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Shin Splints Remedy for New Runners

Shin Splints Remedy for New Runners

Shin splints are one of the most common ailments that runners struggle with. They most commonly occur when you’ve just started running for the first time, you’ve just returned to running after some time off, or when you start training more intensely. Unfortunately they can also sometimes occur with no warning, even if your regular running habits haven’t changed. We aren’t doctors and can’t offer medical advice, but if you begin to experience what you suspect are shin splints, we have some tips you can try below.

So, what are shin splints? Essentially, shin splints are stress on your shinbone. This presents as painful inflammation in the connective tissues that attach muscles to your bones.

What is the treatment for shin splints? The good news is that they can heal on their own. The challenging news is that they need to be taken seriously to ensure they heal completely and don’t just come right back. The following are the first steps you can take if you get them:

  • Shin splints take time to heal, and you need to rest your legs completely.
  • You can ice the affected shin to ease your pain and any swelling. Apply ice for 20-30 minutes every, 3 to 4 times a day, for 2 to 3 days, or until the pain is gone.
  • Consider trying out a new pair of shoes. It’s possible that they may have reached their maximum mileage limits. If they’re still fairly new, you might consider insoles or orthotics. Since weak arches can often be the culprit behind shin splints, the extra support from inserts might be a huge help for you.
  • Incorporate a stretching routine that targets shin splints specifically.

What are some shin splint stretches? Here are a few you can try.

  1. Toe-drag stretch. This stretch will extend from the top of your foot up into your shin, the aim is to release tension and stiffness. To stretch the muscle in your shin, begin by standing up straight and slightly bending both knees. Keep one foot flat on the ground and curl the toes on the other foot under, in order to gently “drag” the top of the foot on the floor. Hold for 15-30 seconds then alternate feet.
  2. A kneeling stretch. Kneel on a mat with your buttocks directly over your heels. The tops of your feet should be flat on the floor. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds. Discontinue if this causes knee comfort.
  3. Simple shin stretch. Walk around at a normal pace with your weight shifted onto your heels, with your toes off the ground slightly. Alternate the to walking on your toes, with heels lifted.

These few moves should make your calves feel gently stretched and flexible. Shin splint pain can be very discouraging, but know that if they happen to you, there are treatments for shin splints, and they won’t last forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Stretches for Runners to Help Prevent Injury

Best Stretches for Runners to Help Prevent Injury

Avid runners and those who live active lifestyles know that the occasional physical injury  or discomfort comes with the territory. However, you might be overestimating how normal the frequency or severity of such discomfort actually is.

Soreness for runners is much more normal than actual pain. Studies suggest that on a scale of 10, a range of discomfort from 1-3 is normal. Anything beyond that might mean you’re running too far or you’re not getting adequate rest between workouts. A great way to prevent injury as a runner is by stretching regularly. Ideally, we’d stretch every day, but that may be impractical with a demanding schedule.

For best results, we suggest stretching three to five times a week if possible, but no less than once or twice a week. Some of our favorite runner’s stretches, which will offer the most benefit, are as follows:

1) Stretch: Knee Hug Stretch. While lying on your back, hug both knees to your chest, being sure to relax your back so it remains flat along the floor. Gently rotate your legs in circles.

Muscles targeted: This stretch targets the lower back, hips, hamstrings, and the inner and outer thighs. Can also help release lower back tension.

2) Stretch: Child's Pose Stretch. Come to your hands and knees on the floor. Spread your knees as wide as is comfortable for you, wider than your hips is ideal. You’ll keep the tops of your feet on the floor, and your big toes should touch.Bring your stomach to rest between your thighs and bring your forehead to the floor. Relax the shoulders, jaw, and eyes. Take deep, slow breaths and remain in the pose for as long as you like.

Muscles targeted: This stretch targets the thighs, hips and ankles. It can also release shoulder, neck and arm tension. Breathing is important here to maximize thel relaxation benefits.

3) Stretch: Seated Hamstring Stretch. Sitting on the floor, extend one leg straight oud and keep your back straight. Bend the other leg so that the sole of that foot rests against the mid-thigh of the straightened leg. Reach toward your outstretched ankle. You should feel the stretch in the back of your thigh. Keep your foot flexed and hold the stretch for 30 seconds to begin.

Muscles targeted: This stretch targets the hamstrings, lower back and knees. It’s a very useful stretch to target imbalances in the gait from overwork and performing this after a run can help prevent stiffness.

4) Stretch: Downward Facing Dog Stretch. Begin on hands and knees. Wrists should be directly under your shoulders, and knees directly under hips. Curl your toes under to lift the hips and straighten the legs.Spread your fingers and keep your weight evenly distributed in your palms and feet. Let the head hang down and pull your shoulder blades back and away from your ears. Engage your quads so less pressure in on the arms. Keep the hips high, and sink your heels towards the floor. Remain for a minute or two, while breathing deeply.

