Age-defying Menu Items

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Summer brings a cornucopia of age-defying goodness along with beautiful weather for outside activities … boost the results of your summer workouts with some healthy food items with long-lasting results! Why do these foods make onto our menu for youth? The list is long, but most are rich in anti-oxidants, protecting you from the damage caused by free radicals. Protect your skin, your eyes, and your immune system with these great summer treats … you may even be able to control the number of fat cells your body produces! You’ll not only look and feel better, you’ll be healthier!
Asparagus is a natural detoxifier and diuretic; it is a good source of Vitamin K and C, folate, and phytonutrients – especially glutathione an important antioxidant. A great source of fiber, asparagus also offers inulin, a prebiotic that helps the probiotics in your digestive tract flourish. Get your fresh asparagus locally from May through June.
Avocado‘s oleic acid give it a starring role on the health roster. Various studies indicate that this monounsaturated fat can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and boost levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol). They’re an excellent source of carotenoids, delivering high-quality vitamin A for eye health while supporting the immune system and promoting healthy functioning of the reproductive system. They’re also a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins C, K, and folate!
Basil can help suppress inflammation, it is also rich in orientin and vicenin, two water-soluble flavanoids that protect cell structure and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage. The beta-carotene found in basil may help to lessen the progression of asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis while protecting cells from further damage. Get the most out of basil by eating it fresh on salads or in pesto!
Blueberries seem to make all the ‘healthy food lists here, but that’s only because they’re a known superfood with a wide variety of benefits. Years of research have linked anthocyanin, the flavonoid that gives blueberries their color, with improved memory. Good news … recent studies show that we can freeze blueberries without losing the anthocyanin antioxidants!
Garlic and its relatives -— including onions, chives, leeks, and shallots — contain sulfur compounds that may protect blood vessels and help prevent heart attacks and stroke along with cancer-fighting properties. Early research suggests that garlic consumption may actually help to regulate the number of fat cells that get formed in our bodies!
Kale is filled with carotenoids and flavonoid, giving it particularly high marks for fighting disease, particularly cancer. Kale is a great source of fiber and sulfur, which makes it a great detox to keep your liver healthy! High in vitamin K, it helps protect against various cancers, aids in normal bone health and the prevention of blood clots … increased levels of vitamin K can even help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease!
Thyme contains a variety of flavonoids, including apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin which increase thyme’s antioxidant capacity, it’s also a very good source of manganese, giving thyme a high standing on the list of anti-oxidant foods. Additionally, thyme’s volatile oils have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can neutralize disease-causing pathogens, including some strains of E. coli and staphylococcus.
Salmon is not only an excellent source of omega-3s, it’s packed with the carotenoid astaxanthin that protect eyes and joints, boosts the immune system, and helps prevent heart disease and cancer. Recent studies find that In particular, adults adults who ate fatty fish twice a week had a 35 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease!
Eating fresh produce and fish not only tastes great … you get huge nutrition returns that help you live healthy, youthful and fit for all those summer plans!
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Get Up and Go-Kart

