Paddleboard It Up!

Part surfboard, part kayak: pure challenge

Those who like to play on their feet may want to try stand-up paddleboarding.  While paddleboarding is a close relative of both kayaking and surfing, it offers more of a workout than kayaking but is much easier to master than surfing.

While the origins of paddleboarding can be traced to Hawaii and that state’s surfing culture, the sport’s popularity has increased rapidly in recent years, and it is now a favored activity almost anywhere that water can be found. Thanks to the introduction of flat bottom and touring models, paddleboarding has recently become very popular on calm inland waters.

As with kayaks, wider paddleboards are more stable than narrow boards, while narrow boards are faster. To avoid learning frustration, it’s best to start with a wide board. Most paddleboards have a deck pad on top that provides good traction for your feet. The newest boards from Pelican International also have a dry hatch, bungee cords, carrying handles, and a flexible rubber fin that enhances stability.

Paddle choice will depend on your height. You should choose a paddle that’s six to ten inches taller than you. Most paddles include a central angle or elbow to keep the blade correctly positioned in the water.

Mounting and riding a stand-up paddleboard requires a bit of finesse. The paddle can be used as an outrigger to provide stability while climbing aboard. The novice paddler may want to bring a friend along to help steady the board. When paddling, your feet should be about two feet apart and centered between the rails. Your knees should be slightly bent and your toes should be pointing toward the front of the board.  Your first attempt is best made on calm water, as it will be easier to stabilize the board in mild conditions.

Like other activities that require practice and skill development, stand-up paddleboarding returns dividends for those who master the sport. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of skimming rapidly and quietly across an expanse of open water under your own power and on your feet.

Note: Please make sure you are wearing the proper equipment and consider your safety before particpating.

-Paddle Bum

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Fit For Life

 [Written by Peter Nielsen].
Researchers at UT Southwestern published two studies of sixty-six thousand people last month that indicate fitness in mid-life is a strong barometer for future heart health. In these studies, treadmill testing was used to gauge cardiovascular endurance and muscle fatigue. The results were translated to average mile times, resulting in a simple formula for doctors and individuals to rate their fitness level at midlife, which will help predict long-term heart risk.
One of the studies, which appeared in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology,evaluated the risk of heart disease for 45, 55 and 65 year old men based on fitness level and accepted risk factors, including age, blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and smoking habits. Researchers found that midlife fitness is an important factor in an indivual’s lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease.
The data from the study indicates that a man in his fifties who can run a mile in 8 minutes or under, or a woman who can run the mile in 9 minutes or less, is in a high level of fitness. A  9 minute mile for a man and 10.5 minutes for a woman displays moderate fitness, while men running a 10-minute or more mile and women needing more than 12 minutes are in the low-fitness category. Researchers performing this study stated that a higher fitness level lowers the life-long risk of heart disease even in people with other risk factors. The difference in risk for heart problems is huge. Subjects in the high fitness group have a 10 percent lifetime risk, compared with 30 percent for those in the low fitness group.
A separate study, published in Circulation, found that the same treadmill test is more accurate in predicting how likely a person is to die of heart disease or stroke than assessing the risk using only typical prediction tools such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
More study is needed before exact mile times can be used as guideposts for cardiovascular risk. However, because the pace at which a person runs is a measure of fitness that people can easily understand, it is a good starting point for measuring overall fitness. Expect to hear more about this important development soon!
Another proof that a healthy regimen now will help keep you Fit for Life!
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The Key to Youthfulness

