Archive for the ‘Watersports’ Category


Every Four Years

Every few people can claim to be the best in the world at what they do… and back it up with empirical evidence. Which is just one reason why the Olympics are so compelling. Run, jump, swim, lift weights — even ride horses — if you do it there is only way to be the best in the world. Win an Olympic Gold Medal.
 
More than 13,000 athletes will compete in the Olympics (Winter and Summer Games), representing more than 200 countries, virtually every government in the world. The modern Olympics have become nothing short of a world spectacle, continually drawing the world’s biggest television audiences. The games began in 1896, a re-birth of the ancient tradition that took place in various Greek city-states from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.
 
The modern games have developed into one of the world’s greatest spectacles, overcoming a couple of World Wars and a boycott or two. In July and August, the world will again focus its attention on the games of the 30th (modern) Olympiad in London from July 25 through August 12.
 
Run for Your Life
 
Running is perhaps the oldest competition known to man (other than boxing, perhaps). And its beauty is its simplicity. Start at point X… run to point Y… first person there wins. But running doesn’t have to be a competition. Drive down any roadway or park trail on a sunny day and you’ll see people running for the simple joy of running. It’s hard to think of an activity that is better for you physically. It will build endurance, improve your cardio-vascular system and strengthen you aerobically. Even if you’re a casual runner, or thinking about being a casual runner, good shoes are imperative. You can wear an old t-shirt and 20-year-old Bermuda shorts, but don’t scrimp on your shoes. Your feet will thank you for taking care of them.
 
Choices, Choices, Choices
 
Shopping for shoes is like shopping for a car — you have hundreds (thousands?) of brands and models to choose from. Where to start? Even if you’re not a real runner, running shoes may suit your lifestyle, anyway. “What we’ve seen over the last few years is that running shoes have taken the place of basketball shoes or cross-trainers as kind of a ‘be-all’ shoe for casual wear,” says Tom McLaughlan of Nike. “People like them because they are light, comfortable and provide a lot of support for your foot, no matter what you are doing.”
 
Light weight is a definite trend in running shoes. “Probably the biggest trend in running shoes over the past few years is that they have become lighter,” says Brian Laumeyer of Reebok. “Technology has let us use lighter materials, especially in the uppers, that provide just as much support, but with a lighter weight.” Shoe representatives agree that you can find very light shoes these days, and that light weight does not necessarily increase the price of the shoe.
 
If the Shoe Fits…
 
Finding the proper fit for any shoe is important, but with running shoes it is an even bigger issue. You will be pounding your soles on pavement and wherever-else, so you need to not just protect and cushion your feet, but you have to have the right fit. So how do you know if the shoe fits? “I know it sounds like a cop-out, but the sales associate in the store is probably your best source of help in fitting the shoe to your foot,” says Mike Prock of Asics. “The associate can tell how much you pronate, and find the right shoe for your foot.”
 
Pronation has traditionally been a big deal in running shoes. The pronated foot is one in which the heel bone angles inward and the arch tends to collapse. It flattens the arch as the foot strikes the ground in order to absorb shock when the heel hits the ground, and to assist in balance during mid-stance. If habits develop, this action can lead to foot pain as well as any number of foot and leg-related ailments.
 
However, there’s some controversy over pronation in the shoe industry these days. “For years, the prevailing wisdom was that pronation had to be corrected by the shoe,” says Prock. “But now, a minority school says essentially ‘pronation — so what?’ That theory says that as long as the foot is protected against the elements and that there is support and cushioning, that’s what’s important.”
 
Of course, your running mileage is also a factor. “A marathoner obviously has different needs than someone who is wearing the shoe for casual use,” says Brian Laumeyer.
 
So You’ve Always Wanted to Dunk a Basketball
 
In time for the London Olympics, Nike is introducing a new basketball shoe called the Hyperdunk. You’re 5’7” and you’ve always wanted to dunk a basketball? Well, stepladders aside, this may not realize that dream for you, but Nike says it will definitely help your “verticality.” Nike says the new shoe is light, more supportive, durable and breathable, and is expressly designed “to meet the demands of elite basketball players worldwide.”
 
The upper of the Hyperdunk uses high-strength cables for support and stability. These responsive cables are loose when at rest and dynamic when in motion, tensing to help stabilize the foot. A synthetic heel clip enhances lockdown, as the engineered foam and mesh of the upper reduces weight while further increasing breathability, strength and durability. Simultaneously, the collar of the shoe wraps lower in the back and higher over the front, increasing flexibility and lateral stability in the heel and ankle.
 
If that all sounds complicated, it probably is. But then basketball players need all the help they can get. “Basketball is one of the most demanding activities anywhere for the human foot,” says Nike’s Tom McLaughlan. “Think of all the lateral movements and quick cuts a basketball player makes while running. This shoe will definitely help support the foot and lessen the chances of blisters that are so common for these players.”
 
