Are Sports Stars More Badly Behaved than Ever?

James Hunt

 

If one were to go by the incessant coverage of stars behaving badly in our newspapers and online, you could be forgiven for thinking that sportspeople in the professional era have been corrupted by greater fame and increased pay-packets and are descending into barbarism. Whether they’re getting drunk and behaving obscenely in public, swearing at officials on tv, assaulting members of the public or getting caught using illicit substances, today’s sports starts are frequently charged with setting a poor example for younger generations to follow.

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Does a healthy lifestyle improve productivity?


In a study conducted by a researcher at Brigham University in the United States, it was reported that people who live an unhealthy lifestyle, including unhealthy diets, were 66% more likely to report productivity loss than those who lived by a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is also said to release endorphins which can have positive psychological effects, such as a ‘euphoric high’. But what is it that leads to a productivity boost? MaxiMuscle investigate:

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Best Jogging Routes in and Around Vegas

Las Vegas

Las Vegas isn’t really known for its wide open spaces and natural beauty. It’s more about those big bright lights, crowds and fantasies come true. But that’s not to say that you can’t keep up your fitness when you’re going a little bit wild in Sin City. Life is all about balance after all! There is definitely the ability to mix in some raucous late nights with some reinvigorating mornings out running.

If you’ve gambled a little more than you meant to already, then save some cash one day in LV – go for a run in the morning and play the slots online in your hotel room in your pyjamas at NoDepositRewards at night. Your bank balance will thank you for it!

The best time of day to run in Las Vegas if you are in the city is very early in the morning, between sunrise and 9am. This is when the streets are quietest, as everyone is safety tucked into bed in their hotel, or for some, still partying behind closed doors – or stumbling home! For routes that are off the beaten track – so to speak – just ensure you’re not running in the extreme heat of the day. Stay hydrated!

Running the strip (southern end)

8.6km round trip, easy

You can do the run down the strip if you take it, like we said, as a very early morning activity. This way you won’t have to be dodging pedestrians left and right and well, not getting much of a run at all. There are many overpass bridges that you’ll need to climb over to continue your jog – many crossroads do not have crosswalks.

You can start your run here at the southern end of the strip, at the corner of Tropicana Avenue, which is right near (surprise, surprise) the Tropicana Hotel. Throughout the run you will get to check out some of the best hotels and attractions on the strip. If you do this run at the start of your trip, you might even get an idea of where you’d like to visit later when you’re out and about.

The start of the jog takes in the MGM Grand, along with your mini New York, with the Statue of Liberty and the skyscrapers of Manhattan close by, followed by the mini Eiffel Tower in Paris shortly after.

A bridge later and after some more hotels you’ll see Rome, with the Colosseum and the Forum. You can finish the run at Circus Circus Drive and circle back, or keep jogging down the strip to check out the old downtown area of Vegas.

Las Vegas

University of Nevada Las Vegas

7.15km round trip, easy

When you get tired of running the strip and are looking for something a little less glitzy and a little bit more green, the it’s time to go and check out the University of Nevada Las Vegas – the closest university to the strip. The route is located at the southern end of the strip, starting at Harmon Avenue and heading out east. You’ll see Planet Hollywood on the corner here so you’ll know you’re in the right place.

Jog out east for a couple of kilometres along a fairly uneventful road and eventually you will run smack bang into UNLV. Run into the campus where you’ll pass fields and then gyms on your left – after this take a left, and then right along the long track. You’ll know when you’ve come to the end – and you’ll need to take another right to go down another pretty track. Once the track runs out, keep running until you hit University Road, then make a right, keep jogging until you hit Gym Road and make another right, where you’ll eventually make it back to Harmon Avenue.

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, why not have a poke around the university to see what it’s like? Universities are often full of interesting little passageways and hidey holes.

Sunset Park

5km round trip, easy

Easily the prettiest park close to the city, Sunset Park is also a popular choice for runners looking for an alternative to the city streets. The park has plenty of facilities including softball fields, picnic spots, a pond, dog park, volleyball and tennis courts, plenty of jogging paths, and more. Once you’ve gone for your run around the park why not stop a while and enjoy what’s on offer. You can rent various sporting and fishing equipment, as well as bicycles from the Reservation Office, so it’s worth making a day of it if you can!

The 5km run is the run that takes in the outer of the park – this is the longest route that you can go on, for a total of 5km. There are shorter routes that take in various areas of the park, such as the 1 mile (1.6km) route around the lake. These are worth doing for either a quick run or a leisurely stroll.