When the weather warms up, everyone is looking to get out of house and into the sunshine. When biking gets boring and in-line skating is dull, go-karting is a great way to enjoy the outdoors.
With go-karting, you won’t have any problem getting the kids outside, and you won’t hesitate to join them.
“There’s something about a kart in and of itself that just screams ‘active’ – it gives you the get-out-and-go mentality,” says Lindsey DeLong of American SportWorks. “It encourages families to not only explore new ways to have a blast in their own yard, but it may encourage them to find new places to adventure to (and try the kart out on, of course!).”
All of the American SportWorks go-kart models are two-seaters. That means more members of the family can join in on the fun! All of the American SportWorks models also come with the company’s history and expertise.
The models include the Marauder which comes with a 208cc, 4-stroke engine and a three-year engine warranty.
The Black Widow also comes with a three-year engine warranty and has a 136cc, 4-stroke engine.
The Carbide is a new model that features all the best parts of the retired Quantum model. This new go-kart features a speedometer, bucket seating and what DeLong calls a “buggy” style.
While go-karting is designed for fun, safety should come first before taking one out for a ride. As with any powered vehicle, seat belts and helmets should always be worn and riders should stay alert and be prepared for the drive.
The owner’s manual is a good resource to learn more about the vehicle and how to operate it safely. Before starting out, drivers should be familiar with the course and its surroundings.
“The best thing to remember is that it’s all about fun and not necessarily crazy stunt riding. Leave that to the pros!” says DeLong.
Being prepared to operate the go-kart won’t be like cramming for a test. DeLong says that operation of some of the American SportWorks go-karts are as simple as stop and go. Some models are equipped with a pull start while others have a key ignition. There are also models that come with neutral and reverse gears, but others just have brake and gas pedals.
So this spring, enjoy the great outdoors and experience the adventures of go-karting. It’s like fun on four wheels.
“Spring fever is only enhanced when you can zip around your yard in a kart,” DeLong says. “Go smell those fresh spring flowers – at 24 mph!”
-Off-Road Warrior
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Yesterday I jogged through Central Park in New York. Today I’m going to the Grand Canyon. Tomorrow I’ll hit the trail at the Great Wall of China.

All from the comfort of my basement.

What, you say? Do I have nine gazillion frequent flyer miles? Do I own my own airline? Nothing that complicated. I’ve just got a VERY smart treadmill.


The Pro-Form treadmill uses a program called IFit Live, manufactured by Icon Fitness of Logan, Utah, and is the first exercise equipment to be connected directly to the Internet. That allows you to customize your route to anywhere in the world. Yesterday I programmed in Central Park. It’s a 3-mile course and as I’m plodding along I see the sites of Central Park on my laptop screen (I could just as well hook it up to my big screen television). When I hit a hill on the course, the machine automatically adjusts and programs that grade into my own course. I see the roads in Central Park, complete with taxis, pedestrians, and park scenery, just like I was there.

Icon Fitness has partnered with Google® Maps to provide courses literally anywhere in the world. And, it’s not just pre-programmed courses. It’s the middle of January, there’s two feet of snow on the ground, but you still want to run around the neighborhood? No problem. Just call up your address on the computer and then program in your route — whatever streets you want or don’t want to run. The course will then adjust your course accordingly, with appropriate inclines. Plus, you’ll see where you’re running.

An Evolution of Technology

Icon Fitness began experimenting with these interactive courses a decade ago. The first products included VHS tapes that showed a particular course, and then adjusted the treadmill program to match the geography. DVDs came later, but these products had only limited success because people found it cumbersome. Another problem was price. “Too many people didn’t want to pay $20 and then just have one course on a video,” says Icon.

The new technology has no such limits. If the area is on Google Maps, it can be a course for you. There are a number of pre-programmed courses, such as Central Park, Death Valley, Grand Canyon and other exotic locales, but the courses are really infinite. You can chart a course wherever you want to go in the world.

A Lot More than a Map

This treadmill offers a lot more than just map programming. Besides the usual tracking of calories, miles, incline and the like, the treadmill will also provide custom profiles for you, tracking your progress over any period you want. Training for a certain event? You can program the computer to get you ready and to monitor your progress.

The “world’s toughest trainer” — Jillian Michaels of Biggest Loser fame — is also part of the application. She will ‘coach’ you as you run. There are also programs to help you keep track of your diet.

The computer module is sold separately from the actual treadmill. It can also be installed on Icon Fitness elliptical, where the voice of Jillian Michaels and the diet and activity tracking are available.

Are you the competitive type? You can set the treadmill on ‘compete’ mode and go up against pre-programmed competitors. Or you can have a friend enter their data and then compete against them on any course you want.

And in keeping with the “high tech, high touch” environment, you can even receive motivating text messages and e-mails to spur you to improve your workouts. There’s also a music port for your iPod®.

Six inches of snow outside? Nothing on television? Why not run the beach at Waikiki? From your home, of course.

-Fitness Fanatic

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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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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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