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Archive for January, 2013


Tread on High Blood Pressure

 [Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Blood pressure worries? You might want to make a beeline for the nearest treadmill. Striding on the treadmill may be the most effective exercise for lowering blood pressure.
 
We’ve known for years that high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart, and kidney diseases. Blood pressure increases during physical activity but your overall blood pressure drops when the exercise is over. It’s what’s known as post exercise hypo-tension. Until recently we didn’t know how long the effect lasted.
 
A new study shows that 45-minutes on a treadmill reduces high blood pressure for a full 24-hours. That’s an excellent reason to set aside a little treadmill time every day. Your heart will thank you for it!
 
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Taking on the Great Outdoors

While some outdoor sports are relaxing, others are invigorating. Tramping through the woods, hunting wild game, paddling upstream — they’re all activities that not only entertain but get your heart rate up as well. Let’s take a look at some activities geared toward the more adventurous outdoor types among us, along with some tailor-made gift ideas. 
 
Dashing Through the Snow
 
Snowshoeing is America’s fastest growing winter sport. That’s not surprising, since this odd and ancient footgear, which can resemble an oversized tennis racket, is a great way to venture forth into places where others don’t dare tread. That means getting away from the crowd and enjoying nature at its most pristine.
 
Snowshoes are as old as recorded history itself, going back all the way to about 4000 B.C. or earlier, and first coming to this continent with Asian adventurers who crossed the Bering Strait and settled in Alaska — long before Europeans got the bug to travel.
 
So how difficult is snowshoeing? Can you walk? If the answer is yes, then you can snowshoe. At its most basic, the sport involves nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other with snowshoes on your feet. But in truth, efficient snowshoeing does require a technique that is somewhat different than walking in ordinary shoes. When walking in snowshoes, it’s best to lift each shoe a bit and slide the inner edge over the inner edge of the other shoe. If the shoes don’t overlap a bit when you stride, you’ll be forced to walk with a bowlegged gate that can be taxing.
 
While ancient snowshoes were made from wood and leather, most of today’s snowshoes are made with aluminum, plastic and various synthetic materials. But the idea is the same: the snowshoe gives walkers a big footprint, so they won’t quickly sink into the snow. Because snowshoes distribute body weight over a large area, even soft snow can provide adequate support for walking.
 
The health benefits of snowshoeing are multiple. First, it’s good aerobic exercise that can keep your heart rate up for an extended period of time. What’s more, it improves leg muscle tone, and if trekking poles are used, it can improve upper body fitness as well.
 
Bill LaPierre of Yukon Charlie’s, a major supplier of high quality snowshoe equipment, recommends using poles, since they can help you remain stable and upright on challenging terrain, while reducing the burden on your knees. Dunham’s carries a wide range of Yukon Charlie’s snowshoe gear.
 
Snowshoes are available in a variety of lengths and widths. The larger snowshoes are for bigger people and more difficult conditions. Children’s sizes are also available. In addition to various sizes, snowshoes come in a range of styles, each designed for a particular type of hiking. Aerobic or running snowshoes are small and light and are not meant for wilderness hiking. Recreational snowshoes are larger than the aerobic models, and are great for moderate walks. Mountaineering snowshoes are the largest. They usually have a long tail and are meant for long-distance trips and serious hill climbing.  A Dunham’s sales consultant can help you choose the size and type of snowshoe that’s right for you and every member of your family. 
 
Hoofing It
 
Most winter sports require some heavy-duty foot protection. And while some, such as skiing, call for purpose-built footwear, for many activities a pair of high-quality insulated boots can keep you warm and on the move. In fact, for those whose idea of great winter sport is a hike through the woods on a snowy day, boots and warm clothing are all the equipment that’s necessary. Of course a good boot is essential gear for hunters as well.
 
Winter hikes are an activity that the entire family can enjoy. Because only minimal gear is needed, it won’t break the bank. Hunting has also become more of a family activity in recent years, as parents strive to teach their offspring the value of self-sufficiency, while experiencing the joys of outdoor activity and skill development.
 
While a variety of boots that claim to be waterproof and insulated are available, not all are created equal. Nothing ruins a nice afternoon hike or a winter hunting trip faster than cold feet. Dunham’s carries several types of heavy-duty insulated boots that can keep your tootsies warm in the most severe conditions.
 
For men, the Rocky Jasper Trac Insulated Pac Boot is a superb choice. With a polar-trac outsole for great grip, a removable three-ply liner, 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation, and guaranteed waterproof construction, this boot is ready to take on old-man winter.
 
The Itasca Snowbird Boot is a popular choice for the ladies. This heavy-duty insulated boot is great for hunting and other winter activities. Dunham’s also carries boots for the kids. Ask your sales representative to help you find the winter footwear that’s right for your outdoor activities. 
 
Safe, Not Sorry
 
While most hunters think of gear in terms of what they’ll be taking out to the field, a good gun safe is a critical piece of equipment for every hunter.
 
Gun ownership carries with it a measure of responsibility. In the home, the only safe weapon is one that is stored in such a way that it can’t be accessed by an intruder or curious child. And the best way to ensure that your guns are secure is to lock them in a safe. Of course, a good safe has other uses as well, such as the storage of precious metals, jewelry, cash, and important documents.
 
A small safe is okay for cash and handguns, but for long-gun hunting weapons, a fairly large safe is necessary. However, many modern safes are designed to economize space by allowing for alternate rows of barrel up and barrel down storage.
 