Muscles targeted: This stretch targets the calves, lower back and shoulders. It is one of yoga's most widely recognized poses, and can greatly benefit anyone who lives a fairly active lifestyle!

We hope you make the time to incorporate these stretches into your running routine and race training plans. Preventing injury should be a priority for overall well being, but also for longevity. We want to keep running as long as we can, and we want the same for you.

 

 

  

 

 

 

How To Introduce Your Kids To Hiking

How To Introduce Your Kids To Hiking

As an outdoors person and a parent, one of the most rewarding things you can do is introduce your kids to hiking. Many of us grew up with hiking as a normal part of our childhood and understand that our deep love for outdoor activities began when we were quite small ourselves.

If you’re a parent and you’d like to know more about introducing your kids to hiking, or you’re not yet a parent, and you’d like to know if you can continue your outdoor pursuits after kids, we’ve got some ideas for you.

 

  1. Start early! Many parents continue regular hikes when their babies are still very small and can be carried in a wrap or pack. Keep hiking as the baby grows, and they won’t even think twice about why they’re in the middle of the woods, instead they’ll feel at home.
  2. Over Prepare. You may not be able to go ultralight for a few years. Kids come with a lot of accessories. We’re not above bribing the kids with treats along the trail and we recommend more snacks than usual— snacks are fun!. Also make sure you bring plenty of water. Turn breaks and water stops into a game.
  3. Make sure the kids have properly fitting equipment, too. From boots to waterproof jackets, maybe their own backpack, flashlight or compass, it’s always fun for kids to get new things and they will be eager to test them out. A first-aid kit is an essential thing to bring too, and consider the needs of your child. They may want a particular toy or article of clothing, so prepare for it.
  4. Be Realistic. At different stages in life, children have vastly different attention spans, and they also have limited endurance. Be realistic about how much a child can take on, and keep your expectations in check. You’re not there to break any records or get a super hard workout in. This is about being present and mindful with your child.
  5. Bring your patience. Don’t be discouraged if very small kids don’t want to go very far, whine a lot or complain. Try to keep them entertained with fun outdoor activities, like identifying animal sounds, identifying as many colors as possible, or bringing a checklist of things to see in a sort of natural scavenger hunt. It will take time to build distance, but the more you get out there, the more the kids will rise to the occasion and eventually you’ll find they will beg you to go hike!
  6. Boost their confidence. One way to encourage children in the outdoors is to let them be in charge. Let them follow the route on a map, or allow them to choose the trail. Let them choose when and where to stop. Be enthusiastic about their choices and optimistic about the day, and it will help keep everyone’s mood afloat.

Having children absolutely does not mean the end of your freedom, or your outdoor lifestyle. Raising kids to get outside has many benefits: a respect for nature and a love for being outside. It will instill in them a confidence, and they’ll develop instincts and a trust for their own intuition. There are of course, physical health benefits to establishing an athletic foundation as well. Remember that nature makes a great playground, for both you and your children.

 

 

Hiking Alberta with your kids: top 7 family-friendly hikes near Calgary

Hiking Alberta with your kids: top 7 family-friendly hikes near Calgary

Hiking is a great activity you can do with your kids. While you can enjoy one of your favourite hobbies, they can discover an entirely new world. It´s such an excellent opportunity to make unforgettable family memories.

 

Because we know that it can be overwhelming to find the right hike for your family, we have put together a list of 7 family-friendly hikes in Alberta.

 

From walking through canyons to thoroughly enjoying the views of one of the beautiful lakes of the country, these are the best family-friendly hikes you can do in Alberta.

 

Johnston Canyon and Falls hike

 

We have to say this one is one of the most kid-friendly hikes in Alberta.

 

Johnston Canyon, close to Calgary, is a scenic and easy hike perfect for all the family. You will walk through the beautiful canyon, breathtaking landscape, and emerald blue falls. The trail´s one of the busiest hikes over the summer, so arrive early to avoid the crowds.

 

There are a few trails to do. You can choose between going up to one of the falls or adventure yourself and complete both routes reaching the two falls. It shouldn´t take you more than half-day in completing both. They are around 5.5 km long.

 

It´s a super easy hike to do with your kids, and it´s all paved. This hike can be one of Alberta’s best kid-friendly hikes if you have a stroller with you. There is even an ice-cream truck at the end of the hiking.

 

Moraine Lake

This trail has to be on top of your list of kid-friendly hikes in Alberta.  

This comfortable and nice hour-long hike around the shore of Moraine lake is a great way to start the day with your family if you are around the area. The natural and unspoiled landscape is superb, and everyone will enjoy it.  There are different activities, such as birdwatching.

We will recommend completing it over the summer months. It´s a dog-friendly hike, too, although the dog has to be on a leash.

The pictured-postcard views of the Fay Glacier are unique in this hike.

