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Biking and Hockey Predictions

April 11, 2012 in biking, Outdoor Activity

The 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs commence this week and I thought I would post something hockey related. This hockey analysis is not of the same calibre as TSN, Sporstnet, CBC Sports, or our friends at the Canucks Hockey Blog. Instead, it’s a video of our 3 year old giving her opinion of this year’s Stanley Cup finals and dropping the names of a couple of her favourite players. She took a break from riding her (run) bike, which is quickly becoming one of her favourite outdoor activities, to share her thoughts with us. I couldn’t make out what her last answer was but it was Canucks related so hi-five to that!

Happy 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs! Go Canucks Go!

 

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Find a Way

March 26, 2012 in Exercise, Running

It’s been a while; sorry for the long gap between posts. I’m sure all our loyal readers (Dawn’s mom) have been anxiously checking for amazing new content daily (photos of grandkids).

We’ve been going through a bit of a transition that has made making time for keeping active, let alone posting to this blog, even more challenging. Circumstances in our lives have changed and we made a decision that Dawn would have to go back to work. She still gets her mommy time with the kids during the day as her work hours are part-time in the evenings providing rehabilitation and fitness training services. The great thing about it is, she’s doing something she really enjoys and she is very passionate about – health and fitness!

The challenge for us now, given our new set of circumstances, is that our schedules are so tight that it leaves us with less time together as a complete family unit, time together as a couple, and time individually for fitness.

Despite the situation and the prolonged wet winter weather we’ve been experiencing in Metro Vancouver, we’re not allowing ourselves to use it an an excuse to fall off the wagon. We’ve been finding ways to make it work and stay committed to each other, our kids and to keeping active.

For me, looking back over the past three months since Dawn’s been back to work, I have actually managed to rack up and increase my running mileage!

Monthly running graph

Runs I have tracked so far in 2012 using the Nike+ running system.

 

Here are 3 actions I’m taking to keep me on track.

1. Rally the troops. My office signed up a team for the Vancouver Sun Run this year and I’ve discovered there are a few other runners in the office who are enthusiastic about getting some runs in before the big race. We get together for short runs over our lunch breaks whenever our schedules and the weather allows. It’s been a great way to re-energize mid day and also a great way to get to know my colleagues outside of the office.  I’ve also been using get-togethers with friends as opportunities for exercise. We’ve recently had friends over for a ‘run & brunch’ or for simple home workouts in the garage. I’d say it’s time well spent, catching up and getting fit.

2. Run commute. Instead of taking the bus to the train station after work, I’ll gear up and run there instead. It’s about a 4km run and gets me there at about the same time and sometimes faster than the bus. I plan to do a separate post on run commuting in the near future with some helpful tips and tricks on how to do this. In the meantime, you might want to visit The Run Commuter.

3. Long weekends. Without sacrificing family time, Dawn and I both schedule a long run on the weekends and since we can’t run together, we do it back to back, one person after the other. She is usually up and out of the house before me and the kids are even out of bed. When she returns, I’m ready to go for my run. By the time we’re both done, we’re feeling great and have still got the full day to look forward to with the kids.

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Birthday Parties

February 4, 2012 in Exercise

Kids, food, gifts, toys, games, cake & exercise! Who doesn’t love birthday parties? Birthdays can be a lot of fun, and yes, exercise too. Our 3 year old daughter, Malaya, has been fortunate enough to have been invited to several birthday parties over the past year and most recently attended one that was hosted at a community centre gymnasium. Games were led by an activity leader staffed by the centre and the kids had a lot of fun.

I thought it was also a great way to promote physical activity for the kids. The structured environment gave the kids an opportunity to practice listening to and following instructions given by the activity leader while playing cooperatively with the other kids. The gym provided plenty of room to run around and expend the kind of energy that only little kids seem to have.

Malaya and all the other kids certainly got their share of exercise that day.

A Happy Birthday shout out to Kaiya who turned 5 years old this year and to her parents for putting on a great party for the kids (and adults too).

Malaya and Kaiya smiling

Malaya and Kaiya celebrating Kaiya's 5th Birthday!

Here are some photos from some other fun and exercise infused birthday parties we’ve attended this past year.

Gymnastics Birthday Party

Kaitlyn's 3rd Birthday at the Gymnastics Gym

 

Colourful parachute at a birthday party

The colourful parachute is fun for any occasion.

