Friday, May 26, 2017

Face Toning Exercises

January 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness & Health, Uncommon Sense

A member in my Core, Cardio & More class told me about these exercises.  She’s almost 60 and looks under 40 – her face and neck look as smooth as silk.  She’s been doing these exercises for years and they work for her.  It makes so much sense to me because muscles like toning.  Practice & Enjoy!

 

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California: Car and Driver are reunited

January 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous, Uncommon Sense

California is a desert. Every now and then we get WEATHER.

Yesterday, we went down the coast to attend a memorial service for a dear cousin. I tell you this so you know that only a truly important event would have gotten us out of the house on a stormy day – the likes of which we have not seen in a long time.  The memorial service was deeply moving and connected us as a community of friends and relatives.

When we went to leave, Half Moon Bay frogs were SINGING. We got in our car and went NOWHERE. We were STUCK. While we were inside enjoying food, song and conversation, my car was sinking. 3 men tried to push, 3 manly-men admitted defeat. With all the weather-related events happening, AAA was over 90 minutes away but then they went to a similar street name in San Mateo instead of Half Moon Bay. So we waited, made comfortable and welcome by dear cousins.

Finally, help arrived. AAA had to get creative to get my deeply-stuck-in-the-mud front tires free – this was not a straight forward release. Then Bob painstakingly rinsed the mud from the brakes. We left behind a huge hole – sorry cousins!  Finally, we were on our way home – around 11, not 8. All this time, the weather cooperated with only light sprinkles from time to time.

Home stretch: Coming into Pacifica, we encountered a police action. The road was closed due to a mudslide. I got out of the car and politely approached one of the many policeman (some of whom were waving flashlights around seemingly randomly, getting all the drivers confused). The officer I approached  was not helpful.  Isn’t part of a policeman’s job to be polite to regular folk, to answer reasonable questions in something other than unhelpful monosyllables?  As I returned from the policeman, many people in cars scattered all over were waiting and asking ME what was happening. I could have relayed good information; I could have been a bearer of NEWS as well as good will and a collective understanding that stuff happens.

At that point, we had a choice. Go all the way back to Half Moon Bay and around – at least an hour of driving with no knowledge of what we’d encounter (the AAA driver had already told us they were pulling a car out of a ditch on the main road) OR WALK.

We parked, got our headlamps (yes, I carry one in my car – thank goodness), an umbrella and started walking. The heavens picked THAT moment (the very moment we started walking) to dump BUCKETS of water on us. We sloshed for 45 minutes in a deluge of rain, running water, puddles and debris all over the roads and sidewalks.  We had a powerful tailwind.  Pacifica frogs were SINGING.  We got home safe and sound and soaked.

The next morning, I woke up realizing all my gear (for my morning class) was in my car. Plus all the yummy food from last night’s gathering.  Highway One was still closed, but they were running one-way controls, causing big delays in the morning commute.  Bob and I braved it.  We arrived at the tail end of traffic in both directions.  Instead of over an hour of waiting, we retrieved my car in 10 minutes. It was a breeze, almost as if nature was apologizing for the night before.

Travel Safe!

Update:  Good news – no one is hurt.  Bad news – AAA tow truck driver damaged my car when he tried the first 2 times to pull it out.  Toyota says it’s irreparable, structural damage and egregious incompetence of a tow truck driver.  Sigh.

Hindsight lesson for my readers:  A simple tow out of the mud should not result in severe damage to your car.  Never again shall I ASSume that the professional tow truck driver knows what’s best without monitoring closely.

Chant for 2017

January 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous, Uncommon Sense

I love this chant!

I learned it from my good friend Renee

written by: Ravyn Stanfield

Holiday Gift Guide Top Pick 2016

November 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Gear, Miscellaneous, Uncommon Sense

Our Top Outdoor Gift Idea this year is a HEADLAMP.  Why a headlamp?   Because we care….PLUS:

Headlamp? For those of us who use poles, it’s a no-brainer.  Put in your pack even if you know  you’ll be done before dark.  Stuff happens OTT (on the trail). Explore caves, tunnels, enjoy!  Why this model?  Black Diamond Spot is lightweight, waterproof and has great features.   The red light is used at night so we don’t blind our buddies or lose our night vision.  It comes in great colors – get a bright one for yourself and your favorite hiking buddy.

