishing techniques.
 
The Bait
 
Most bass fishermen prefer artificial bait. There are plenty from which to choose, but plastic worms and tubes are most popular. Plastic worms are self-explanatory; tubes resemble a minnow moving through the water. You won’t find either appetizing, but bass will.
 
The Texas Rig
 
Texas rig bass fishing with plastic worms is very popular. The hook is shielded by the worm, so it won’t snag on underwater plants or debris.
 
For this rig, you need a size 3 or 4 hook and a plastic worm. You also need something to weigh the line and bait. Brass weights are better than lead for obvious environmental reasons. A ¼-ounce weight will work for most conditions, although in calm, shallow water, some fishermen go lighter, and heavier in deep, choppy water.
 
On bright days, a light colored worm works best; if it’s cloudy, choose a dark color. For murky water, select bright colors; the Berkley Power Worm is a good choice.
 
To assemble the rig, slide the weight onto your line, then tie on the hook. Hold the worm in one hand and push the hook into the end of the worm with your other hand. Push the hook through and out, so that about ¼-inch of the shank is covered. Pull the hook until the eye is right up against end of the worm. Turn the hook so the point is facing the worm and push the tip into the worm until it almost protrudes from the other side.
 
A tube bait can be Texas rigged in much the same way. A 4-inch tube is usually good for bass fishing. Color choice is dictated by conditions, just as with worms.
 
The Carolina Rig
 
The Carolina rig is useful in water with poor visibility because it allows for plenty of action; fish can spot it readily.
 
The main difference between the Carolina and Texas rigs is the location of the weight. To make a Carolina rig, slide a ½-ounce weight onto the line then tie on a swivel. Attach a leader of 1 ½ to 3 feet to the swivel. The shorter it is, the easier to cast. But long leaders are better in deep water.
 
Tie a size 3 or 4 hook onto the end of the leader, then hook the worm as described above for the Texas rig.
 
The Wacky Rig
 
The wacky rig is simple, and the bait reacts with a lot of action, so it’s another solution for low visibility. To assemble a wacky rig, position the point of the hook so its shank is perpendicular to the worm and run the hook through the exact center of the worm until it protrudes fully.
 
The Drop Shot Rig
 
This rig ties the hook into the line 6 inches to 4 feet above the sinker. It’s meant for deep water, so the position of the hook will depend on where the fish are hanging out. Insert the line into the hook’s eyelet from the side opposite the point, tie a palomar knot, then push the line into the hook from the other side. Pull your line through and tie on a 3/8-ounce bell-style sinker.
 
Your equipment is in order, so it’s time to head for your favorite lake or river and drown that bait. And don’t forget to take a youngster. Every kid should learn to fish.
 
Okay, Let’s Fish
 
The key to successful fishing is presenting the bait in a way that makes it look like a tasty meal.
 
Bass are stationery fish for the most part, so you have to bring dinner to them. Cast your bait just beyond where you think your lunker may be lurking: 10 feet past that sunken tree stump or mass of vegetation. Before you begin to retrieve the bait wait 20 seconds.  If the bait’s splash spooked the fish, they’ll have time to return. Then retrieve slowly, providing action by moving the rod tip and alternating the speed of your wind.  When fishing a Carolina rig you may want to stop intermittently. When fishing a Texas rig, a steady retrieve can sometimes produce the best results.
 
Drop shot rigs are well suited to fishing over structures, like sunken boats or the remains of trees and buildings at the bottom of man-made lakes. All underwater structures are favorite hangouts for bass, and the drop shot lets you position your bait just above them.
 
Whether you’re fishing the drop shot rig on a structure or on the bottom of a deep lake, you should give the bait 20 seconds to settle after your cast. Then, after retrieving it a few feet, let it rest for a few seconds. While it’s resting, wiggle it just a bit by moving the rod tip. Retrieve it a couple of feet and let it rest again. Give it a few wiggles, then repeat. Continue until the bait is back at the boat.
 
Whatever type of rig or water you’re fishing, when you feel the slightest nudge on the line or see the line move in an unexpected way, set the hook immediately with a quick lift of the rod top. Don’t give the fish time to reject the bait. Setting the hook doesn’t cost you a thing. Failing to do so will cost you a fish.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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Put Some Spring in Your Step With Trampolines

Who knew that a piece of fabric stretched over a few hunks of metal could be so much fun? Kids, of course! A widely popular backyard pastime, bouncing on a trampoline has provided children, teens and even adults with endless hours of pure, aerial fun. Though in addition to recreational fun, trampolines are known to serve other purposes as well.

Bouncing for Sport

The first trampoline came to fruition as the brainchild of George Neilson, a student at the University of Iowa. After observing the way trapeze artists bounced onto the safety net after performing, he figured out that trampolines would make a good training tool for athletes.

In the years following, trampoline jumping gained popularity and, eventually, sporting credibility, culminating in the debut of Trampoline as an official sport in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.  The sport has been played in each summer Olympics since.

Those looking to tone up and lose weight have also turned to the trampoline for exercise.  Jumping on a trampoline (typically a mini trampoline) is known to burn calories and tone leg and core muscles, as well as improve balance and agility.

How it Works

The material that one bounces on, known as the bounce mat, is made from woven canvas or polypropylene material. The elasticity of the trampoline comes from the coiled springs that are strategically placed around the edge of the trampoline’s steel frame; they provide the rebounding force that creates the jump. The Propel 15’ Trampoline, one of the genre’s best sellers, has 108 springs on its trampoline, 20% more than other leading brands.