Clark County Wetlands Park Wetlands Loops Trail

22.5km round trip, medium

Clark County Wetlands Park is located a 20-minute drive from the strip and proves to be a great escape from the city for those willing to make the drive out. As the name suggests, the park comprises of 210 acres of wetlands, with sprawling views out to the mountains. The park itself has a number of trails available for runners. However, if you’re after a really lengthy jog, then you can choose to do the full Wetlands Loops Trail which loops around the outside of the park. This trail is comprised of both a North Loop and a South Loop.

The North Loop of the track is paved, whereas the South Loop is not, so take care while jogging this part of it. Take a look at a map before you tackle this run, as you may be more interested in trying out one of the smaller trails, or other Valley trails which also hook up with this Wetlands Loop.

Las Vegas Athletic Clubs (LVAC)

Varies, easy

If it’s too darn hot outside to run and you’re not a fan of the treadmills in your hotel, then you’ll want to head along to an air conditioned indoor running track – which is just what they have at the chain of LVAC gyms. These gyms really do have everything, with not only tracks, but private women’s work out areas, pools, saunas, hydro pools, free weights and more – and they’re open 24 hours.

So what’s the downside, you say? Well, they’re only available for Las Vegas residents. However, if you are travelling and wanted to have a run for the day, they also let you have a 1 day trial at the gym – and you can claim it online. Hey, maybe you’re thinking of moving here?

There are 7 different LVAC locations across Las Vegas, so there is sure to be one in the area that you’re staying in and around. Have a poke around their website for some more information on their wide range of facilities, and the track in the location closest to you.

For more Las Vegas running routes, head over to the list at WalkJogRun to see user submitted suggestions about city and outer suburbs runs. You’ll find a range of routes with varying lengths and in various spots that you can try out.




How Fitness is Good for Eye Health

eye

Everyone knows how good exercise is for you – whether it’s for energy, weight loss/control, mental health or just a general feeling of well-being spiritually and emotionally, but did you know exercise is good for your eye health too? No, me neither (especially as I only started wearing glasses after starting running but that’s probably just an age thing and not an exercise thing) but Vision Direct do and they told me:

  • your eyes receive the same benefit as the rest of your body when you exercise;
  • there are connections between those who regularly exercise and a reduced chance of developing cataracts, wet aged-related macular degeneration and glaucoma;
  • eye disease is linked to health problems such as high cholesterol levels, diabetes and high blood pressure. Exercise limits these problems from happening;
  • moderate physical exercise such as going for a walk three times a week has been known to lower your intraocular pressure (IOP) and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve;
  • those who exercise regularly are 70% less likely to develop wet age-related macular degeneration compared to those who lead sedentary lifestyles;
  • you don’t have to run a marathon to see the benefits. You can do low-impact exercise such as cycling, walking or climbing the stairs to improve your eye health.

Don’t rely on exercise to keep your eyes in good health though – remember to keep up to date with your eye tests with your optician as they’re not just there to check your vision and to see if you need new/any glasses: while they’re peering into your eyes and making you jump with that blowing-out-a-puff-of-air machine, they can see if there’s anything worth checking out further with your doctor. I know this from experience as, a few years ago, after I’d had my two-yearly eye test, my optician wouldn’t let me have my prescription until I’d had a blood test at my doctor’s. The optician gave me a letter which I duly trotted down with to my doctor and had my first ever blood test (I wasn’t scared at all. Okay, I was totally scared and I didn’t even get a lolly for being brave, bah). Everything thankfully was fine but the moral of this story is that to keep your eyes in good health, exercise regularly and keep your eye tests up to date.

To keep your health even more in tip-top condition, if you do wear glasses, it’s probably a good idea to wear them (or contact lenses) when you’re out running, cycling or walking so you can see cars coming when you cross the road and make the likelihood of getting run over much smaller.

Full of top tips, me.




Storing Tips to Protect Your Running Gear

storage baskets

Even if you’re running every day, some gear rotation is a good idea. You’ll likely use different kinds of gear depending on the time of year, and may also simply fancy a change now and then. Putting gear you’re not using into storage helps preserve it for future use, and gives you the option to ring the changes without keeping unused items in closets.

Have a Clear Out

If you haven’t worn an item of running gear for a year, chances are you don’t need it. There’s no point storing things you know you won’t wear again, so be a bit ruthless.

