Stay Fit This Fall

The arrival of fall doesn’t mean you have to give up exercising and do away with all the progress you made over the summer. Outdoor exercise in the fall can be even more enjoyable than in the summer months. Here are some tips to help you enjoy a safe and productive fall season of fitness.

Focus on safety. In the fall, the sun rises later and sets earlier. These shorter days make exercising outside a little trickier in terms of safety. If you find that your regular workout time has suddenly left you in the dark, be sure to wear reflective clothing so passing vehicles can see you. If you are running or walking, bring a flashlight or wear a headlamp. When riding a bike, consider outfitting it with reflectors, a headlight and a taillight. Also, pick a route you are familiar with.

Dress accordingly. One benefit of working out in the fall is the absence of the grueling summer heat. However, the change in weather does warrant more preparation for your outdoor workouts. Remember to wear layers of clothing that protect you from the wind and the cold.

Remember to enjoy the scenery. While working hard to achieve your fitness goals this fall, don’t forget to take in the extraordinary beauty around you. After all, the colorful foliage of autumn is a short-lived delight! You might even consider varying your usual routine to explore nearby parks or mountain trails where the changes in leaves are more prevalent. Other characteristically fall activities like apple picking, pumpkin picking, visiting a haunted corn maze and raking leaves are also fun alternatives.

Continue to drink plenty of water. Even though the heat of summer has given way to the cooler temperatures of fall, staying hydrated is just as important. Remember that hydration helps your body recover from your workouts. Although you may not feel as thirsty in the cooler weather, your body still needs those fluids.

Explore new activities. Autumn is a season of change, perhaps it’s time to bring on some change of your own. This fall might be the perfect occasion to give a brand new activity a try. Depending on your interests, you might consider tap dancing, spinning, fencing, boxing or yoga.

As the summer sun fades, safely discover all the exciting and new opportunities that the fall has to offer! As always, make sure to talk with your doctor before you begin any intense physical regime. Do you have any fall fitness tips? Please share below!

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Father’s Day

Father’s day, a time to thank the men in our life for all they do. This Sunday, give your dad a gift that will remind him you are thinking of him long after Father’s day passes by giving him something that will help keep him healthy and active.

enohammock

Let your dad kick back with the ENO Hammock. These are awesome, and quickly gaining popularity – for good reason. They can transform nearly any place into a personal lounge; all you need is two trees. Buy them with the attachable straps and you have an easy to set up, hassle free, relaxation tool. Where these really shine is in portable size, you can take them literally anywhere.

Get him into yoga with a Brogamat. A fun twist on a healthy activity, Brogramats have created yoga mats with a masculine twist. Mats and cases feature images of firewood, burritos, and toy soldiers. Durable quality, these mats are helping to shake the feminine image of yoga.

Help him find a new hobby: homebrew starter kit. Homebrewing is going through a renaissance in the United States. An easy, and inexpensive hobby to start, you can help your father find a new and exciting hobby brewing his own beer. He’ll love showing off his homebrew collections to friends and family when they visit his house, and if your lucky he’ll share some with you.

tenkara

Get him outside more with this tenkara kit. Tenkara is a form of traditional Japanese fishing. Similar to fly fishing, Tenkara differs in that you only need a rod and a line, whereas fly-fishing requires a reel. With less fly patterns, this type of fishing relies much more on technique than gear, and its minimal nature has only broadened its Zen appeal.

Help your dad find a movie with the Google Chromecast. The Chromecast is one extremely cool device. A less expensive alternative to the Apple TV and Amazon Fire, the Chromecast transforms any television into a fully capable streaming device. With a growing number of supported apps (HBOGo, Netflix, ESPN, etc.), and an expansive collection of movies and shows on the Google Play store, the Chromecast will keep your dad entertained for days on end and makes sure he will never miss his show.

Of course, great gifts don’t need a hefty price tag attached. Spend some quality time with Dad on Sunday by having a picnic in the park, going on a hike or organizing a neighborhood baseball game. This weekend’s forecast is calling for lots of sun, so the weather should be perfect to enjoy some outdoor time together – just don’t forget the sunscreen! How are you planning to celebrate on Sunday? Tell us your favorite things to do with Dad in the comments below!

Stay safe during a thunderstorm

June in Colorado means beautiful sunny days spending time outdoors. But the beautiful weather also comes with a catch, and in the summer months that is the daily afternoon thunderstorm. Whether you’re on the course playing 18, hiking in the mountains, or at your child’s soccer match – thunderstorms can come out of nowhere and dampen your day. Living with this reality, we need to understand the risks associated with thunderstorms and how best to minimize them to maximize our time spent enjoying the outdoors.

Thunderstorms require three ingredients: moisture, unstable and rising air. In the Front Range, as dense cold air moving over the mountains descends and hot air from the plains rises – it creates convection. Convection occurs as warmer air rises and transfers heat to the upper levels of the atmosphere. The water vapor transported by this warmer air cools, and condenses into a cloud. As this process continues, the cloud grows bigger and higher – cumulonimbus clouds can reach up to 75,000 feet in the air. As the water droplets cool they turn into ice. As these ice particles collide they create an electrical charge, and when enough electrical charge forms we get a bolt of lightning.