Safety Tips

The safest trampolines have a net surrounding the outside of the frame known as an enclosure, which protects jumpers from potential falls. At peak bounce, a fall could mean coming down from as high as 12 feet. All Propel Trampolines come with enclosures, as well as an anchor kit, which holds the trampoline in place no matter the intensity of the bounce or weather. Propel Trampolines, also recommends that all bouncers have a spotter nearby and that only one person jump at a time.

Bounce On

The most important thing to remember about trampolines is that they were built for fun! As long as precautions are taken and safety guidelines heeded, trampoline users can bounce to their heart’s desire, be it for exercise, sport or pure recreational joy. Be safe and bounce on!

-Jumping Jack

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When the Shoe Fits, Run With It

There are an enormous number of choices in running shoes these days. Virtually every manufacturer offers a variety of styles, fits and prices — enough to overwhelm any buyer. The key is to analyze your own foot and then find the shoe that best suits your physique.

What Kind of Foot Do You Have?

For the purposes of running, feet can be divided into three categories:

Flat Footed/Pronated – The foot strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inward, often leading to overuse injuries (60% of the population has this).

High-Arched Footed/Supinated – The foot is rigid, doesn’t roll inward and is not an effective shock absorber (30%).

Neutral – You land on the outside of the heel and roll inward slightly to absorb shock — the most biomechanically sound type of runner (only 10%).

Different Shoes for Different Feet

Once you’ve analyzed your feet you can choose the best pair of shoes.

If you are Flat Footed/Pronated:

• Look for a straight or semi-curved last for stability and maximum support for the inside of the foot (the last is the basic shape of the shoe and can be straight, semi-curved or curved).

• Look for features like a medial post (a stiff material on the inner side of the shoe) to help reduce overpronation or rolling in.

• Look for a dense, durable polyurethane midsole for moderate cushioning and greater stability.

• Look for a carbon rubber outsole for greater durability.

If you are High-Arched Footed/Supinated:

• Look for a semi-curved or curved last to encourage foot motion. You are not likely to need any additional medial support.

• Look for EVA cushioning, which will provide softer cushioning and lighter weight than polyurethane.

• Look for a softer, lighter outsole with greater flexibility.

• Some shoes combine heavier, more durable carbon rubber in the heel area with lightweight blown rubber in the forefoot to make the shoe more flexible.

If you are Neutral/Ideal:

• Look for a straight or semi-curved last.

• A medial post is good for motion control. A medial post is a stiff material on the inner side of the shoe to help reduce overpronation or rolling in.

• Look for a shoe with moderate cushioning, such as a 2-density midsole. The blend of EVA’s lightweight cushioning and polyurethane’s density and durability offers a nice mix of cushioning and stability.

• Look for a durable carbon rubber outsole or an outsole that combines carbon rubber with a lighter weight, softer blown rubber in the forefoot.

A good pair of running shoes should last 400-500 miles. Polyurethane mid-soles may not have the cushioning effect of EVA, but they tend to be more durable. The best way to tell if you need new shoes is to look at the soles. If they are worn or uneven, it’s time for a new pair.

Proper Technique

While you’ll probably never be a world-class marathoner, proper running technique will make you more efficient.

Hands – Don’t clench your fist — that tenses up your forearm and impedes proper shoulder motion. Don’t carry anything (like a water bottle, iPod) that can cause your torso to rotate.

Posture – Keep straight and erect, with head up and back straight.

Shoulders – Keep your shoulders back and shoulder blades pulled down toward your back pockets. Move arms from the shoulder to save energy.

Elbows – Swing at 90°, pulled close to body (if elbows flare out, arm action will be less efficient and upper body mechanics will suffer).

Don’t Bounce – Keep your stride as low to the ground as possible. Too much up-and-down movement wastes energy. Plus, the higher you lift yourself off the ground, the greater shock you must absorb and the faster your legs will fatigue.

Use the “Wet Test” to Determine What Kind of Feet You Have

1. Get your foot wet.

2. Then step on a surface, such as a sidewalk or a piece of dark construction paper, which will show an imprint of your foot.

3. The characteristics of the imprint will determine your foot type:

Flat Footed/Pronated — Your feet are pronated if a complete impression of your foot can be seen.

High-Arched Footed/Supinated — Your feet are supinated if there is a large open area on the imprint where the arch of your foot didn’t touch the ground.

Neutral/Ideal — Your feet are neutral/ideal if a moderate space is visible in the arch area.

The Basics of Stretching

Academic studies conflict on how effective stretching is to prevent injuries. However, there’s general agreement that stretching is more important after you run, to aid in muscle recovery. Stretching before exercise certainly won’t hurt, but what is most important is to warm up — take the first mile or two easy
to acclimate your body.

Some good post-running stretches:

Heel Drops – Stand on a curb with your front feet and drop your heels. Count to 5, lift again. Repeat 5-10 times. (Helps prevent Achilles tendinitis).

Calf Raises – Stand on the ground, lift your heels, count to 5, lift again. Repeat 5-10 times. (Helps prevent shin splints).

Calf Stretch – Stand against the wall, palms on the wall. Put one leg forward (bent) and one leg straight back, heel on the ground. Count to 10, alternate and repeat twice.

Quadriceps Stretch – Stand straight on one foot, bend the other leg backward with foot against backside. Hold foot, slowly count to 10. Alternate and repeat twice. (For balance, you may need to hold on to a pole or street light).

-Fitness Fanatic

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