But also use for:

  • Travel ~ If you’re in a hotel room and want to continue reading while your partner wants the light out – BINGO! The aim-hinge helps your neck and posture.   (So does putting your book on a pillow)
  • Safety ~ for those of us in earthquake land, we know to keep a pair of sturdy shoes under our bed, at the ready. A pair of socks goes in one and the headlamp (when not in the hiking pack) goes in   the other.  That way we have our hands available.

As we get older (beats the alternative), we need ways to stay safe.  Once you get accustomed to using a headlamp, you’ll never go back.  But – please – use it.

Note:  when in your pack – LOCK IT! It can go on inadvertently in your pack and you end up with a dead battery/useless headlamp.  So read the instructions and use in health!620621_torc_spot_headlamp_web

Custom Directions:

I find the directions a little murky, so here’s a recap:  Open with the little lever on the side &  install batteries (included).   Then give yourself a tutorial:

  • One press for strong spot. One press for off
  • 2 quick presses for double (reading) light
  • 3 quick presses for flashing lights
  • Press and hold (about 2 seconds) for red (night) light

Keep pressing (4 to 6 seconds) to lock – again – VERY IMPORTANT to keep light from accidentally going on and draining the battery – blue lock light will come on.  Press and hold (4 to 6 seconds) to unlock.

Notice battery monitor – cool huh?

Once on, if you press and hold, all lights will dim.

Power tap on side will alternate between custom dimmed setting and full strength.

This really is the coolest headlamp – now practice, have fun and please USE IT.   Aim it vs. straining your neck.  If reluctant, try reading with it and we hope you think it’s the best reading lamp ever!

Holiday Gift Guide #3

Take care of your feet!  These massage balls saved mine and keep me hiking.  (5 part series on Plantar Fasciitis on this blog)

I keep at least one ball  in my car ALL the time – it lives under the passenger seat. After a hike (IF I’m a passenger of course), I can soothe/fix my feet by just using the relaxed weight of my leg and gently holding or slowly rolling the bottom of my feet. It’s SO healing.  I also use in the morning to relieve the plantar flexion that occurs in bed and tightens my feet.  If you get all 4, keep 2 and gift 2 buddies 🙂

Another tip for keep feet in neutral at night – I put a pillow at the foot of the bed to make a little “tent” space so the blanket does not weigh down on my feet all night long.

If you have not discovered Amazon Prime – it’s AMAZING.  The free shipping pays for the fee pretty fast and I love  the convenience and time-saving of finding almost anything and getting it fast.  It’s truly a gift (like Bay Nature Magazine) that gives all year long.

In case you have someone who has trouble getting out of your car (aging parents?), here’s a handy tool – I keep one in my car.

Hiking Guidelines

November 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Trail Tips, Uncommon Sense

BUDDY HIKES:  As people join our energetic hiking-for-exercise group, it’s helpful to communicate how we are VERY different from other groups.  I know this seems like a LOT, but every single one of these guidelines has emerged from some issue or concern.  Our goal is for everyone to have a good time and, since that’s different for everyone, please read before you join us:

Our prime directive is exercise.  Secondarily, we love nature.  That we can get great exercise – outside – and connect with our buddies is wonderful, but the social is an ancillary benefit to being outside exercising.

Chatter:  We are a “small” group by design.  Large groups of 16 to 20 can have 8 to 9 different, competing conversations.  It can get loud, when some of us want to hear the birds, the frogs, the burbling water, even the wind in the groaning trees.