Plan carefully before choosing a safe. Consider possible future needs as well as current requirements. Fire and water protection should also enter into your decision. ETL ratings are an assurance of fire protection, but waterproofing can be important as well, particularly if you live in a flood zone. Your Dunham’s representative can help you decide what kind of safe best meets your requirements.
 
Among Dunham’s most popular safes is the Stack-On Elite Gun Convertible Fire Safe. With storage for up to 24 long guns, the safe features reinforced steel doors and five large live-action locking bolts. An additional three solid-steel dead bolts secure the hinge side of the door. It’s a safe that will protect your weapons and provide peace of mind.
 
 Paddle the Day Away
 
Kayaking is a water sport the entire family can enjoy. Few outdoor sports offer as big a return in fun for as small an investment. And because kayaks are light and compact, they’re easy to store and transport.  
 
While kayaks are well suited to hunting and fishing, they’re now used primarily for recreational boating. And in comparison to other watercraft, kayaks are a bargain. For example, KL Industries eight- and ten-foot Water Quest Kayaks are very stable and come with padded seats and storage. And they’re available at Dunham’s.
 
Other very affordable choices are the Pelican Ultimate 100 and Escape 100 kayaks. These boats turn and track with the best of them, yet they’re stable and easy to paddle. Ask your Dunham’s sales representative to help you choose the kayak that’s best matched to your needs.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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A Frozen Treat

It’s time to play nice on the ice.
 
We’ll take our winter on ice. There’s no better way to enjoy the cold months than by taking up a winter sport, a winter sport played on ice. Whether it be hockey, figure skating or just a pleasant afternoon spent tracing circles on a neighborhood pond, ice makes winter a special time of year.
 
While ice sports have always been part of northern winters, the proliferation of indoor skating rinks has made sports on skates a favorite of those who live in places where ponds never freeze. But the indoor trend has reversed a bit in colder parts of the country, as skaters and head back outdoors to play on the ponds.
 
Pond Hockey
 
Those of us approaching senior-citizen status undoubtedly played our first hockey on a frozen pond or lake. I ventured onto the ice at the age of five on Chicago’s Midway Plaisance, a remnant of a long-ago world’s fair that the city fathers would flood for skating. In later years, my friends and I played hockey on ponds in city parks. There was something about one’s breath turn-ing into ice crystals and the tingle of single-digit temperatures that invigorated. My kids, who grew up in the eighties, missed out on that, as indoor rinks became the skating venues of choice.
 
Today, pond hockey and outdoor skating are coming back in a big way. Like the pond hockey we played as kids, today’s games are usually held on a rink that is smaller than an NHL rink. A barrier of snow is often the only thing that serves to keep the puck on the ice, although organized pond-hockey competitions – of which there are more every year – are played on natural rinks ringed with minimal wooden boards.
 
Dunham’s can provide the equipment you’ll need to play pond hockey. Of course, you need a good pair of skates, a hockey stick, gloves and a puck. For most venues, helmets aren’t mandatory but are highly recommended. Shin guards are a good idea as well, since a flying puck can leave an ugly bruise. But since hard physical contact isn’t part of pond hockey, the armor worn for organized indoor hockey is often not worn.
 
Although pick-up pond hockey can be played with a makeshift net, Dunham’s carries the Mylec 810 and EZ Goal nets that can be quickly set up on the ice.
 
Figure Skating
 
Figure skating experienced a surge in popularity when the friends of one prominent lady skater tried to break the kneecaps of another prominent lady skater. Why it took an unseemly event to draw attention to figure skating is a mystery to devotees of the sport, but today nearly every little girl and quite a few little boys dream of becoming Olympic skating stars.
 
Of course reaching the upper echelons of any Olympic sport is a one in a million shot, but there’s plenty of fun to be had at less competitive levels. Figure skating demands coordination, good muscle tone and a certain amount of grace, so benefits de-rived from making the effort are multitudinous. And because most skating schools conclude the season with a public perfor-mance, students get a chance to show off their skills.
 
While the majority of figure-skating students are youngsters, many schools have classes just for adults. If you’ve always wanted to learn to do a double axle, you can do so at any age, and you don’t have to worry about being shown up by a five year old.
 
At the beginners level, all that is need to learn figure skating is a decent pair of skates. As a student progresses, more ad-vanced skates with special toe points are required to perform the jumps and spins taught at higher levels. Dunham’s carries a full selection of figure skates. Ask one of our sales assistants to help you choose the right equipment.
 
Recreational Skating and Ice Games
 
While hockey and figure skating offer competition along with the joy of skating, just making figure eights on a frozen pond can be lots of fun. And if that’s not enough to keep the youngsters interested, there are many games that can be played on the ice.
 
At the pond where I hung out as a teen we played “crack the whip.” To play, a line of half a dozen or more skaters is formed, each holding the hips of the skater in front or linking hands. The lead skater pulls the line with those behind assisting. As speed builds, the skater at the head of the line executes a sharp turn, which cracks the whip and causes the last couple of skaters in the line to accelerate rapidly towards the snow banks at the edge of the rink.
 
Informal races can be fun on ice. And while these can just pit each skater against the others, they can also involve complexi-ties, like skating backwards and pulling a second skater or towing a sled and rider. An obstacle course made up of sticks, rocks, boots, and whatever else is available can also add a different dimension to on-ice races.
 
-Ski Bum
 
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