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Archive for the ‘Watersports’ Category

Get Hooked on Fishing

With the right gear, you can seek, catch and enjoy the rewards of your day’s work.
Fishing can be a great way to make memories with family this summer. And it doesn’t take a lot of gear to get started. You just need some basic pieces of equipment and a body of water!
If you’re interested in getting a little bit closer to the sport, try one of many kinds of watercraft that’s perfect for fishing, from motorboats to canoes to kayaks (see “No Motor, No Problem” article on page 10). No matter your vesicle of choice, fishing is a great time for all.
Get the Basics
A basic tool of any fisherman is the hook. If you’re looking for the perfect hook for your expedition, try Eagle Claw. With the Eagle Claw brand hooks, you can get a high quality for a competitive price.
“Eagle Claw hooks are the only hooks Made in the USA, and are built with integrity, honesty and 85+ years of hook-making experience and heritage,” said John Vander Sloot of Eagle Claw.
To get all your equipment out on the water, try a Plano tackle bag. The Weekend Series comes in two sizes. The smaller 3600 model is great for fishermen using a kayak or smaller boat. Both the 3600 and larger 3700 models will come with two stowaways and three exterior zippered pockets. They also have shoulder straps for easy transportation.
If you have more equipment to carry, you could try the Plano M-Series tackle bags, which also come in a smaller 3600 model and a larger 3700 model. These bags come with four stowaways and room for eight total. They also have several exterior pockets to keep your favorite tools close at hand. They also have an impact-resistant, waterproof base to keep your equipment dry.
“These bags will make a great storage option for any hardcore angler,” said Nate Rice of Plano. “Dunhams offers a large selection of Plano Stowaways in many sizes to accommodate every angler’s needs. If an angler is looking for large size stowaways for big jerkbaits or small stowaways for hooks, split shot and flies, Dunham’s and Plano have you covered.
At Dunham’s you’ll find a variety of South Bend combos, such as the Ready2Fish Multispecies Spinning Combo. This combo comes with a reusable tackle kit. There’s also the Ready2Fish Multispecies Spincast Combo. Both models come with line prespooled, ball bearing drives and a graphite reel seat.
Eagle Claw doesn’t just have hooks. They also offer a rod that works perfectly for the kayaking fishermen. The Packit rod and reel combo has a spinning reel with a 5’6” rod.
“This combo is favored by kayak fishermen because of the telescoping ability of the rod,” said Vander Sloot. “Instead of maneuvering to one’s next fishing spot with a rod dangling in the kayak, the Packit rod telescopes down to 18 inches. This makes it much more convenient for the kayaker to move to their next fishing spot.”
You could also try the Ugly Stik GX2 combo. Jim Burrows of Pure Fishing said this combo is designed to be extra durable. Pure Fishing offers several products for all kinds of fishermen, including the Abu Garcia Max Series.
“Pure Fishing is constantly redesigning and redeveloping our products on a continuing basis,” Burrows said. “We do this so that our products represent and afford the best possible product one should consider.”
A Growing Trend: Kayak Fishing
There is another fishing tool gaining popularity in recent years: the kayak. Fishing from a kayak can offer a different kind of experience from wading or using a boat with a motor, which is why it’s growing in popularity.
“It is much quicker and easier to throw a kayak in the back of your truck or SUV,” said Mike Reis of South Bend. “It also enables you to go fishing in places where launching a boat is impossible. And as every angler knows, if you fish where there’s not a lot of pressure – the fishing is usually amazing!”
Reis’ piece of advice for kayak fishermen is to make sure all your tools are secured to the boat. Try attaching some fishing rod floaters or rod leashes to your combos so you won’t lose them in the water. Reis also suggests a lip gripper if you’re fishing for larger game. This will make it easy to grab the fish from the water without ending up in the water yourself. And as always, remember your life jacket!
“There’s an old joke about kayak fishermen. There are two kinds: those who have rolled their kayak, and those who will roll their kayak,” Reis said.