 

Lake Louise 

Lake Louise creek trail is a longer hike, but it´s also really deserving of giving it a go. 

Located at Banff National Park’s heart is one of Alberta’s most beautiful and scenic family-friendly hikes. You will find some inclination during the route; therefore, we will recommend it for older kids. The views are so worthy in this hike. If you are looking for a fun day after completing the walk, some companies organize wild water activities like rafting.

This hike is also a busy one; hence prepare ahead if you want to find parking. As early birds get the worms, we will recommend you to set early, especially during the summer months.

 

Paddy´s Flat Interpretive

It´s a straightforward hike within the area of Kananaskis. The hike is only 2 kilometres, but you can get a bit of everything. While walking, you will get the calm of the river Elbow and enjoy the endless forest.

It´s a kid-friendly hike near Calgary, which is perfect if you are camping around the area. The campgrounds are unserviced, but they have the necessary camping facilities. Plan in advance if you want to stay there as they are first-come, first-serve. 

 

Quarry Lake Loop

The Canmore National Park, located in the West of Alberta province, has many good family-friendly hikes options. 

Quarry Lake Loop is one of them. A short and peaceful trail will make your family and kiddos enjoy a great outdoor time. The total distance of the walk is a bit over one kilometre.

This small but scenic trail will take you about an hour to complete, and you will surround the lake Quarry. It´s a straightforward one to do, although some of the paths are just at the edges of the lake. So, be cautious when doing it with young kids.

Through the hike, you are going to have a panoramic view of the mountains. This one is suitable to do in the winter months, but be careful with the ice.

There are restrooms and a parking area close to the start of the trail.

 

Sulphur Mountain Summit Trail

Banff is one of the most kids-friendly holiday destinations in the country. Each year holidaymakers head to the area to enjoy a well-deserved break.

If you decide to have a summer break here, you have to complete this fantastic walk. The hike is 10 km, which can be a bit long for young kids. If you want to do it shorter, you can take the Gondola service on your way back. There is a tricky elevation, so it can be quite challenging if you aren´t an often hiker.

The landscape and surroundings are beautiful, and we are sure you will get a fantastic day out with your family. The views from the mountains are breathtaking.

 

Source Spring Trail 

With more than 11,000 square metres of landscape, Jasper’s National Park has many options for kid-friendly hikes in Alberta.

The source spring trail is such a great place to explore with your kids. Most of the people who visited make their base at the Pocahontas campgrounds and explore the region’s different options. This easy hike in Alberta is a light walk where you and your family can enjoy the hot springs. The trail is paved, and it´s stroller friendly.

We will recommend heading to the bridge near Sulphur Creek. You will enjoy the wonderful views, and your kids will discover the origin of the hot springs.

We hope we have inspired you to get outdoors this season. Having kids doesn't have to stop you from hiking the beautiful mountains of Alberta, you will only have to adapt.

Having time in nature is one of the precious gifts you can give to your family. Make sure to check out one of these hikes we've mentioned here. And if you have any suggestions for more kid-friendly hikes near Calgary, Alberta, let us know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Virtual Races for Summer 2021

Top Virtual Races for Summer 2021

The whole world adapted to the new normal of quarantine, isolation, and lockdowns. Everyone who had a passion for fitness couldn’t really indulge in social workout sessions including marathons, races, or any other physical activity that involved community interaction.

Virtual races have got a great response from those who had a hard time sticking to a workout routine during the lockdown. These races were designed keeping in mind the safety of the runners during Covid-19. A virtual community of fitness enthusiasts is a great concept in terms of connecting individuals to a cause. You will get the much-needed dose of motivation and can do your part for the greater good.

As the pandemic stretches into the New Year, we have curated a list of the top virtual races for the summer of 2021. You can participate in any and as many of them from anywhere in the world:

Run Guides Tokyo – Osaka Challenge Virtual Team Challenge

Covering a distance of 672 km or 420 miles, you’ll virtually run between Tokyo and Osaka. Teams of four are created that will attempt to run the distance. Entries were opened for runners after March 13. Since there is no cut-off, you can join anytime after the day entries were opened. Runners can track their team’s progress on a leaderboard and an interactive map.

Fee: 60 USD per team

Highlight: Digital Badges, Prizes from Race Partners, and Embroidered Lucky Cat Interactive Patch.

Check out the event website

2021 B.A.A. 5K

The 2021 B.A.A. 5K is an annual event that will be held virtually for the second year in a row. This run traditionally starts the Boston Marathon weekend and has been open for registration since February 1. The event will begin from April 16 to 18.

