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Archive for the ‘Games’ Category


Dr. Dunham’s Cabin Fever Cure

 
“I’ve got cabin fever, it’s burning in my brain. I’ve got cabin fever, it’s driving me insane,” sang the Muppets in their 1996 blockbuster, “Muppet Treasure Island.”
 
Well, in truth the movie may not have achieved blockbuster status, but most of us won’t soon forget the “Cabin Fever” song. Perhaps because it hits close to home.
 
Cabin fever has been recognized as a very real affliction for almost 100 years. It results from being confined to one place for an extended period of time. It’s exacerbated by inactivity. The usual result is extreme irritability and feelings of anxiety. It often strikes in winter when many of us shun the cold and curl up on the couch for the duration.
 
The most obvious cure is getting outside and interacting with the rest of the world. For those of us whose favorite activities include things like gardening, swimming or hanging out at the beach, the winter world may seem foreign and forbidding. But winter sports can be invigorating and entertaining. And there’s no better cure for the ills of cabin fever than the crisp air of a January day.
 
Did we hear someone say it’s too cold to play outside? Well, that’s only true if you’re not dressed for outdoors. Today’s winter clothing is light yet warm, so there’s no need to fear the frigid air, and bundling up need not cramp your style.
 
Winter Games, Out and In
 
Once you’re dressed for the occasion, the possibilities for winter entertainment are almost unlimited. Those who appreciate a good workout might try cross-country skiing or snowshoe hiking. Snowboarding and downhill skiing can provide a good amount of exercise as well, and few thrills compare to that of racing down the side of a ski slope at speed.
 
Ice-skating and sledding are a bit less taxing than skiing but can be just as much fun, particularly for the younger set. Most towns have a good sledding hill or two, and winter afternoons will likely find a happy group of kids enjoying the ride downhill. Ditto ice skating rinks or frozen ponds. You can find them everywhere, and there’s always something special about tracing lines on the ice as gentle flakes fall from a moonlit sky.
 
Of course you can invent your own winter games. When I was a kid, a zillion years ago, we would play football in the snow – on our knees. That required only a small parcel of land, which was all that was available in the urban area where I was raised. But while the playing field was small, the games were big.
 
For those who hanker to get out and do something but would prefer to minimize the strenuous part, there’s always ice fishing.If you’d prefer to fish on open water, some fast-moving streams in Colorado, like the South Platte River, offer winter fly-fishing.
 
On days when it’s just too cold to go out, try changing your indoor routine to relieve symptoms of cabin fever. Table tennis, a popular indoor sport, is a great way to stay active. There’s also billiards, air-hockey and Wii games that are played in front of the television. Some games, like Wii Grand Slam Tennis, mimic outdoor summer sports and can provide a pretty good workout. Or for a top-notch workout do some cardio and resistance training to get ready for swimsuit season.
 
Getting Away From It All
 
If you really have to get out of town to cure that cabin fever, then get out of town. There’s a winter resort in the U.S.A. for any winter sport you can think of, and accommodations range in price from very affordable to lavish and expensive.
 
Looking for something novel? Durango Mountain Resort in Colorado offers ski biking. Another Colorado attraction, Ouray Ice Park, offers ice climbing in the Uncompahgre Gorge. In Alaska you can try dogsledding. Skijoring, which is popular in Minnesota, is a melding of dog sledding and skiing.
 
What’s that you say? You want to get away from the cold? Then head south or west to Florida, Arizona or California. Caribbean and Mexican vacations can be very affordable. There’s always somewhere where one can find a bit of summer in the throes of winter.
 
A Cure That’s Sure To Work
 
But you don’t have to leave home to defeat the winter doldrums. Why not organize a winter Olympics for the neighborhood? And your event doesn’t have to focus on winter sports. Playing softball in the snow is a hoot, as is Frisbee golf. Picnic games like a three-legged race are even more fun in the snow.
 
Plan a post-Olympics tailgate with plenty of hot chocolate, some hot dogs or pizza, a blazing fire pit and some marshmallows to roast.
 
That’s a sure cure for even the worst case of cabin fever.
 
-Fun For All Ages
 
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Play Table Tennis for Fun and Sport Millions Around the World Already Do.

Table tennis is the most popular indoor sport in the world – for good reason. Easy to understand and play, at least at the friendly fun level, the game requires a relatively modest investment in equipment and is a great way to get active, especially during winter months.
 
Table Tennis Fundamentals
 
The basics involve two or four players (singles or doubles) using rackets to hit a lightweight ball back and forth across a hard table divided by a net. Points are scored when a player fails to return the ball within the rules.
 
• The table and net. Official tables are 9 feet long x 5 feet wide x 30 inches high, made of wood, with a uniformly dark playing surface and 6-inch-high net. But as YiYe Wu, of DMI Sports, points out, different tables have varying properties. “To improve ball bounce, the best tables are thicker, with sturdier frames, and several layers of paint.” YiYe, who grew up in China playing table tennis, adds, “Some tables that come with ‘play back mode’ fold up on one end so players can practice alone.” Models at Dunham’s range from $150 to $500.
 
• The racket. Each player uses a laminated wooden racket (“paddle” in the U.S. and “bat” in the UK.) The blade averages 6.5 inches long by 6 inches wide, with rubber on one or both sides and a sponge layer underneath to dampen the impact of the ball. According to YiYe, handle shapes differ, so she recommends experimenting to find the best match for a player’s style of grip and play.
 
• The ball. International rules specify balls be 40 mm in diameter and made of high-bouncing air-filled celluloid or similar plastics weighing 2.7 grams. “Look for the stars,” advises YiYe. “Three-star balls are usually the best quality for better bounce and longer wear.”
 
Beyond the basics, players can invest in special shoes and clothing, robot ball launchers, instructional books and DVDs, coaching, club memberships, and more. Abundant information and resources can be found online.
 
Table Tennis Benefits
 
“One of the best things is the game can be enjoyed at any level of skill, by players of all ages and physical attributes,” comments YiYe. “Participants are active and moving, and the sport develops excellent hand-eye coordination. Those who want to progress can find clubs and tournaments throughout the country. Plus, families spend time together and friends socialize and have fun.” Forty million competitive and countless millions of recreational players worldwide agree – table tennis is a sport for all.
 
-Fun For All Ages
 
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