We have everything you need, whether you’re a wader, kayaker or any other kind of fisherman. Get everything you need for a successful and fun fishing season and Dunham’s Sports!
-Hook, Line & Sinker
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No Motor, No Problem, Give Kayak Fishing A Try This Season

Summer is here, and that means it’s time to get back on the water. Try adding a new tool to your fishing equipment this year: a kayak! No matter what kind of fisherman you are, Dunham’s Sports has the right kayak and accessories to meet your needs.
Matt Yablonowski of Perception said people are using kayaks to fish for a number of reasons. Kayaks are less expensive to own and maintain than a traditional motorboat. And because they use paddles rather than gas, you can get great exercise in a kayak. They are also much quieter than a motorboat and smaller, making getting into shallow water or tight spaces easier.
Yablonowski said sales of fishing kayaks have gone up year over year for the past six to seven years. But the rise in popularity of kayaks doesn’t mean anglers are abandoning their old watercraft. Some people are simply adding to their fleet.
Kayaks come in two basic varieties: sit-on-top and sit-inside, or sit-in. Yablonowski said the sit-on-top variety is more popular in warmer climates, but it’s increasing in popularity in other regions because the open deck offers the convenience of having gear readily available. The more traditional kayaks are the sit-inside models. These are more popular in northern regions for freshwater fishing.
Yablonowski suggests looking for a kayak with comfortable seating in addition to stability, storage and rod holders. A place to put your paddles while you cast and a work tray for tackle are also features to look for. And if you already have a kayak, you can add after-market accessories to your boat to make it fit your needs.
Kayaks Have Character
You can find both sit-on-top and sit-in fishing kayaks at Dunham’s. See which one feels more comfortable to you. Matthew Ross of Pelican International says that kayaks built for the rider to sit on top are generally more popular with fishermen as they offer more range of motion.
“Fishing from a kayak has absolutely exploded over the last couple of years,” says Ross. “More and more fishermen are either also fishing from a kayak or are making the switch to kayak fishing from traditional angling from fishing boats. Kayak fishing allows you to fish in more shallow waters. It doesn’t pollute or use any gas, and the additional paddling exercise is very beneficial.”
Ross says fishermen should look for a kayak with plenty of storage for all their gear. It’s also a good idea to look for a boat with rod holders, which can be either flush mount or swivel.
“Anglers of all walks are turning to kayaks for their relatively low cost (compared to large bass- or multi-species boats), small footprint, minimal maintenance, health and wellness component, ease of launching, and getting into fish-holding waters that bigger boats cannot reach,” says Jim Edlund of Old Town. When searching for the perfect fishing kayak, Edlund suggests looking for stability, comfort, ease of rigging, ease of transport and maneuverability.
Check Out these Kayaks at Dunham’s
One of Perception’s models is the Pescador PRO. This sit-on-top kayak comes in two sizes—Pescador PRO 10 and Pescador PRO 12—both of which feature a two-position, stadium-style seat, a tankwell with a bungee, a mold-in cup holder, and rod holders.
Perception also offers its sit-in Prodigy 10 Angler exclusively at Dunham’s. Beyond the basic features of its Prodigy 10 base model, the Angler features two flush-mount rod holders, one Scotty rod holder, an anchor and an anchor trolley.
Pelican’s sit-in model, the Bounty 100x Angler, is great if you want to keep your legs dry. It has flush-mount rod holders and a swivel rod holder, adjustable footrests and padded backrest, and a cockpit table with a bottle holder and compartments.
There’s also the Catch 120 kayak from Pelican, which is great for fishermen who prefer to stand. It offers a 400-pound capacity, a water-resistant hatch and a storage platform. It also has a seat that can be adjusted or completely removed.
Old Town offers its Vapor 10 Angler at Dunham’s. This kayak is just 10 feet long and 49 pounds, making it easy to unload, launch and stow on your vehicle’s rooftop or bed—and great for anglers of any age. The boat has an adjustable comfort flex seat, foot braces, an anchor trolley system, and flush-mount rod holders.