  • Many people go into nature for the serenity.  4+ hours of competing conversations is not serene.
  • Some hikers are sound sensitive; some are hard of hearing.  One hiker I knew got migraines from the loud voices and stopped hiking with us.
  • Our hiking group is not the usual – show up, hike, social/chatty hiking group; hence these guidelines.
  • Quiet zones are where we walk in complete silence (except for trail hazard warnings).  They include early starts in places like Muir Woods where people go for serenity,  morning walks through campgrounds where people might be sleeping or waking, places where hazards are present so everyone can hear the warnings, as well as along streams, entering non-system trails or anytime a hiker requests “radio silence.”
  • Please do not wait for the leader to call a quiet zone.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and, if in doubt,  listen.  Remember Shinrin Yoku!

Trail Hazards & Conditions:  We call warnings – “Low Branch,” “Poison Oak in the Trail,” “NEWT!” We ask the last person on the trail to acknowledge this so we know everyone has heard it.   This means that conversations must take second place to trail awareness.   Please be aware and ON so that everyone is safe and has a good time, even if part of that time is quiet.  If anyone steps on a newt – the consequences are too severe to put in writing.

Confirm:  Trail head locations and start times can change due to weather or whim.  We ask that you reply to the hike coordinator to let him/her know of your intention to join us.  If it’s a meet-up hike listing, keep your status current.

Plus One:  Please do not extend an invitation to someone  without first checking with the hike coordinator.  If you do bring a buddy, please make sure s/he reads these guidelines before joining us.

OTT:  We start walking at the posted start time – it’s our OTT (on the trail) time.  If you have a specific time you must finish by, let the hike leader know before the hike starts.

Stopping:  We plan our gear adjustment stops/pauses collectively to minimize non-hiking time.  When hiking in rain – many more stops!  If you are stopping for photos, it is up to you to catch up with the group.

Biology breaks:  call your need (for this or any other reason to pause or stop), we’ll either wait or continue more slowly (if it’s a trail without an intersection).  Please do not walk ahead of the group for a biology break and then expect everyone to wait for you.

Trail Etiquette: 

  • Wait at intersections.
  • If there’s a substantial spacing in the group, it’s important to make sure the last person is with the group.  If you’re in the lead, occasionally look back.
  • If you’re lagging, try to keep up, even if it means less talking, more walking.  It might surprise you how much more expeditiously you can hike if you focus on the trail instead of chatting with your buddies.   But, if you’re having trouble, let the leader or another hiker know.
  • If your plan is to go at your own pace, let the leader know at the start.
  • Please do not stop in the middle of the trail causing everyone behind you to stop.  Pull off to the side so those who like to keep moving (even if more slowly so you can catch up) can do so.
  • If you have your cell on (for GPS, work or medical reasons), try to turn it low or vibrate.  If you get a call while hiking, please hang back away from the group to have your conversation.

Perfume:  don’t wear it.

No Cussing Please:  Profanity isn’t pretty.

Pole Etiquette:  make sure your pole tips are under your control and not aiming at other hikers.

Hike Descriptions:   We try to accurately describe the hikes so that hikers can decide if they’d like to join us for that hike.  If you confirm your intention to join us, please plan to join us for the stated hike.  This helps prevent schisms and extra conversation on the trail.  However, sometimes people need to shorten the hike for all kinds of reasons.   If you need to peel off, it is essential that you inform the hike coordinator as soon as possible.   Hiking back alone, especially if your reason is a medical one, may be contraindicated.

Car Pooling: 

  • Not everyone is comfortable car-pooling.  Do not offer someone else’s car or coordinate for someone else.
  • Car poolers:  Be early.  Consider tolls, parking fees and gas contributions.  Bring extra shoes for wearing in the car after the hike (or some protection for muddy boots on floor mats).

Hike Ratings (when we use them):  Hike ratings consist of a number-letter code where the number is the distance and the letter is the amount of uphill climbing.

Length (miles)

1: Up to 6
2: 6 – 10
3: 10 – 15
4: 15 – 20

Elevation Gain (feet)

A: under 1,000
B: 1,000 to 2,000
C: 2,000 to 3,000
D: 3,000 to 4,000

Staying Active, Fit AND Maintaining Muscle

You work hard to stay fit and active.