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
The most common reasons for adopting an exercise regimen are improved health and weight loss or gain. Additionally, many people target specific areas in their quest for perfect abdomenals or aim for an overall sculpted look.  One terrific result we don’t hear of often is the striking anti-aging effects of a fitness program. Conversely, a sedentary lifestyle actually speeds up the rate of aging! What are the components of an anti-aging fitness program?
Strength Training
Strength training has become accepted as the single most effective type of exercise for longevity because it increases the amount of lean body mass, or muscle, an important guard against an overall decline in health and quality of life. Resistance or strength training does several things that are critical to an antiaging system. First it builds muscle, and the more muscle you have the more fat your body will burn, even when you are at rest. Muscle is also an important factor in the prevention of osteoporosis, because muscle exerts torsional (twisting) force on your bones, causing them to become stronger and denser, which aids in the prevention of bone mass loss.  Additionally, muscle burns sugar when we are active, starting with the sugar in your bloodstream. As a result, sugar in the blood is not converted to fat, and  strength training aids in controlling the blood sugar level!
Strength training uses barbells, dumbbells, elastic cables, and other exercise devices.
Whether through illness or aging, joint motion can become more restricted and flexibility decreased because changes in tendons and ligaments. As the cushioning cartilage breaks down from use, joints become inflamed and arthritic. Strengthening your body’s core improves your flexibility and there are many programs which target flexibility from Pilates and yoga to Tai Chi or even ballroom dancing! Remember, many of the changes in our musculoskeletal system result more from disuse than aging. Less than 10 percent of Americans participate in regular exercise, and the most sedentary group is older than 50 years of age. Best way to increase your flexibility — get moving!
Aerobic training improves and maintains the heart’s ability to supply oxygen carrying blood to the body. Recommendations for minimal cardiovascular training are that individuals need to reach a heart rate of 80% of age predicted maximum (220 minus your age in years) and keep it there for approximately 15-20 minutes three times per week. A 1966 study, conducted mainly to help NASA scientists understand the effects of zero gravity, found that with as little as 6 months of moderate aerobic exercise, middle-aged individuals can reverse the effects of decades of aging on cardiovascular fitness. If that’s not enough to get you started, think of the beautiful glow that comes after a good aerobic workout!
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Water Sports at Their Slickest

When the air is hot, skin is sticky and kids are whining there’s only one thing to do – take it outside and into the water! Swim, float or get adventurous and take a stab at water sports with a couple of these products for some seriously cool summer fun.
Hopping on Water
When some think of water sports they imagine tricky back flips on wakeboards and choreographed routines on jet skis – but not all water sports are so elaborate.
One of the simplest and most popular products is the water trampoline, a giant inflatable trampoline that rests on the water’s surface. Designed for rest and play, one can lounge on the mat to catch some rays or bounce high to the sky while getting splashed from below.
The Arsenal, a popular model by water sports manufacturer Hydroslide can be left inflated all summer of long, or easily deflated and packed up for a weekend trip to the lake. It should be noted that while undeniably fun, water trampolines are not built like ground trampolines, so users are not going to get as much bounce height as they would on the ground – instead they just get wet!
Tubular Times
Tubing is always a big summertime hit, because almost anyone can do it – no fancy equipment or skills required. “You can pull a tube with just about anything with a motor,” says O’Brien Representative.
With a vast selection of tube types available, users are sure to find one to suit their needs. Single and multi-rider tubes with individual seats make for a relaxing journey on the water, whereas extreme tubes are built for fast, exciting rides. One tube that falls between the two categories is the Super Screamer by O’Brien. A two-person lay-on type tube, the device features a flat top with neoprene padding for comfort that tubers can stretch across and still catch air with when hitting the waves.
The Bees Knees
Another exciting and easy to use water accessory is the kneeboard. Kneeboards can be a great tool for those just starting to get their feet wet in the world of water sports since the learning curve is fairly shallow. “You can start doing tricks like 180s and 360s after just a few tries,” says O’Brien. Designed for kids as young as seven, kneeboards can be a good stepping stone between tubing and more challenging sports like skiing or wakeboarding. The Radica by O’Brien and the Revolution by Hydroslide are both popular basic kneeboards and perfect for beginners.
Get Wet
With so many exciting activities to choose from, warm weather bashers will have little to complain about this summer – all it takes is a dip in the lake and a something that floats to start having fun with water sports.
-Water baby
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