Stepping Forward

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Warm weather marks a new season for runners, walkers, joggers and a many other sports enthusiasts … from baseball and tennis players to street hockey and skate boarders. An important part of your athletic regimen is the equipment you use, and a basic, very imporant item is your shoes. Appropriate, well-fitting shoes are not only important for comfort, they offer you great benefits.
 
• Arch support is important if you are taking part in a regular exercise routine. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that runners with flat feet ask a specialist for recommendations on running shoes.
 
• Midsole foot cushioning — cushion of the area between the ball and heel of the foot – can reduce stress placed on the heel, ankles and toes when running. This not only makes running more comfortable, it can help improve body mechanics and reduce or prevent knee, hip and back pain.
 
• Injury prevention – especially for specific types of injury caused by extensive running — is a vital benefit of proper footwear. Together, midsole cushioning and arch support can help prevent overuse injuries, such as tendonitis, stress fractures and joint pain — and protect against cuts and scrapes to the feet!
 
The American Council on Exercise has stated that using the right shoe can help you make greater gains in your athletic regimen. There are a lot of shoes out there, the first step in choosing the correct pair for you is understanding your foot type!
 
• If your shoes are most worn down on the inside, you have a low arch; your footprint shows almost the entire foot, and your feet roll distinctively inward. In this case, wear motion-control running shoes. They should have maximum supportive features as well as substantial cushioning in high strike areas of the heel and forefoot. These shoes are also excellent for the larger-framed runner. However, if the outside of your heel hits the ground first, and rolls inward slightly, consider stability shoes. Stability running shoes give extra support through the midsole and heel to help your feet work better. Select a shoe with a straight shape.
 
• If your shoes show uniform wear across the forefoot, your feet have a distinct curve along the inside of your foot, and your heel and toes are connected by a band that is slightly less than half the width of your foot, you have a normal arch. With a normal arch, the middle to slightly outward part of the heel strikes the ground first and the foot rolls slightly inward, absorbing shock more effectively. You should use stability running shoes with a semi-curved shape.
 
• If your shoes show more wear on the outer sides, you have a high arch. Your footprint shows a thin outer band between your heel and toe, the outside of the heel strikes the ground first and does not roll inward, staying on the outside causing the impact to be concentrated on a smaller area of the foot. Look for cushioned shoes with a curved shape to encourage foot movement, these shoes should be more concerned with midsole cushioning that support, and provide extra shock absorption to make up for the lack of pronation that comes with high arches.
 
Whether you’re just beginning a running program or are an old pro at it, enjoy the beautiful weather and step forward to a healthy, fit lifestyle!
 
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Garmin’s Vivofit Gets You Moving

If you’re interested in keeping track of your physical fitness, you’ve no doubt heard about wearable activity bands. What started out as simple pedometers to track your steps, have become devices to monitor nearly all aspects of your physical activity, even your sleep patterns.
 
At Dunham’s Sports you can find a variety of wearable activity bands, including the Vivofit from Garmin.
 
The Vivofit is perfect for a first-time user. Anthony Hall of Garmin says this band is a great choice for the budget-conscious individual who wants to improve their health.
The Vivofit is worn like a bracelet. It has a screen to show steps taken, goal progress, distance traveled and calories burned. And with the date and time display, the bracelet doubles as a watch.
 
Not sure where you’d start? The Vivofit sets up goals for you. And every time you reach a goal, the device sets a new one for you. Hall says no other band on the market does that. And if you need a little help getting started, the band alerts you when you’ve been sedentary for too long. After one hour of inactivity, a red bar appears on the display and keeps growing the longer you don’t move. Just take a short walk to reset the timer.
 
Hall says the Vivofit’s screen is part of what makes it stand out from the other bands on the market. The display makes it easy to see your activity, without having to rely on your smartphone. And when you do want to sync it up, the Bluetooth-capability makes it easy.
 
“With most competitors you have to sync in order to see your activity,” Hall said. “What’s awesome about the Vivo series is their screen and the ability to track without having to constantly pair with your phone.”
 
Vivofit has a one-year battery life, which means you won’t have to take the band off to charge it.
 
The band can be used with the Garmin heart rate monitor. That means that even if your activity doesn’t take you on the move, such as yoga or spinning class, you can still get an accurate measure of how many calories you’ve burned and how much physical activity you’ve gotten.
 
Looking to engage in some friendly competition? Vivofit has that covered, too. You can go to garminconnect.com and join their community for free.
 
“Our online community is huge,” Hall said. “You can get in competition with others, or you can build your own group of friends/coworkers and have a challenge.”
With the Garmin Vivofit band, you can get more engaged in your physical activity and set some new goals along the way!
 
-Fitness Fanatic
 
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Take to the Water in a New Kayak

Looking for something new to do out on the water this Spring? Why not try kayaking! There are just a few things to know before picking one out for yourself.
 
With so many features and models on the market, you can find a kayak for almost every kind of water and condition. You should first determine where you’ll be doing most of your kayaking. Will you be out on a calm lake or traveling down a river? You also have the option of either a sit-in model or a sit-on one.
 
“Beginners would typically start with something wider, more stable,” said Luke LaBree of Old Town Canoe and Kayaks. “More experienced paddlers, with maybe the exception of anglers, tend to veer toward narrower kayaks as they can cut through the water faster.”
 
Dunham’s Sports is currently offering the Old Town Vapor series, which features padded adjustable seats, adjustable foot braces and a cockpit tray.
 
Greg Larson of Perception Kayaks said that the size of the person kayaking should also be considered. A larger person would need a boat with more surface area to hold the boat above water. This can mean getting a longer or wider boat. A small paddler, on the other hand, should opt for a smaller boat. That will ensure that the boat doesn’t sit too high on the water. Both being too low in the water or too high up can make it difficult to operate the kayak.
 
One model offered by Perception is the Swiftwater. The 10.5-foot kayak is made for navigation on both lakes and rivers. It is versatile enough to over rapids but also stay straight on a calm lake.
 
Noël Basque, of Pelican Sport said beginners should look for a kayak that is stable, light and easy to paddle. Experienced kayakers can look for models that will move more swiftly through the water.
 
And you don’t have to kayak alone! Pelican is offering a new sit-in, tandem model this year, the Alliance 136T. All Pelican models at Dunham’s this season will have better ergonomics and new seating systems.
 
When you’re shopping for a kayak, be sure to first sit in it at the store and be sure it feels comfortable.
 
So what’s the best thing you can do to prepare for a day of kayaking? Never forget to wear a personal flotation device, and always stay within your experience level. If you stay safe, you’ll be sure to have a great time!
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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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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