Fee: USD 45 (Start Line Package), USD 60 (Finish Line Package), USD 65 (Unicorn Package)

Highlights: Unicorn Finishers’ Medal, Access to Exclusive B.A.A. training programs

Find more

The Great Virtual Race across Tennessee

A 1,000 km run, The Great Virtual Race across Tennessee is a great chance to burn all those calories you’ve stored in your body during the lockdown. Besides, you’ll be running for a cause. All the proceeds from the run will go directly to Food Banks all across the Tennessee state. You can join the race from 1st May to 31st August.

Fee: USD 60

Race Website

The 2021 RunNB Challenge

Open for registration all year long, the 2021 RunNB Challenge is a great opportunity for people who are missing some recreational or competitive workout during the pandemic. Walk or run, you need to virtually circumnavigate New Brunswick to cover a distance of 1,200 or 2,400 km.

Fee: USD 50

Check out the Website

Survivorfest 24 Hour Race

This race is being offered both virtually and in-person which gives runners a choice. An official 2021 six & 24 hour Canadian National Championship, the race will celebrate the strength, survival, & sacrifice of the families, racers, survivors, and friends who are extending a great help by raising funds for the Saffron Centre, Strathcona County's sexual assault centre. Participants can either run for 6, 12, or 24 hours around a 400-meter track. The race will be organized from 12th June to 13th June.

Highlight: IAU Bronze

Visit Website

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

Starting from 1st May to 31st May, this race offers a choice of distances you can run for. You can start from 2 km and slowly increase the distance to 5 km, 10 km, and eventually run a half-marathon. You can also run a full marathon or cover an even longer distance. The race has been organized in support of the Ottawa Hospital.

Fee: The fee varies according to the type of race you will select

Race Website

Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal

Organized for both kids and adults, this race is an opportunity for everyone to sweat it out without breaking the protocol of social distancing. You can participate from 23rd April to 14th June. This summer race will surely invite huge crowds who can run for a great cause. The races range from Kids’ races, 5 km race, 10 km race, and a half-marathon.

Fee: You need to stay updated about the race online to know the fee details of different races.

Race Website

 

With all these races lined up for the summer of 2021, there is hardly any space left when you won’t have a cause to run for and miles to cover.

Top 10 hikes in Alberta, Canada

Top 10 hikes in Alberta, Canada

Alberta is home to the Canadian Rockies, one of the most impressive and beautiful ranges in the world.  There is no shortage of trails among these snowcapped mountains, and you can spend countless days exploring pristine wilderness for much of the year.  While snow and ice linger, proper gear and footwear enable hikers to conquer the best that the area has to offer.  In fact, some of the best winter activities in towns like Banff are hiking through the myriad mountains.  Read about the top 10 hikes in Alberta, Canada, get ready to adventure out there!

Lake Agnes Trail

This out and back trail leads you up to the perfect vista of Lake Agnes in all its glory.  The views are best enjoyed from the Tea House, a historic place of refuge for hikers and back country adventurers.  While the trail is nicely groomed, it accumulates quite a bit of snow.  The 1400 of elevation change are best tackled with appropriate footwear such as crampons or trail spikes. 

Tunnel Mountain Trail

One of the many peaks that towers over the town of Banff is Tunnel Mountain.  The trail to the top is the ideal hike to do after work or if you only have a limited time.  The turnaround point boasts a panoramic overlook of the town and the surrounding mountains.  Sections of the trail can be slippery, especially as the incline picks up.  Bring your trail cleats along for this gem of a hike.

Ha Ling Peak

The striking view of Ha Ling Peak’s exposed northern face is a sight to be beheld.  Even more impressive are the sights from atop this majestic point.  The trail’s name pays homage to the man who first led a guided trip to the peak.  The steep hiking trail wraps around the southern end, while technical climbers can ascend the vertical northern face.  The tough switchbacks are made easier with spiked footwear, especially in the shoulder seasons.

Ink Pots Trail

Naturally occurring mineral springs are the main attraction of this popular hike.  Two trails can get you to your destination, depending on the distance you want to traverse, or how much solitude you want.  Johnston Canyon leads you past waterfalls via catwalks, while Moose Meadows is a simpler trail without any falls. The former can be quite crowded, especially on weekends, while the latter is lesser traveled. Whichever you choose, make sure to pack your camera!

Grotto Canyon Trail

As the name implies, this path leads you through a canyon tucked in the hillsides.  The reward for your two mile trek is a beautiful waterfall, or icefall depending on when you go!  Marvel at the patinaed canyon walls as you listen to the crunch of the snow beneath your crampons.  You may even get to see rock climbers in action along the way!


Sulphur Mountain trail

An arduous set of switchbacks stand between you and the summit of Sulphur Mountain.  In just a few miles(5.5km) you will climb over 2000 feet(600m).  While these gains are no easy feat on their own, the snow can make you really watch your feet!  Check the trail reports before embarking on this trip, and gear up accordingly!