Try something new this fishing season. Come to Dunham’s and check out our selection of fishing kayaks.
-Hook, Line & Sinker
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Enjoy Your Time on the Water with the Proper Safety Gear

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 90 percent of the people who drown in a boating or water accident would be alive today if they had been wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident. Avoid being part of this statistic by following proper watersports safety guidelines and making sure you and your family are wearing the correct gear.
Start by reviewing the guidelines in your area as they differ from state to state. For example, Michigan requires that children less than 6 years of age wear a Type I or Type II personal flotation device (PFD) when riding in the open deck area of a boat. In all instances, be sure the PFD is U.S. Coast Guard approved.
“We offer three different sizes of children’s vests and we strongly recommend that children wear them around any body of water, including pools. Of course, it’s also extremely important that adults wear them whenever they are engaged in a watersport activity,” said Body Glove’s Jono Siegel.
Dunham’s Sports carries Body Glove’s Phantom line of vests, which are available in child (30-50 lbs.), youth (50-90 lbs.), men’s and women’s sizes. The adult sizes range from small to 2XL.
“Phantom vests feature a neoprene outer shell, which, unlike nylon, will feel better against your skin since it’s a more comfortable material. These vests also feature lumbar support and segmentation for easier movement,” Siegel added.
Also featuring a neoprene outer shell is the Traditional Vest from O’Brien. This vest offers the security of 2-belts and a zip closure. O’Brien also offers a nylon 4-belt adjustable Sport Vest, with versions available in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes.
“We’ve learned that people will tend to buy neoprene vests for themselves and nylon vests for their guests. Nylon and neoprene provide the same level of safety protection, so the difference is price and comfort,” explained O’Brien’s Scott Houseman.
According to the Coast Guard, the PFD must fit snugly and not allow the wearer’s chin or ears to slip through. Be sure to try them on in the store while wearing light (not bulky) clothing. Both of our experts recommend proper care to ensure the PFDs last a long time and work as designed.
“Make sure they dry out properly after use and store them out of the sun,” Houseman said.
“Test them for wear and buoyancy at least once each year. Waterlogged, faded or leaky jackets should be replaced,” Siegel added.
Follow these suggestions to ensure an enjoyable and safe season on the water.
-Water baby
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In The Swim

Ingear swimwear will be seen in all the wet places the summer.
The summer sun beckons. And active women head to the beach, the pool, and the lake. Whether it’s boating, swimming, surfing or just soaking up sunshine, today’s young women do it with grace and style.
Providing a large measure of style for the active young woman is the goal of Ingear Fashions. Ingear is a leading manufacturer of swimwear, and the company now produces a stunning product line for Dunham’s, the store where you’ll find everything to support a sporting lifestyle.
For the Active Woman
Patti Luner, Ingear Director of Sales-Key Accounts, says, “Ingear is fashionable swimwear that supports an active lifestyle. Dunham’s carries our Junior Contemporary line, which is aimed at 16 to 28 year old young women who are on the go, or, as Dunham’s would say, in the game.”
All the Ingear swimwear available at Dunham’s is two-piece bikini style. All suits are made of Lycra and fully lined. The triangle-style tops are designed with built-in support. The suits reflect this season’s most desirable colors and designs and are finely detailed. Many have braided trim and braiding detail on the ties.
Simply Brilliant
Bright colors are big this year, and the Ingear line doesn’t disappoint with brilliant coral and white suits trimmed with ruffles. Equally delightful are black and white zigzag patterns with colorful coral trim, and all-American red, white and blue suits that will surely be hitting the nation’s beaches on Memorial Day and Independence Day.
Aztec prints — geometric designs that evoke Native American imagery — will be gracing a lot of bikinis this year. The Ingear interpretation of that look features coral rose, a visually stunning color that has played to rave reviews on the runways and in the fashion magazines.
Geometric prints in black and white, known in the fashion industry as ikat prints, are once again popular this year. Solid black suits are big sellers as well, and many customers are buying the geometric print suit and the solid black bikini. That allows them to mix and match. For example, the black-and-white print top looks great with the solid black bottom.
