Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

The Endorphins, Yes

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

I am so intensely affected by the exercise high that I have to avoid talking to people afterwards until my unleashed animal side returns to napping in its cage–usually about an hour. What happens to you? I’d love to see your comments below.

Energy. (Life) “Ok, it’s time to take off my sweatshirt.”

Endurance. (Action) “Focus! If I can make it up Kilimanjaro, I can get through this 4-minute spin class hill.”

Escape. (Distraction) “The Zanzibar beach hotel, now that was a romantic spot!”

Existence. (Survival) “All I have to do is get through the next 20 minutes and I’m home free!” (pant, pant)

Emergence. (Solutions) “Wow! I have the answer! I am dying to tackle this right now!”

Excitement. (Plans) “I must order a Carl Sandburg book the moment I get out of this spin class!!

Enthusiasm. (I love everybody! I can’t wait to get to work today!)


A hilarious post from Stephanie White, another spinner here.

Treat Your Feet

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Photo of feet on beach blanket, ocean in frontYou should be relaxed and resting on your laurels after a long day on skates, especially if you managed to avoid getting blistered or bruised feet (see my review of eZeefit ankle booties for those complaints). But for some, tired or crampy feet or lower legs can be painful or distracting enough to ruin that well-deserved lounge time.

Listed in short- to long-term order, here are some tips to treat the most common foot-related after-affects of a long roll, and perhaps even head them off in the future.

Dehydration – Drink plenty of water daily, sip often during your long roll, and chug extra fluids the remainder of the day. Consider using a sports drink during the activity to preserve or replace essential minerals lost through sweat.

Aching fatigue – Immediately after removing your skates, use 10-15 minutes of stretching to squeeze lactic acid out of hard-worked tissues. This helps head off some of the other symptoms and also restores elasticity lost during the repetitive motions and postures of skating.

Tight foot muscles – Keep a tennis ball in your skate bag. As soon as you finish stretching, stand up and wedge it under one foot. Bear weight to a tolerable pressure to press under your toes, then the ball, arch, and heel. After several seconds, your foot will begin to relax and spread out over the ball. You’ll feel the proof if you stand on both feet before stretching your second foot over the ball.

Lactic acid buildup – Lucky are those who have access to the magic hands of a massage therapist! Lacking that, plan on doing your own foot and lower leg massage. Use massage oil if you prefer, or slippery soap while soaking in a hot bath. You can also use the strong jet of a Jacuzzi if that’s available.

Calf and foot cramping – Regardless of how much you drink, do you still experience Charlie Horses or twitchy calves after a long skate? Boy, I sure do! After years of suffering and trying the above tricks, I learned that when Quinine supplements were used to treat malaria in workers building the Panama Canal, those getting quinine also quit having leg cramps. Eureka! Besides the Tea and Tonic recipe I use, other cramp-reduction remedies include taking iron, potassium, calcium, and/or magnesium supplements and, for those who can stomach it, drinking flat Coca Cola during the activity.

Tight ankles – You may not even know you have them! High-cuff inline skates restrict your range of motion at the ankle. The chance of leg cramps is high after exertion. In off-skates time, you can counteract ankle tightness by using “floppy foot” exercises to retrain your ankles. The easiest way is to sit on edge of a chair or your bed with one leg crossed at the knee. Kick the dangling foot up and down and let it flop loosely in whatever direction you shake it. (It’s OK to use your hands). To add resistance, sit on the side of a swimming pool and kick the water until you can feel successful flopping. The goal is to train your legs’ neuromuscular patters so that the slightest kick from the knee will cause a flop.

Muscular imbalance – Skating and many other sports strengthen the back calf muscles more than the front ones. There are not so many ways to gain corresponding strength in the front shin muscles. An easy and enjoyable way to build shin strength is to walk down a steep hill twice a week; of course you must also walk up.

Quench your thirst and treat your feet: That’s how to take care of tuckered tootsies after they’ve had a long, hard day.

Tea and Tonic Iced Tea

Here’s my favorite (zero-calorie!) beverage. Makes 2 servings

Let steep for 45 minutes to an hour:
– 12 oz. of plain, cold water
– 2 fruity (non caffeinated) tea bags of your choice

To serve, combine:
– 6 oz cold tea
– 6 oz Diet Tonic water (I prefer the flavor of Schweppes) *
– Garnish with lemon (optional)
– Ice cubes (optional)

* Diet Tonic water is sweetened with Saccharin, which despite bad press during the launch of Aspartame, has never been scientifically proven to cause cancer in lab rats. Further research revealed that Aspartame is considered the most dangerous of artificial sweeteners! That’s why Stevia is a mainstay at our house.

Beginner Spinner No More

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Now that my leg fitness is catching up to my heart and lung fitness, I am faring better as Erin drives my heart rate well above my anaerobic threshold several times during Spinning class.

I guess it’s the techie in me but unlike my fellow spinners, I keep my training zones chart in view next to the heart rate monitor that I strap onto the handlebars. I like to make sure my heart is slowing back down to 70% of max or less before our next push to 85% or higher. My tools tell me if I need to linger a few extra seconds at the recovery rate before charging up the next “hill” at the moment Erin kicks in with the pace music.

During the first half of class, I enjoy looking at fellow spinners who cycle to the beat of the music as I religiously do. Two women spinning side by side recently looked so beautiful in their unison it reminded me of an MTV video. I sneak peeks at my own form in a mirror to the side to make sure I am not moving up and down or side-to-side too much. I like what I see.

At about the third hill, Erin is working us hard. Whether I’m standing on the pedals or trying to keep up my RPMs while seated, my mind wanders to some of the most difficult physical efforts in my life. If I am beginning to gasp for air, I seek motivation by thinking, “Heather’s cuffs, Heather’s cuffs…” It was Heather who hiked ahead of me on the hardest part of the midnight climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro last winter. Our ultimate success was due in no small part to the trance-like state brought on in those dark hours by rhythmic movement and breathing.

The cardiovascular benefits of spinning class are paying off on the ski slopes. I love testing my ability to keep on going as my body is challenged by skiing lumpy Sierra Cement or high-speed top-to-bottom cruisers hour after hour.

No wonder so many people see themselves as athletes once they get past the trauma and drama of being a beginner spinner!