Big Beehive

This amazing hike is an add-on to the Agnes Lake trail.  Once you arrive at the lake, you will circumnavigate around it, and then climb upwards several hundred more feet.  The lake sure does look different from above!  Ice spikes are recommend for ascending, especially when completing the hike in or around wintertime. 

Stanley Glacier

Describing this hike as “cool” doesn’t do it justice. In fact, parts of the scenery are ice cold!  A gentle out and back trail rewards you with a view of the Stanley Glacier, and the runoff it produces.  Along the way you are treated with amazing scenery, and seasonal wildflowers.  Saplings and new growth are also seen on the path, evidence of a past lightning strike that ignited a forest fire.  Although the elevation change is not drastic, the total mileage is to be considered, coming in at over 6 miles (11km). 

Crypt Lake Trail

Strenuous and daunting, the trail to Crypt lake is not for the faint of heart.  The path takes you along an exposed hillside, through a mountainside tunnel, and up into valleys carved by ancient glaciers.  Braving the 10-mile(16km) trip is well worth it as the land is an embarrassment of riches.  You will pass by several waterfalls and be treated to views of a pristine alpine lake after which the trail is named.  Oh, and did we forget to mention that the journey begins and ends with a ferry ride across Waterton lake? 

 

Siffleur Falls

A mellow trail brings you to the namesake falls after a brief 2 mile(3.5km) jaunt.  The water has carved a steep gorge that you hike along, and the sheer edges are quite unique to see.  If you don’t get your fill of hiking or views of falling water, press on past the waterfall to see two more cascades farther upstream. 

 

These amazing hikes are sure to keep you busy while visiting Alberta.  Even for locals of towns like Banff, these trails are the perfect winter activity.  Choose any of these treks, check the weather, and gear up with warm clothes and trail spikes.  Enjoy the views and the journey along the way, as these memories and sights will stay with you for the rest of your life.   

 

Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash

Top Tips for Winter Running in Calgary

Top Tips for Winter Running in Calgary

Calgary is a city where the snow often flies before Halloween and melts well after people on the other end of the world are already posting summer selfies in bathing suits.

Winter running in Calgary means slippery surfaces that can cause painful falls, and extremely-low temperatures which can easily freeze an ear, a finger or a toe if you don’t dress accordingly. However, if you are a running enthusiast, don’t let the temperature drop scare you into staying indoors. There are easy tips you can follow, like choosing the right gear and investing in crampons snow spikes, to create a comfortable running situation.

Below are those top tips for winter running that will help you enjoy a comfortable and exciting stride across the snow-laden Calgary without the chills or skids.

Choose the Right Base Layer: Many people worry about freezing their lungs when running in cold weather with temperatures as low as -20℃. While the Canadian Armed Forces ruled that out decades ago, it is best to think about layers and vents before setting out for a winter run. Wear something that is a windproof but also allows breathability and moisture-wicking, i.e. one that allows sweat to dry quickly which builds up when you exercise while wearing layers. It will keep your core warm while letting the heat build up while running to vent.

At the same time, do not overdress. As you run, your body will generate heat, and it will get mad hot. The best way to make sure you are layering yourself right is to underdress by 6 degrees C. If it is -3 outside, dress for 7.

Invest in the Best Winter Running Spikes: When out running in the cold, especially during snowy and icy days, it is super important to invest in shoes with traction. While buying winter running shoes ensures protection, striding through slick surfaces will require a stronger, more trust-worthy footwear feature, such as winter running spikes. They are outsoles specifically designed for ice. Longer rubber lugs might work, but spikes are the best for some serious traction that keeps you upright.

Choose Weatherproof Winter Running Gear: Snow season is synonymous with bad weather. You do not want to get wet and most definitely do not want your gear to damage too easily under rain, snow, or hail. Therefore, consider buying a waterproof top layer and stainless-steel winter running spikes that will not rust and provide solid traction for multiple seasons.

Always Warm Up Before Going on a Winter Run: Much like exercise, it is recommended you warm up before heading out. You can do it by jumping rope, doing push-ups, doing sun salutations, and running up and down your stairs. This will make sure your muscles have enough oxygen supply, their temperature increases, and your heart rate is slowed down (cold weather increases it).  Only do not let the sweat break out so as to avoid chills as soon as you step out.

Maintain Speed and Time Yourself: With the right base layering and snow grips for shoes, you might feel too confident to run for miles at a stretch. However, the best practice would be to run between 30-60 minutes without trying to put too much pressure on your body. Doing otherwise can weaken your immune system due to overexposure to the cold weather. Remember that idea behind going on a winter run is to keep fit and enjoy the cold outdoors.

Prevent Frost Bites: While the ice grips for shoes prevent slipping and falling. The layering keeps you warm and your immune system strong. You will need to take measures to ensure you get no frostbites. The most effective ways to do so include staying hydrated, wearing a pair of waterproof socks, a fleece hat, insulated mittens, and waterproof running shoes.