Covering Up
Colorful cover-ups will come in handy when the day grows cool. Ingear’s newest designs, which are available at Dunham’s in two color choices, can be worn as a seamless tube dress or rolled down and worn as a skirt. Either way, they make a pretty picture.
You’ll find the new for 2016 Ingear swimwear in a dazzling display at your Dunham’s store. Stop by, choose your bikini, and get in the game!
-Water baby
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The Prespawn Bass Breakfast Bash

When the bass head for the shallows, it’s time for you to get up off the couch.
Like many of us, big bass get awful lazy during the winter. Unlike most of us, they have enough sense to stop eating a lot when they’re pretty much immobile and not getting very much exercise. But when it’s time to get up and move about again in early spring, those bass sure are hungry. For most of the bass I’ve run across, that early spring wake up comes just before the spawn, and as the bass start moving toward shallower water, they suddenly realize it’s been a really long time since they’ve had a good meal. It’s the perfect opportunity for some great fishing, and most anglers call it the prespawn. As a bass fisherman, it’s your job to help those bass find something that appears to be a good meal and then get them in the boat before they have a chance to digest it.
Finding the Fish
But first you have to figure out when the fish are going to leave the deep water where they’ve been waiting out the winter and where you might be able to intercept them as they travel back and forth to the shallows to feed. In most lakes the prespawn begins when the water temperature rises above 50°F or so. In terms of where you might find them, the key lies in locating the path the bass follow when moving from the deep to the shallows. There will be stopping off points along the way, frequently at the edge of a drop off and often where there are structures or debris on the bottom. Tree stumps, rock piles and even old fence posts seem to spell dinner for prespawn bass.
Gather up Your Gear
You’re going to want a good durable rod and reel, and Dunham’s offers a large selection. The Ugly Stik GX2 combo is always a good choice as are the Abu Garcia Max series bait cast combos and reels. I like to wind some tough-as-nails Spider wire line.
What kind of dinner entrée should you offer to the hungry bass? Dunham’s has a lot of choices on the menu. A slow-moving worm or jig is just fine for just about any half awake and slow-moving bass. If you’re using artificial worms, treat them with some scent. A slow retrieve on a good spinner like the Strike King Mini-King or Mepps Aglia Spinner works really well for many bass fishermen. But I wouldn’t hesitate to tie on a crank bait either, although I’d fish it slower than I would in warm weather. Many fishermen report excellent success with Rapala Husky Jerk and Shad Rap crank baits. Shad Rap closely resembles baitfish found nearly everywhere. The KVD Square Bill crank baits from Strike King are another good choice. Crank baits can run deep in those drop offs you’ll find right before the shallows. Slowly bounce them off some underwater structures, and the bass will move in for a meal.
If you don’t get any strikes in 20 minutes or so, move on to another good-looking spot. The fish are going to be schooled somewhere between the deep and the shallows but likely more toward the shallows. Your job is to find them. They most definitely aren’t out looking for you.
Try to Stay Warm
Fishermen in the Midwest and North Central states will probably be fishing for prespawn bass long before it’s pleasant outside. In fact, it might be pretty darn cold, even after the water temperature has reached 50°F. And once you’re out on the lake, it’s going to be too late to put on another layer of clothes. You can always take something off.
A snowmobile suit is a good hedge against old man winter’s last gasp. Ski outfits are pretty darn warm as well. If you don’t want to spend that much of your gear money on clothes, do like some of us did back in the day: wear two pairs of pants and two shirts, plus that winter jacket or parka. Don’t forget some good flexible gloves and a warm hat as well.
While some anglers are going to wait for warm weather to get out on the lake, those folks are going to miss some of the best fishing of the season. Get up out of that winter easy chair, head out on the lake and treat a lunker bass to breakfast.
-Hook, Line & Sinker
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Get Out, Lie Down

The kids are getting out of school and the weather is getting hot. That can only mean one thing—summer!