Thunderstorms present many dangers:

  • Heavy rainfall can cause flash flooding.
  • Sparks from lightning strikes can start forest fires.
  • Hail and heavy wind can cause damage to trees, cars, and structures.
  • Under the right conditions, tornadoes can form and have been known to cause devastating damage.
  • Lightning strikes can kill people.

As Coloradans we spend a lot of time outdoors and we will inevitably be caught in a thunderstorm from time to time. Here are some tips to ensure that you stay safe from the many ways a thunderstorm and lightning can harm you:

Check the forecast. If you are spending anytime outdoors, make sure you check the forecast. If meteorologists are calling for severe weather change your plans. The last thing you want is be stuck on a mountaintop in a thunderstorm, so plan accordingly.

Find shelter. Unprotected and exposed in a thunderstorm is the worst place you can be. Try to take shelter in a building or vehicle. If you are in an open field, find a low-lying area, but be wary of flooding. Also, beware of small metal structures like dugouts and sheds. These structures offer relief from the rain, but are dangerous places to be if stuck by lightning.

If you can hear thunder, you are not safe. Lightning produced by a thunderstorm can reach you as far as 10 miles away. If you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning, so take necessary precautions to ensure safety.

Avoid lightning prone areas. Hilltops (summits) and ridge lines, open fields, tall isolated trees, and the beach or any body of water make for attractive targets for lightning strikes. Also avoid natural lighting rods like tall, isolated trees in open areas.

Avoid contact with convection items. Even if you’re indoors, lightning from a thunderstorm can still harm or even kill you. Avoid using indoor plumbing and running water. Also, stay away from electrical outlets and appliances connected to them. Don’t stand near walls, windows, or doors that border outside.

By taking the necessary precautions during a thunderstorm, you will keep yourself and your family safe. Don’t let a little foul weather ruin your outing by staying educated and proactive in your family’s safety.

mosquitoes are the world's most dangerous animal

Avoid Mosquitoes and West Nile Virus this Summer

It’s not lions, tigers, or bears (oh, my!) but rather the mosquito that is the deadliest animal in the world. It’s not even close. Known for carrying numerous diseases ranging from Dengue to Malaria, these tiny flying bugs kill more than 1 million people each year! The diseases they spread sicken millions more, and in some of the most infested areas they have altered human activity by forcing people to dislocate to avoid them.

In the United States, we’re lucky that mosquitoes rarely carry diseases as severe as these, but they can still cause damage beyond disrupting a camping trip. West Nile Virus (WNV) is the biggest threat from these bugs in the US, and in Colorado we have one of the highest rates of contraction of this mosquito carried disease. In the 2003 West Nile outbreak, there were roughly 3000 reported cases of WNV and 63 deaths in Colorado alone. Every year we hear about cases of West Nile popping up across the country; here are some steps to avoid pesky bites and avoid this dangerous disease.

Wear long sleeved shirts and pants outdoors. The proboscis (the “straw” the mosquito uses to suck up blood from its victim) isn’t long enough to penetrate most clothing, so wearing long sleeves and pants can go a long way to keep mosquitoes off your body. Hats, gloves, scarves also go a long way in keeping these bugs off you (though they may not be practical during the summer heat). If it’s covered up, the mosquito won’t be able to get to you. If you want to go even further, you can wear netting over your head. You might look a little silly, but you’ll have the last laugh when everyone else is applying calamine lotion.

Avoid or remove standing water. Nearly any standing water can house mosquito larvae. In nature these bodies of water include streams, wetlands, ponds and lakes. In your neighborhood and yard they breed in retention ponds and any other body of water, including small spaces such as an open bucket or plastic covers. Be sure you are proactive when you are near these types of areas, wearing appropriate clothing and applying repellant. If you have standing water on your property, remove it.

Try a Natural Mosquito Repellant. If you are worried about the chemicals in traditional bug sprays then you should try a natural bug repellant. Many oil extracts from sources like cinnamon, thyme, soybean and citronella provide natural relief from mosquitoes. If you’re sitting outside consider lighting a citronella candle, or burning rosemary over an open flame, to thwart those pesky critters. If you do use a DEET based repellant, remember you don’t need to spray these repellants on your open-skin; The American Mosquito Control Association states that people should avoid spraying high concentration DEET (50 percent or more) on their skin.

Avoid Mosquitoes’ Active Time. Mosquitoes are most active during the early morning and in the evening, although they are active around the clock. If you are going to be out during these peak times, make sure you take the necessary steps to avoid being bitten by covering your skin and using repellants (natural or DEET).

With all the rain we’ve gotten in the last month, there will be plenty of mosquitoes flying around this summer. If you take the necessary steps and precautions to prevent mosquito bites in the first place, you will greatly reduce your risk of contracting West Nile Virus. Make sure your family and friends know how to avoid being bitten and we can all enjoy a happier and healthier summer together. Do you have any other tips to avoid mosquito bites? Let us know in the comments below.