Pick a Reflective Running Gear: During winters, it gets dark early, and with the snow drifts runners can easily get invisible to the traffic. The best way to avoid any mishaps is by wearing reflective gear that alerts others of your presence. If the reflective gear is not an option and you are looking for more convenient, cost-effective alternatives, keep a flashlight or a headlamp with you.

Be Prepared for a Quick Body Temperature Drop: Once done with running, you might want to take a breather before taking off the gear and your shoe traction devices. However, it is best to relax only after you have reached a warm place. The easiest way to do so would be to finish the run on your house’s doorstep. But in case you need to drive from your running track, keep an extra sweater handy and keep the car warmer on to create a cozy weather inside. If you like hot drinks after your winter run, pack a thermos with hot water as it's a nice way to maintain body temperature after a run and stay hydrated.  

How to Safely Go on a Run During Current Pandemic: COVID-19 Precautionary Tips

How to Safely Go on a Run During Current Pandemic: COVID-19 Precautionary Tips

In the time when gyms remain closed due to the pandemic, running seems to be the last resort to fitness. Breathing open air will also improve the mood, as the pandemic-borne isolation can easily stress anyone, especially extroverts and regular runners.

Plus, exercising can potentially boost immunity and help fight the virus. Going outside, even for thirty minutes, means getting Vitamin D that plays a role in immune function.

So, is there a way one could go out for a run without risking their life or posing a threat to others? The good news is yes. There are measures a runner can take to protect themselves and others while still focusing on their fitness.

Below are precautionary tips to keep in mind when leaving to jog during the current pandemic.

Maintain Social Distancing; Keep 12 Feet Apart

Social distancing is the primary strategy to prevent risk posed by the Coronavirus.

So far, we know that Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has rolled out the advisory to keep six feet away from each other. The reason being that we spew droplets from the mouth when we speak.

However, when you run and pant, you are more likely to exhale respiratory droplets in a larger quantity and project them farther. Therefore, it is necessary to keep a farther distance between yourself and others when you are running – at least 12 feet.

Never Forget the Mask; Wear One that Does not Hamper Breathing

CDC guidelines recommend all should cover their faces with a cloth when in a public setting where social distancing is tough to maintain. Think grocery stores, for example. Still, we suggest you never leave the mask at home.

Whether or not your running space gets crowded, keep a mask ready, even if in the pocket. Unless the route is an off-beaten path where anyone seldom shows up, it becomes imperative to exercise caution. You might be following the guidelines, but someone else can get careless.

However, be picky about which mask you choose. Do not run with an N95 on that adds inspiratory resistance. Instead, choose a mask with a valve that has an expiratory port to keep airway resistance at a minimum. You can also opt for double-layered cloth masks that are neither too tight nor too loose.

Note that wearing a mask is not a substitute for social distancing, handwashing, or staying at home when ill.

Keep a Sanitizer in Pocket: You Never Know When It Comes Handy

Like we said before, putting on a mask is not a substitute for washing hands. When outdoors, you can come in contact with objects such as a traffic button or a bench when leaning on to stretch. While we strongly urge you to avoid coming in contact with public objects, let’s be real, it can happen.

In such a situation, you might not have access to water and soap. It is when sanitizer, handwashing’s powerful sidekick, comes in handy. It ensures germs do not transmit from you to others and vice versa.

Keep in mind, never leave the sanitizer in the car. Being alcohol-based, sanitizers are volatile and pose a threat if left inside an automobile. According to the CDC, they are flammable and can readily evaporate when exposed to heat.

BYO Water; Keep Away from Indirect Contact

Because the virus spreads through respiratory droplets, drinking at public water fountains or taps is a big NO during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bring your own weapon water to fight Coronavirus.

Similarly, refrain from using public restrooms too. It is a place where the surface is touched the most and randomly. From the door nob to the flush, every next object has come in contact with multiple people.

The CDC recommends that all frequently-touched surfaces be washed regularly. But who can tell if they are? For the same reason, avoid pit stops too.

Go Solo; Avoid Running in Groups

CDC advisory is to avoid gathering of more than 50 people, and several countries are asking to restrict the numbers to lower than 10. What does that mean for runners? Be extra cautious and limit the group to 3-4 people whom you completely trust to be safe. Despite the trust, strictly maintain the 12 feet social distancing.

Before planning a run with close friends or training partners, check with your local guidelines too. Ponder over the risk of asymptomatic spreading of COVID-19 and come up with a proper plan on how you’ll minimize the risk.

Above all, if you are not sure, drop the idea of group runs and go solo. It is the safest and most reliable option right now.

Avoid Long Intense Runs; Don’t Deplete Glycogen

While running can boost immunity, intensive runs can work against the immune system by depleting your stores of glycogen. How does it affect? Depleted glycogen means that post-run the body’s defences will be down, and it will be more susceptible to getting infected. It will prove even more problematic if, during the run, you come in contact with someone who is sick with the flu or virus. Therefore, it is better to avoid long, intense runs until we get through the current pandemic. Do not overdo exercises.