Less Drag in the Water
 
For swimming, Speedo introduced its Fastskin line in time for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. It uses tiny triangular projections that point backward so water spirals off the swimmer’s body. It must work, because 83% of the medals and 13 of the 15 world records in Sydney were set by Speedo swimmers. Now, in time for the London Olympics, the company is introducing the Fastskin3 — a complete system that integrates the suit, cap and goggles.
 
Miniscule reductions in body drag are critical for a world-class swimmer, but Speedo spokeswoman Audra Silverman, says for the recreational swimmer, it’s not all about speed. “Increased comfort is what most people are going to notice about our products — either in the Fastskin or the Elite line, which is geared more for the casual swimmer.”
 
A Sport for Every Player
 
There are hundreds of sports in the Olympics — and hundreds of sports you can try to get yourself off that couch. Want a family sport? How about table tennis? Perfect for a basement, and you don’t need as much room as the Olympians who sometimes seem like they’re in the next room when they play. Don’t have a partner? Try the Joola Ipong Topspin Table Tennis Robot to give you practice time.
 
Of course, there’s regular tennis, too, and a beginner’s racquet is surprisingly affordable — ditto for a can of balls.
 
Football (not soccer, but football, as the rest of the world calls it), is also an Olympic sport, and while the Olympics may not have the cachet of the quadrennial World Cup, it will still get plenty of attention world-wide.  It’s another sport that won’t cost you a lot — $15 for an entry level ball, though you can pay up to $70 for ‘thermal-bonded seamless surface(s)’ and ‘valve counterweights to improve flight characteristics.’
 
Want to try something a bit more exotic? How about boxing? No, you don’t have to slug it out with a family member or your neighbor (unless you want to), because there is a lot of boxing paraphernalia to keep you in shape without getting your head bashed in. Boxing gloves, a heavy bag and punch mitts can all give you an excellent workout in the comfort of your basement.
 
The Olympics will once again attract the largest television audiences of the year. But it seems a waste to just sit on the couch and watch. Even if you’ll never win a medal, Get in the Game!
 
-Fitness Fanatic
 
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Wild Times With Water Sports

Splash Into Summer with the Coolest Products on the Water.
 
The temperature may just be starting to rise, but it’s never too soon to start making summer plans. One spot that’s always cool? The water! Check out these products to get a leg up on summer and start riding the waves.
 
Tubing Time
 
Water trampolines are great for those looking to stay close to shore, but thrill seekers should turn to tubing for some seriously fast times. Tubes come in several different styles,  including single and multi-rider accommodation, and are designed for sitting in or on top of. Sit-in styles are perfect for young kids who need to stay put, while sit-on models add excitement — riders have to hold on tight! Traditional round shaped tubes are best suited for casual floating, whereas aerodynamic styles are better for speed rides. The Comfort Top Boogie by Body Glove is one such tube, featuring winged sides that allow the device to rock and move with motion of the waves. “It has less drag on the water, so you can go a bit faster,” says Bryce Parten of Nash Sports.
 
Wake Up
 
A hybrid of water skiing and snowboarding, wakeboarding is another exciting sport. Since there’s only one board to control and it features a large surface area (like wide skis) to stand on, it’s easier for riders to maintain balance and stay afloat when boarding. “It’s better when there are less parts to deal with,” says Parten. The Backdraft wakeboard by Hydroslide features easy on-off bindings for stable mounting in the water.
 
All Aboard
 
A simpler, but equally fun, activity is kneeboarding. An excellent tool for water sports newbies, the kneeboard is easy for many to ride and learn how to maneuver. After just a few short turns on the water, even beginning kneeboarders may soon find themselves crossing wakes and experimenting with tricks in no time!
 
Sports Safety
 
Like all games, water sports are the most fun when played safely. One of the most important components of safety is having a responsible driver steering the boat. In addition to a trusty driver, there should be another occupant, called a spotter, observing the actions and instructions from the person being towed behind the boat. It’s not only for safety’s sake, “It’s the law!” reminds Gerry Gilinksy of Body Glove PFDs.
 
Wearing a correctly fitted life vest is also essential to keep everyone safe, whether they are in or near the water. A properly sized life vest should fit snug to the body because it will likely expand when it gets wet. If it’s too big, it can slide up over the wearer’s head and render it ineffective. Gilinsky recommends vests made from neoprene for a more precise fit. “Neoprene vests fit tighter and are truer to size,” he says. “It’s also a thicker material [and] good for the cold.”
 
Bring on the Fun
 
With the wide variety of products now available, water enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy the excitement and thrills of water sports. There may not be a better way to enjoy the warm weather this summer than riding the waves, getting wet and cooling off with family and friends. Make it a summer to remember.
 
-Water baby
 
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