 

Birthday Party Bouncy Castle

Brea's 3rd Birthday at the Community Centre Multi-Purpose Room

Birthday Party at Dance Studio for Bollywood Lesson

Dawn's 30th Birthday at iDance Studios

Have you been to or hosted a party that required you and your guests to be active? Post your experiences or ideas in the comments. Malaya’s birthday is only 6 months away!

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Shoelace Hack

January 8, 2012 in Exercise, Running

Have you ever held up a game of basketball with your friends because your shoelaces came undone and everybody had to wait for you to do them up? Or have you ever had to stop mid run just so you could stop and tie your annoying laces that keep unravelling? Say goodbye to those days.

When I was in first grade I learned how to tie my own shoelaces using the two ‘bunny ears’ method. It was easy enough to learn but I found it unreliable at keeping my laces tied. Eventually, I would learn that there was another way to tie laces. I started to notice the majority of my friends and other kids tying their laces using only one bunny ear, wrapping the other lace around it and making a second loop through the middle. I thought this was super cool and wanted to be like everybody else so I deflected to the one bunny ear way.

One bunny ear or 2, neither was 100 percent resistant to becoming undone, especially during sports. Some laces were worse than others, depending on the type/style of lace. So I learned and resorted to double-knotting. Problem solved, right? Well, not exactly. Double-knotting is great at keeping your laces locked but they’re a pain to undo.

Five years ago I encountered and adopted a surefire way to tie my laces without having them come undone on their own, yet easy enough for a toddler to untie. I can’t remember where I learned this from but if I ever come across it again, I will most definitely give it due props here.

It won’t be long before I’ll have to teach my kids how to tie their laces and this method should save them from any shoelace grief in the future. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Instructions: Make two loops (bunny ears) and cross them, thread one loop over and through the middle, then thread the other loop under and through the middle. Voila! You’re off to the races.

Update 01/15/12: I’ve just learned that this is called a “double slip knot” or “Ian’s Secure Shoelace Knot” according to Ian’s Shoelace Site. This site is the epitome of shoelace geekdom and I love it. Visit his website for step-by-step guides and illustrations on tying shoelaces in dozens of different ways.

 

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The 9-9-9 Workout

December 13, 2011 in Exercise

The 9-9-9 WorkoutWhen we’re short on time but feel like we need to move our butts, we typically opt for short and intense workouts with minimal to zero rest breaks. In November, we experimented with the 9-9-9 workout which we discovered on the Men’s Health website.

The first 9 refers to the number of repetitions performed of each exercise; the second 9 is the number of rounds of the circuit; and the third 9 is the maximum number of minutes to finish the entire workout. Essentially, the task is to complete the entire workout as fast as possible (hopefully, in under 9 minutes).

We made a slight modification to the workout due to the fact that we don’t have the set-up at home to safely perform inverted rows, opting for bent- over rows instead. We also chose to do plyometric squats instead of body weight (air) squats to increase the intensity of the workout.

Here’s our version of the circuit:

1. Plyometric (jumping) squats: 9 reps
2. Push-ups: 9 reps
3. Bent-over rows: 9 reps
4. Jumping Jacks: 9 reps

That’s one round. We managed to complete the 9 rounds of the circuit with zero rest between rounds. Here are our results:

Nov 4:       Jerrick-8:51; Dawn-8:12

Nov 13:     Jerrick-7:25; Dawn-6:55

Nov 26:    Jerrick- 7:42; Dawn: 7:34

For the bent-over rows, I used two 25 lbs. dumbbells and Jerrick used a 65 lbs. barbell. During our workout on Nov 26, I struggled with the push-ups at the end and had to modify them for a few reps in the final round of the workout. I was definitely challenged by the race against time.

9-9-9 Push-ups

Push-ups

9-9-9 Bentover Rows

Bent-over rows

9-9-9 Plyometric Squats

Plyometric Squats

I like the flexibility of this workout, in that it can be modified in so many ways. Whether you want to increase the intensity or if you don’t have the equipment, here are some modifications that can be experimented with:

  • Burpees or mountain climbers instead of  jumping jacks
  • Bodyweight (air) squats or dumbbell squats instead of plyometric squats
  • Renegade rows with dumbbells/kettlebells or seated rows with resistance bands can replace the bent-over rows
  • Bench press, swiss ball push-ups or spiderman pushups instead of regular push-ups
  • Plastic milk jugs filled with water or sand can substitute for dumbbells
  • ….the possibilities are endless.

Here’s a link to the Men’s Health 9-9-9 Workout.

Give it a try and let us know how it goes. We’d love to hear from you.

D.