Those who are not regular runners should ease their way into increasing speed and distance.

Take Precaution; Take Shoes Off at the Door

According to Harvard’s Dr. Joseph Allen, the general public does not need to worry about tracking viruses via the bottom of their shoes.

Yet, consider leaving the shoes at the door once you are home. There’s hardly such a thing as being over-cautious when it comes to COVID-19.

If you have dedicated sportswear for when you go running, it is advisable to clear a separate spot to keep away from other outfits. Keep at least two sets, so you can wash one and wear another on alternative days.

Don’t Sweat It; Sweat Is Not Corona-Transmitter

This point is not a precautionary tip, but important information to relieve some stress. Respiratory droplets from the mouth can spread Coronavirus, sweat cannot.

Image from @freetousesoundscom

10 Best Virtual Runs for This Summer

<span>10 </span>Best Virtual Runs <span>for This Summer</span>

In the times of social distancing and lockdowns, virtual runs rescue fitness freaks from boredom. From no-crowd road scene to the freedom to pick a location, the benefits and pros of virtual running are many.

The options are infinite. As a beginner with a treadmill, you can pick short virtual races or as a pro runner with accessible hiking trails, you can prefer 10K virtual marathons. In short, you decide how you’d like to escape the inactive routine and then make a run for it, literally.

Here’s a list of 10 best virtual runs scheduled this summer. Participate in and as many of them as you want.

Virtual Run Events

  • Fees: $8-$54
  • Highlight: Themes and Quirky Medals

From COVID-19 Relief to July Races, Virtual Run Events offer themed events galore. You will also find races that celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday. Here, you can run for fitness, to raise funds for various causes, for collectible medals, or cupcakes.

Disney Virtual Run

  • Fees: $40-$145
  • Highlight: Finisher Medal, Race Bib, and Certificate

Enjoy a 5K virtual run with Disney’s thematic Mad Tea Party, Space Mountain©, The Haunted Mansion©, or triple feat Virtual Challenge. The events will be happening from April 16 through August 31.

RUN WITH THE WORLD

  • Fees: Free
  • Highlight: Run, Walk, or Roll

Join this Facebook page to participate in monthly virtual run challenges. You go for the moderate 8km run or aim for the ambitious 60km marathon in 42 hours. For under16, 3km and 5km runs are also available. The events of RWTW allow you to participate in groups as well. The upcoming challenge is 42.2km in 42 hours between 7th-9th August.

Virtual Runner UK

  • Fees: £5-£15
  • Highlight: Pick Preferred Date and Distance

Missed the dates of some of the virtual races or found them sold out? Head to Virtual Runner UK and find an event for any date you prefer. You can also find runs of specific distances and get custom medals after submitting your results online.

7 Sunshine Coast Marathon Festival

  • Fees: $35
  • Highlight: Community Run

Participate remotely and still be a part of a community with 7 Sunshine Coast Marathon that lets you connect with other runners online. You can register for the upcoming 5k, 2k, 10k, half-marathon, or marathon happening on August 15-16.

Why I Run

  • Fees: $15-$50
  • Highlight: Women Virtual Run

Why I Run organizes virtual run for strong runner chicks. Run to stay active and pay to fund Girls Gotta Run. Options vary from 5k to trail running. Registration 2020 ends on August 1 for all except Vertical Miles (for trail runners), for which registrations are open till August 31. 

Ann Arbor Sports Commission Firecracker 5K

  • Fees: $27-$37
  • Highlight: Shirts, Facemask Buff, and Medals

Pick a day between July 4-31 to complete your Firecracker 5K virtual run. Submit your time to win awards through a virtual awards ceremony through Zoom on August 3 @ 7 PM. This year, raised funds will go to Rogel Cancer Center.

Great Run Across Michigan

  • Fees: $34.99-$50
  • Highlight: Certificate, Shirt, and Medal

Register, pick a day and start the challenge. You can run 115 miles (185km) in 40 days or 386 miles (621km) in 70 days. Too challenging? Register as a team to divide the miles and complete the task in 30 days. The money raised by the fees will benefit Kelleigh’s Cause.

Running is NOT Cancelled

  • Fees: $25
  • Highlight: One Flat Fee, Any Distance

Organized by Fleet Feet, the virtual event aims to keep runners motivated through COVID-19. Choose from 5K/10K/Half Marathon and upload proof. Finishers get a bib, a t-shirt, and a medal.

Virtual Wharf to Wharf Race

  • Fees: $35
  • Highlight: Bib, T-shirt, Free Training Plan, and Virtual Wharf Sticker

The 2-mile or 3.2km Wharf to Wharf Race is full of goodies. The event is scheduled for July 20-26. The first 7,000 participants will also get a Large Canister of Nuun and guaranteed access to Race 2021.