You hike, but do you strength train?  If so, are you doing everything you can to HOLD ONTO your muscles?

“Bodyweight underestimates body fat during the aging process because adults lose 5 to 7 lbs of muscle every decade of life unless they perform regular strength exercises.”

“Perhaps the main reason that diets do not work over the long term is that up to 25% of the weight lost on low-calorie diets is muscle tissue….muscle loss leads to a reduction in resting metabolic rate, which greatly increases the difficulty of maintaining the weight loss.”

“Several studies have demonstrated greater strength and muscle gains when extra protein is consumed just before or just after the weight workout.”

**A growing body of research has found that another way to increase protein synthesis is to consume some protein right after strength training.  This doesn’t call for protein supplements – a cup of milk or yogurt after a workout may be enough.**

Above in quotes are excerpts from Chapter 10 of the manual Fitness Professional’s Guide to Strength Training Older Adults.

Above in ** is taken from the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, Nov 2015 issue

These 2 excellent resources are saying the SAME thing.

And then there’s the question of whether or not you’re doing the BEST exercises for YOU.  That’s another blog post, but the word that describes doing the most efficient, most beneficial exercises for YOU (including the concept of injury prevention) – is programming.  It’s what trainers do for their clients.  Form matters!

 

Improving Balance

What body part is

  1. critically important for balance?
  2. largely ignored?
  3. incredibly responsive to minimal attention?

Hint:  It’s a joint

Give yourself a moment to consider the answer (unless you know immediately).   Click on the link only after you’ve worked the question a bit – please.

NYTimes Article

Limited ROM (range of motion) of this joint can significantly affect your balance.  So, if you have limited ROM, you can improve your ROM and, consequently, your balance within a very short period of time – like magic (really!)

Pole Etiquette, Safety and READ BEFORE you Borrow My Poles

September 17, 2015 by  
Filed under Pole Tips, Poles, Uncommon Sense

The other day a participant in my class was walking and eating an apple with her poles dangling in front of her.  My immediate response was – STOP!  Please don’t walk with your poles dangling down because you can trip on them.  I know this because I have (several times) gotten all mixed up – poles, legs, hiking – yikes!

Then it registered to me that she was EATING an apple.  She was borrowing my top end, foam grip poles.  They’re discontinued and I have only a few pairs left to loan or sell.

This put me in the VERY uncomfortable position of having to ask her to please finish her apple and wipe off her hands before she resumed with my poles.  She completely understood and was gracious.   I loan gear and people expect it to be CLEAN.

Please, if you are a participant in one of my classes, consider that bananas, apples, sticky energy bars, etc.  do not mix well with high-performing pole grips.  Sticky grips – yick!

 

Disposable Society – Warning, this is a rant

Yesterday I was watching one of my all-time  favorite cooking shows – a lady from California making a wonderful vegan soup recipe.  She poured the thick contents of the blender into the bowl, leaving a large amount in the blender then added water to the bowl to thin the soup.

She put the blender aside without scraping any of the remaining soup into the bowl.  She COULD have put the water into the blender and swished it around, capturing all the yummy ingredients instead of wasting them.  This would have taken NO extra time and would have demonstrated what I consider the essence of ecology cooking  **

Television chefs need to set good examples.  Silicone spatulas are a cook’s friend.  Scrape all that yummy (expensive, healthy ingredients) food into the bowl/pot/container or onto your plate.  Don’t waste it and, for heaven sake, don’t teach others to waste.

This chef’s wasteful behavior was frustrating to me because of all the people out there who might copy her example and has earned my rant.

Whether it’s mellow yellow in California or preservation of some resource – we all need to do our part.  Our recent journey to Glacier National Park was bittersweet.  The glaciers are disappearing.  The naysayers of climate change seem to want to give us permission to not pay attention.  Imagine a world without clean water.  Be thankful of light switches that work.  Hug a tree.

End of rant.

** What is ecology cooking?

Joyfully creating dishes
that are healthy and tasty
& conserve or preserve
energy, resources and/or time.

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