This time of year is great for being outside and soaking up sunshine, no matter where you are. Hot summer weather also means lots of fun in any body of water—from the pool to the lake!
Water sports may be what you look forward to doing all week. There’s plenty of fun to be had water skiing, wakeboarding or tubing. But there may be another kind of water recreation on your mind this summer—relaxing! And relaxing is something that everyone in the family can participate in. Leisure time out on the water can be the perfect way to take in the summer sun.
If it’s leisurely time you’re in the mood for, Dunham’s has all the Nash Sports products you’ll need, including those with the Comfort Top.
“On the Dual Lounger and on the Aqua Plank, the Comfort Top surface makes the item super comfortable,” said Brian Zaletel of Nash Sports. “It is an edge-to-edge finish that is non-abrasive with a super soft feel.”
The Comfort Top items are growing in popularity, Zaletel said. The Comfort Top is available in the Aqua Plank and the Dual Lounger in addition to several towable models. With this material, you can relax in total comfort.
“The Comfort Top doesn’t get cold and crack. Doesn’t get hot in the sun,” Zaletel said about Comfort Top. “It is just a nice surface that works in all conditions.”
There are plenty of Nash Sports products available for Summer 2014. The Body Glove one-person Easy Rider River Float, Water Bug with matching floating cooler, and the Riviera Foam Floats are all great options! The Riviera floats come in a variety of colors. Any of the floats available are great for the pool, lake or river. Zaletel says if you’re headed to the lake, you might want to try the Comfort Top Aqua Plank which measures 6 feet by 12 feet. If you want even more room, the Aqua Planks have zippers to attach several floats together!
So get out this summer and relax on the water. Try one of the many Nash Sports products available at your local Dunham’s Sports. With all of the selections available enabling you to either rip up the waves or saw some Z’s, you can’t make a wrong choice for the summer.
“After a rough day this is the perfect way to unwind,” said Zaletel.
-Water baby
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Puddle Wonderful

The snow has melted, the grass is green, and it’s time to play.
It’s spring when the world is puddle-wonderful,” wrote poet ee cummings, heralding the season many love most. Almost everything about spring is wonderful: the greening of nature, the change from bitter cold to just right, the feeling that this is a time for new beginnings. The urge to break out the sporting gear and head out to the lakes, baseball diamonds, links and soccer fields.
If you don’t enjoy a sport, spring is a great time to take one up. If you’re a seasoned sportsman or sportswoman, it’s time to get up and go!
On the Links
I was a golf fanatic as a teenager, couldn’t wait to get out on the fairways come spring. And sometimes I didn’t wait. Back about half a century ago or so, a buddy and I headed out to a public course in Chicago in late March, only to find it was all mud and snow. The clubhouse was shuttered, but we tried to play a round. We made it through three holes before our feet were wet and our hands numb.
Getting out too early isn’t recommended, but you do want to be ready for opening day at your favorite course. If you’re just getting started and would like some helpful hints, golf instructor Nick Lico’s article, “Beginner Golfers Can Play Like the Pros,” can point you in the right direction. Nick’s tips can help you avoid the frustration that ill-prepared beginners can experience.
Seasoned golfers on the other hand, will want to brush up on the latest gear – equipment engineered to lower that handicap. Mr. Lico has the straight dope on what’s new for 2014. See “Advancements in Golf Technology = Better Scores.” You might be surprised to discover how much high science goes into producing low scores.
Batter Up!
Nothing says spring like the crack of a bat, and nobody knows baseball better than Dunham’s. In this issue, we sort through the needs of beginning players, helping moms and dads figure out what’s required for success in Tee Ball and Little League. It all starts with training aids and equipment geared to the needs of young players. You’ll find a review of what’s available in the article titled “Play Ball.”
If you’re an experienced ballplayer moving up to senior leagues, high school ball or NCAA competition, you’ll also want to move up to equipment that’s as good as your game. We talked to experts at Easton and Wilson as well as Dunham’s baseball consultants to put together a review of equipment engineered to help every player succeed in the upper levels of amateur baseball. It’s all in “Moving on Up.”