Photo by Brian Erickson on Unsplash

5 TIPS ON HOW TO STAY ACTIVE DURING COVID-19 | MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT

5 TIPS ON HOW TO STAY ACTIVE DURING COVID-19 | MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT

We truly are living in a unique and rare time. Most of us feel like we’re in a daze, still convincing ourselves to wake up from this nightmare. All of sudden, we are being restricted to do the normal things we used to do such as trips to the library, take your kids to the park, hold a gathering at home or elsewhere, even how we greet people now has changed. With kids being at home, the routine we’ve known before all this happened has been thrown out the window.

 

We believe that one of the best things we can do right now to keep us feeling 'normal' is by staying active. Michael Otto, PhD, a professor of psychology at Boston University says “The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong. Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect.” But the effects of physical activity extend beyond the short-term. Research shows that exercise can also help alleviate long-term depression. Some of the evidence for that comes from broad, population-based correlation studies.

 

So, how can you stay active during this pandemic? Below are some tips you can do to help you stay fit physically, mentally and emotionally.

 1) Home workout – If there are particular workouts you have been wanting to try but just never got around to doing it, this is the time to try it out. If you have kids at home, encourage them to do the workout with you. If some of the moves aren’t easy for them to do, encourage them and let them know they can modify it. The main thing is doing the workout together as a family. Kids are used to doing a lot of activities when in school, so this #stayinghome and #socialdistancing thing is an adjustment to them just as it is for us, parents. Get them moving through kid-friendly workout videos. 

Here, is an example of a workout you can do with your kids at home. PS. There are tons of workout videos out there, keep searching until you find one that works with the whole family.

 

2) Meditate – Now this one can be hard if you have little ones. If you can find time in the morning to do this (right before the kids wake up) then great! You can also meditate midday and really any time of the day, as long as you find that quiet space, then you’re set. Meditation can help bring calmness in the body and mind. With all of us glued to the news for the past weeks, it’s important to take some time to relax your mind and body. According to healthline.com, some forms of meditation can improve depression and create a more positive outlook on life. Research shows that maintaining an ongoing habit of meditation may help you maintain these benefits long term.

Don't feel like you need a lot of time to be able to meditate, even 5-10 minutes of meditation is enough to calm your body, mind, and spirit. If you’ve never meditated before, here’s a video you can follow. There are tons of videos for “Meditation for Beginners”, so again, keep searching until you find one that suits as there are different types of meditation.

 

 

3) Run – Depending on where you are in the world, but given that your location is not on lockdown, consider going for a run in and around your neighborhood. If you’ve never ran before, start with a walk, jog, run method for a total of 1km. It goes something like this: walk for 2 minutes, jog for 3 minutes, run for 1 minute, and repeat until you reach a distance of 1km. Increase the distance and modify the number of minutes when your body is ready. For example, start running 1-3 a week -  Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Start with 1km and the following week, increase it to 1.5-2km and so on. Don’t forget to stretch after each run and remember to listen to your body. Stop when you need to. Do it slow and steady. Doing this too fast may cause you to feel discouraged, it could feel like 'you can’t' do it, when in reality – you’re just doing too much too fast. Here’s a great ‘running for beginners’ video you can follow if you’re looking for more running tips.

 

 

4) Intuitive eating – During a stressful time, it’s easy to fall into an unhealthy way of eating. All these social distancing, stress, kids being at home 24/7, staying and working from home could feel very overwhelming. It is not a crime to have a treat, but know when you are overdoing it and do something about it. For example: have your favorite chocolate bar on a weekend instead of just any day of the week. If you’re one to cannot help yourself when you see sweets at home – do not bring it at home on days when you feel you shouldn’t be eating treats. Now, more than ever, we need to take care of ourselves to avoid trips to the clinic or hospitals to avoid getting the coronavirus and to protect the vulnerable in our community. But if you really want to have that piece of cake - hey, don’t be too hard on yourself and waste the whole day feeling guilty about it. Breath and let it go. Tomorrow is a new day. The key is to have your ‘intuitive eating’ on at all times or at least most days of the week. Check out this video for intuitive eating tips. 

  

 

5) Read – Have you ever wished you had more time to read? Perhaps this could be the time you reach out for that business book you bought months ago, but haven’t yet gotten the chance to even open it. Read some self-development books or any book that you feel will help you grow for the better. Don’t get into the ‘what is the point?’ mode just because we are going through this COVID19 crisis. Look ahead and lookup. This will be over, too. If anything, we should all take this time to prepare for what we have been working on before all this happened. Prepare for that day for when this is all over. Below are some of our favorite reads in random order:

 

  • The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
  • Essentialism by Greg Mckeown
  • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
  • The E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

www.apa.org

healthline.com
 

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