Inspect kit for damage or wear, and resist the temptation to hold on to things that are past their best. You won’t feel comfortable in them anyway, and if you’re conscious of your clothing or you’re worried something might fall apart mid-run, you can’t focus on what you’re doing.

Pre-Storage Preparation

Having narrowed your gear down to the items you know you want, the next step is preparing gear for storage. Give everything a thorough clean.

Paying attention to washing labels and instructions, run everything through the washing machine and make sure it’s completely dry before storing. Damp clothes in boxes will slowly ruin. Avoid ironing anything. Not much running gear needs ironing, but if you wear cotton items you’d normally iron, save that chore for when you retrieve items from storage. Ironing can actually weaken fibres and may make clothes tear along the creases over the long term.

  • Cleaning running shoes – clean off mud and debris as any left on can weaken fabric fibres. It may be tempting to throw them in the washing machine but don’t as the detergent and heat can cause damage. If they’re really filthy, scrubbing with a small brush (try a toothbrush) and warm water should lift the worst of the dirt. Let them dry at room temperature. Stuffing with newspaper can help wick away excess moisture.
  • Waterproof jackets – you don’t want to over wash them as this can affect how waterproof the fabric stays, but they need some gentle cleaning. Do up the zips and close any flaps before washing. Choose a detergent formulated for waterproof fabrics and wash on a gentle, warm wash. Always check the label before tumble drying, but it will probably be okay. The heat from tumbling reactivates many water repellent materials.
  • Don’t forget water bladders – without thorough cleaning, bacteria can quickly build up inside water containers. A couple of tablespoons of baking powder in warm water works well. Give it a good shake and let it sit for around half an hour, then rinse thoroughly. Let it dry out completely before storing. A sneaky alternative is to store it in the freezer, if you have room. No bacteria will grow inside a frozen container.

Choosing Containers and Correct Packing

Plastic storage tubs are brilliant. You can see what’s inside, they stack securely and are light and sturdy. They offer excellent protection, but for extra security you could add layers of acid-free tissue paper between items.

When space is tight, rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones. No matter how tight your space is, avoid over packing boxes, and place heavier items at the bottom. Use separate shoe boxes for trainers and running shoes.

Locations for Storage

If you’re storing running gear at home, make sure your space is clean and damp free. Pests and moisture are the enemies of anything put into storage.

When space for storage is tight, self storage is a viable option. There are smaller lockers as well as entire rooms, so you can tailor your space exactly to your needs. Plus, short contracts mean you’re not tied in for longer than you want.

Good quality running gear isn’t cheap. Look after it, have a variety of items to give some a rest now and then, and your kit will give many running miles of good service.




Work, Running and Life…How Does it All Fit In?!

fitness schedule

With only 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week, how on earth do you begin to fit everything in without stressing out? A good life balance is essential, not just to keep you sane, but to ensure your running regime is as effective and enjoyable as possible.

Every runner has been there, feeling as though they are running for running’s sake. It’s horrible when every mile feels like a marathon in itself, and that’s after ignoring the little voice in your head telling you to stay in bed for an extra hour as you get your trainers on. You also know that as soon as you get back you have to get ready and leave for work, and then you have a busy evening.

It is the stuff of nightmares, but something that every runner will easily be able to relate to. How do you fit in all of the above while also allowing time for you just to sit back and chill?

Scheduling

Are you the runner that looks to ‘fit in’ a run when possible? Stop doing that, it’s not the way forward.

Think about how many times a week you run and schedule your runs at the start of every week. If you know when you will be running, you can fit everything else in around your runs, which you are already fitting in around work and other events. See how this is already getting easier?

Don’t Stress About Missing a Session

What do you do when you miss a run? Stress out and immediately look to cram in a run before you next run? Get worked up because you are behind on that training plan you follow?

Again, stop doing it. If you miss a run, you miss a run. So what? It happens; just make sure you hit your next run. The worst thing you can do is to veer away from your plan and cram in a run where there shouldn’t be one, especially if doing so does not allow you to rest before your next run. This is how injuries happen.

Days All About You

Does your current schedule not include any days where you can do whatever you want? If not, then reschedule, because a healthy life balance includes days just for you. If you work Monday to Friday, make sure that either Saturday or Sunday is free in order to give you the chance to rest and recuperate.

Booking days out is beneficial to rest not only your body but your mind, too, by taking you out of your usual environment. Attending events provides ample opportunity to unwind and let your hair down. If you click here you can find an example of a venue suitable for hosting events big and small, where you can celebrate an occasion with friends and family or party for no reason other than because you want to.