We’ve Been Kicking this Around
While baseball and football may be America’s most popular spectator sports, the game we all play is soccer. (Just to keep us confused, our friends in other countries call it football.)
But there’s really nothing confusing about soccer. The basics are simple: two goals, two teams, a ball, and no hands please. The last part is the hardest for youngsters to learn. If you watch mini-kid soccer games, you’ll hear the coaches shouting, “no hands! NO HANDS!”
Because it involves high-speed action, soccer is great exercise; with minimal risk of injury, it’s one of the safest sports for kids. And come spring, many kids, teens and adults can’t wait to get back out on the soccer field. Today, with indoor soccer growing in popularity, they don’t have to wait. “The Ins and Outs of Soccer“ takes a look at how the indoor game differs from outdoor soccer and reviews the equipment you or your child will need to take up the indoor game. Find all the soccer equipment you need at Dunham’s.
The Ice is Out, the Kayak is In
The ice has melted on our lakes and streams, and it’s time to get out the kayak. Or should we say the kayaks, because kayaking is an ideal family sport and many of us have several or more boats stashed in the garage, waiting for the first day of the season.
If you don’t have kayaks stashed in the garage, you should. Kayaking is easy with the right equipment, and it’s great exercise for the entire family. Our article, “Families Who Kayak Together Have More Fun,” offers some hints on choosing boats for one and all.
The Season Opener
Me, I’m going bass fishing on the first day of the season, which is the Saturday before Memorial Day on Michigan inland waters. I’ll probably take a baitcasting reel and rod and some crankbaits and see if I can get some love from a lunker largemouth on one of Michigan’s 10,000 lakes. If you’d like to try your hand at bass fishing, you’ll find some tips in the article titled “Tempting Mr. Bass.”
That’s a wrap for now, but don’t forget that Dunham’s has everything you need for every sporting season, along with the expert advice that can make your game more fun. Stop by your Dunham’s store today for everything you need to get in the game.
-Your Friends at Dunham’s
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Families Who Kayak Together Have More Fun

Thank goodness winter is over. For those of us who aren’t into winter sports, spring couldn’t come fast enough this year, and with it, a return to water activities. Few other watersports for the family are enjoying the growing popularity that kayaking and stand up paddleboards are seeing.
“We’re seeing more families buying multiple boats. Typically, it starts off with a parent buying a kayak and before long, other family members want their own,” said Mark Palinsky of Old Town Canoes and Kayaks. He recommends his company’s Vapor and Dirigo models for their stability and all-purpose use.
“Kayaks for kids and stand up paddleboards continue to grow in popularity,” said Lisa Senecal, Pelican International. “Prices are coming down, making it more affordable to get the family into the sport.”
When buying a kayak for your children, the experts offer the following advice: Make sure you get your child a boat that he or she is going to be comfortable in. A lot of people make the mistake of buying a kayak that’s too big for the child, thinking that the child will grow into it. Both of our experts warn against this approach, as it can lead to unenjoyable and unsafe situations for the child.
Sit-On-Top kayaks and SUPs are great options for anyone new to
the sport, as they tend to be very stable. “Our Vibe 80 is great for kids. It’s a stand up paddleboard that is very stable and easy to rectify if it starts tipping,” Senecal added. Her company is also noticing greater interest in specialty boards. She mentioned that women are using them for yoga and core exercising. A chance to get some sun, fresh air and exercise: what a winning combination!
No matter which option you choose, safe boating is paramount. Both experts recommend wearing a properly fitting personal floating device and to never paddle alone. “This is a sport that is safer and much more enjoyable when shared with someone,” Palinsky said.
“Be aware of the water and weather conditions to make sure they are favorable for boating,” Senecal added. She also recommends a sound device, such as a whistle, to warn other crafts.
Dunham’s carries a wide range of kayaks and SUPs in a variety of purposes, configurations and price points. Be sure to consult with a sales representative to help you make an informed decision.
-Paddle Bum
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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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