Other Exercise

Do you still find running boring, even with your newly-balanced schedule? If running is the only exercise that you do, then it should be no surprise. Don’t be afraid to substitute the odd run here and there for a session in the gym, a bike ride or another spot. Variety is the spice of life and, when you enjoy exercise, it doesn’t even feel as though you are exercising.

Even the most hardened of runners can find it hard to get their trainers on and plod along for X-number of miles. Running is best complemented with a balanced fitness regime, helping to condition your body to achieve the best performance possible.

The next time that you are worried about how you are going to fit everything in, remember that missing the odd session is not the end of the world, and mapping out the week ahead will help avoid a headache. Enjoy your running but, more importantly, enjoy your life.

 

 




Getting more out of your workout: The science behind boosting endurance

dumbbells

Whether you’re into running, swimming, cycling or aerobics, exercise requires a decent level of endurance to help you to avoid losing steam. Whether you are a natural born athlete or not, it’s important to seek out ways to enhance and improve your performance.

It’s important for you to know what endurance is and how your body builds it. The main requirements for endurance in sports is the ability to sustain a fast pace over a long period of time without feeling fatigued – it allows you to work out at a certain intensity for an extended length of time.

Try out these tips below to help you bump up your endurance that little bit more. With the right training and nutritional guidance, you’ll be able to keep going stronger for longer.

  • Eat well. When it comes to any type of exercise, carbohydrates are key. Your body uses glycogen for fuel, which is a substance found in bodily tissues and which acts as a store for carbohydrates. Once the glycogen has run out, the body will begin to seek out energy from another source and begin to burn fat. You should consume around 30-60g carbohydrates an hour while doing extended cardio sessions (this may vary depending on your weight). Studies have found that the right combination of carbohydrates and protein can enhance your endurance and reduce any muscle damage.
  • Top up with supplements. Sometimes it’s not possible to get all the energy you need from diet alone, especially if you’re engaged in an intense workout. You can top up your intake with the smart use of supplements and boost your body’s endurance in the process. From protein powders in supermarkets through to creatine from specialists such as Fysiqal Nutrition, there are lots of products that could help you push on to the next level.
  • To keep going harder and longer you need to keep your muscles fresh. Expert John Mandrola, from Greatist.com, says: “Go hard on hard days; go easy on easy days; and never string hard days together without adequate rest”. If you’re feeling fresh and rested it will help you go the distance. It’s something marathon runners understand, with training plans typically building in rest every other day.
  • Work on your weak parts. People often stick to what they know, but to help build your endurance you’ll need to mix it up a little bit. Getting to your personal best means working on those bits that are most challenging. It might be hard going at first – but overcome your weaknesses and you’ll unlock greater performance levels.
  • Train smartly. Check out the gradual adaption principle and learn how increasing your mileage and speed is a great way to build endurance. Run on soft surfaces, get enough sleep and drinks lots of water to avoid any injuries. Review your regime and see which bits you could fine tune.
  • Add strength. Variation is important in endurance training. Strengthening bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles will help improve your overall fitness. Mix up aerobic exercises with dumbbells and kettlebells to help improve your stamina. Strength and stamina go hand in hand.

With a good diet, lots of rest, a decent training regime and a focus on strength work, you’ll be able to work towards having a body that can go further and faster than ever before during your workout regime.

 

 

3 Staging Secrets to Improve Your Sporting Event

 

cycling event

 

There are two main types of sporting event: one is the big event with lots of different groups involved, the other is a smaller event, such as that run by a local club, with the aim of promoting a sport and attracting new members. Whatever the size of your event, there are some staging aspects you can’t avoid. Here are three staging considerations to think about when you start planning:

Make Barriers and Fences Work Harder

In sporting events, you have two types of active attendees: the athletes and the spectators. Neither stays still for long. You’ll need various types of barriers or fencing to either demarcate sporting areas or to keep spectators off running tracks or roadways.

They’re also useful to cordon off areas, say if you’re holding an outdoor sports event with various side attractions going on. Whenever possible, try to cater for all age groups, maybe having kids’ entertainment going on in a cordoned off area. Ideas include face painting or small competitive sports activities and games. Having barriers around these areas is good for safety, but it also shows people where to queue if the activity is popular.

In road races such as cycling or running, you’ll need crowd control barriers that prevent those watching straying into the path of athletes. Maybe you won’t need them all along the route, but in prime observing locations it may be necessary to erect a secure barrier that people can’t cross. Some kind of barrier system is also a good idea at finish lines as these often attract large crowds.

Seating

If you’re holding a sporting event in a local field, you’ll likely need some tiered seating around the sports activity area so everyone can be comfortable as well as getting a good view of the action. Events held in a sports hall or similar may benefit from bespoke seating arrangements too. Modular tiered seating is available for hire from specialist staging companies.

Some indoor venues may also benefit from this kind of seating, especially in individual sports where there is a show element, such as gymnastics or martial arts.

Another type of seating to consider is dining, grouped around catering vans or pop up kitchens. Cordoning off catering areas creates zones that people can identify with, as well as offering resting places.

Stages

Do you need a stage? Consider how you’ll announce each event, name athletes taking part, celebrate winners and encourage runners up? Spectators will expect some kind of commentary to keep them informed about what’s happening. You may also want to provide music between events, or to accompany certain sports that have a dance element. Decide what kind of stage and PA system you’ll need, from full stage decks to single decks for a speaker.

Along with the stage, you’ll likely need amplification and power, so there are cables to consider and how you’ll ensure these are safe in a public place.

Professional stage systems come in all shapes and sizes to suit all kinds of events, both indoors and out. Considerations include what size stage you need, and how strong it needs to be which will vary depending on what’s happening on the stage. Professional stage providers can help you determine what’s needed, and hire choices include either having it assembled for you on site or assembling and dismantling it yourself. If you’re arranging assembly yourself, make sure you get full instructions and drawings.

And finally, don’t forget to arrange insurances and licences, promote like mad, and capture contact details such as email addresses from those who attend so you can follow up afterwards.




Look Out For These Exercise Injuries

sprained ankle

Keeping fit is pretty important for a healthy life. Most of us partake in some form of recreation and training. Be it running or CrossFit, the elliptical or deadlift, you must always make sure that you choose the intensity of the exercises to match your current physical state.

Otherwise, you risk some serious injuries which can take a lot of time and money to heal. Experts at Fix Body Chiropractor Group of San Diego explain what consequences even a seemingly minor injury can have on your life in this article http://www.fixbodygroup.com/a-sprained-ankle-may-have-lifelong-consequences/.

So, what injuries should you be concerned about, how they occur and what can you do to prevent them? Read on to learn more.

Neck

As one of the most sensitive and vital parts of your body, you should take extra care when exercising to avoid neck injuries. The primary motivator for neck injuries is bad posture. Sadly, more and more people have improper posture and the science has proven it is killing us.

The majority of neck injuries while exercising come from the misalignment of the key points of the body. Typically, they occurred on the bench press, so you must make sure that your lower back and neck have firm support before you start lifting.

Shoulders

The major issue which can affect your shoulders is a sprained tendon, which comes as a result of the overly strained rotator cuff. We use our shoulders for the majority of exercises, so it’s no wonder they get injured.

You can easily prevent these injuries by just doing enough prep before serious exercises. Rowing and cable machines work well for this. Make sure you rotate your arms in all directions to fully activate your shoulders.

Lower Back

Probably the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions gym injury are back pains, most notably, lower back pains. These injuries come as a result of improper posture while doing exercises. Whether it is the result of your regularly poor posture, or from doing exercises which you don’t have the strength to do, the pressure is transferred to your lower back. And your lower back can only take so much before you injure yourself.

As a prevention, make sure you stretch and prepare well before you start. Oh, and make sure you can handle the weight you are lifting.

Knees

The knee is to your legs what your lower back is to the body, the middle point which gets all the stress of improper exercise. Whatever the type of exercise, if you’re not ready for it, your ankle is too weak to bear the pressure, and your hip is too immobile to do the same. This leaves only the knee. The biggest issue with knee injuries is that they never fully heal, so prevention is far better than trying to heal.

Prevention largely consists of warm up exercises which engage your whole legs, like lunges. The hip, knee, and ankle are all activated, preparing you for exercise.

Ankle

Improper posture offsets your centre of gravity and puts additional stress on the front of your foot. Furthermore, improper footwear during exercise is all it takes to seriously injure your ankle or the foot.

Find a proper shoe for exercising. If you are running, buy running shoes, they are named that for a reason. They are particularly good at distributing your weight properly, making sure you don’t put unnecessary weight on a single part of your foot.




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