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Cycle into Spring and Bike Safety

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It’s springtime and even though no-one alerted the weather yet that it is spring but we have had a few good days for bike riding.  With warmer weather we have the ability to get the family outside more and one of my family’s favorite activities is bicycling. We have a membership to our local arboretum and love to take the kids there to tool around.  Cycling is the second most popular outdoor activity right after running for Americans.  Last year my husband and I splurged and bought ourselves new bikes, bike car seats for the kids, water bottle holders and even a bike rack.  What we did not buy were bicycle locks. But we are not alone, statistics show that 33 % of individuals do not lock their bikes up, and an unattended, unlocked bike is an easy target for thieves. 

So why don’t we lock up our bikes? Maybe we still like to believe that we live in a world where we can leave our front doors open to catch a breeze and kids can leave their bikes in front of the store to grab a cool drink on a summer day.  Sadly with 48% of people having had their bike stolen, or knowing someone who has, it just isn’t the case anymore.  Our bikes weren’t cheap, they weren’t racing bike expensive, but they were a little more expensive than the grocery store variety – enough to warrant protecting them from theft with a $26 bike lock.  Enter the

image 8195D Force Series ULock:

  • Force 3 standard U-lock
  • $1000 anti-theft guarantee
  • Sliding dust cover protects keyway from dirt and moisture.
  • Hardened steel body resists cutting, sawing and prying.
  • Double locking shackle withstands 3 tons (2.72 metric tons) of pull force.
  • Disc key for superior pick resistance.
  • Soft grip for comfortable use, weather and scratch resistance.
  • Carrier bracket included for convenient storage.

I have used this lock and it is quick simple, comes with a carrying bracket that mounts to your bike so there is no excuse to not have a lock with you.  You are more likely to lose your lock key than lose your bike to a thief with this lock.  The $1000 anti-theft guarantee assures you that these locks will provide security and peace of mind through many years of use. They have been engineered to provide you the highest level and most economical means possible to secure your property. It’s just another reason why Master Lock products offer street smart security.

Now that you are armed with your lock and your bike you are ready to set out, right? Well don’t forget basic bike safety.  Riding while wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85%, so be sure to cover your noggin before you mount up and know that 3 hours of cycling a week can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke by 50% so get pedaling.

As for your bike be sure to check:

 imageDon’t own your own bike? No problem there are options for those who don’t own to simply rent, including a new online site Spinlistera marketplace that lets bike owners rent their bikes to travelers, cyclists, and locals looking to explore over 300 cities in 50 countries.

How it works:

-For bike owners, it’s easy to list a bike and earn cash. After filling out a few details, and submitting photos of your sweet chariot, within 24 to 48 hours (after we check for quality, price, and accuracy), your bike will be ready for rent.

-For bike renters, you have it easy too! Simply search by location, bike size, and type to get a list of available bikes near you. From there, you can request a rental from the bike’s owner and ask questions. Once the Lister approves your request, it’s a match made in bicycle heaven.

 

I was provided a sample bike lock for review and use of graphics, I was not compensated in any way and all opinions are my own, given freely.

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Hula Hoops, Wrestling, and Vegan No Fat No Sugar Cookies Recipe

As chaotic as this post title sounds, it is a true representation of the chaotic life I sometimes find myself swirling in. As my husband posted on FB tonight, “It’s almost midnight so that can only mean one thing – hula hoop party!” Our after dinner dance party was co-opted by hula hooping when E asked me to get out my mini hoops for him.  I grabbed the whole stack from the garage and we hooped for 20 minutes or so before frustration set in for the under five foot crowd. Hooping is hard work. You can purchase hoops for as little as $1 at dollar stores but I don’t recommend them for adult use as they are too small and light. I make my own hoops and if someone like me can do it, you can too.  I wrap them, but I am not a patient person so they are not perfect.

Hula Hoop How To:

  • PVC Ratchet Cutter $15hoops
  • Irrigation Tubing 100 ft roll $11 (makes 10 hoops)
  • Insert connectors (50 cents)
  • Hair Dryer or Heat Gun
  • Electrical Tape

 

TEKTON 6466 PVC Pipe CutterProduct Details

I cut the Insert Connectors in half that way I get two for one.

I cut my tubing so that my hoop will be at underarm height, I learned this was how to size a hoop during a hoop workshop in Chicago. I use the hair dryer to heat the ends and insert the connector making a basic hoop. Then I tape my hoop.

For the best instructions on the web with photos visit: http://www.jasonunbound.com/hoops.html

DSC03385Next on the night’s agenda was wrestling. I know that tumbling mats can be pricey and I had been eyeing them for years. Can you imagine my surprise when on a random trip to Goodwill I found one for $6.99? We happen to live in an affluent town where gymnastics is popular and many people purchase professional mats and beams so I’m always on the look out for outgrown treasures. If you are frugal like myself there is nothing better than springtime garage sales and winter time thrift stores to find some wonderful family friendly fitness equipment. The other mat you see is my Thai Bodywork mat, when it isn’t being used the kids like to sit on it to watch each other wrestle.

The night quickly became a workout for the whole family as the kids ran around the front room (it is empty because I use it as a studio space) and through the house trying to sneak up on each other and daddy. Stealth is lost on my four year old who eagerly and loudly chants “this way, this way, get him mommy” as we try to creep up and tackle my husband.DSC03397

Even my youngest gets involved when her brothers bring out the championship belts to wrestle – the ultimate prize for the wee wrestlers.  This type of imaginative and active play goes on at our house all of the time. We are careful to mention to our kids that this is “house play” and this type of play is not for outside of the home.  We have never in 11 years of parenting ever had a problem with our kids crossing the line while playing outside of our home – though I admit the first 9 years we were homeschoolers.

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All this activity makes little guys and gals thirsty (so water was on hand) and a bit peckish.  Mommy to the rescue.  I whipped up some Whole Grain Omega Cookies with no added sugar or fat. Before you tut in disbelief that anything with that name could be good take a look at the recipe and the photos.

 

 

 

Whole Grain Omega Chip Cookies – no added fat/sugarDSC03399

  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup agave
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

*mixed in a bowl

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup flax flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

*Sift and slowly mix into wet ingredients.

  • 1/4-1/3 cp oats (added to until the dough drys up a little)
  • 2/3 cp or more of dark chocolate chips (who am I to say how much chocolate is enough for you!)

*Mix the rest of the ingredients together.

Preheat oven to 350. I take a TBSP and scoop dough balls onto nonstick air bake pans. If you like to use spray or grease the pans – go for it. Bake 15 minutes, or until golden – these are soft chewy cookies.

We Can Enjoy the Wii But We Won’t Weight Less

I find the Wii Fit and the Balance Board are not that accurate.  The whole family, including myself – love it, but that requires us to take turns.  In one hour my weight on the board went up 2.9 lbs, then later back down, even though the weight had been in an hour’s time frame – it still asks why you think you have gained weight and then mentions that weight can fluctuate in a day +- 2 lbs.

I have also found that my son, who loves to play the running game but finds he can cheat by waving the controller around (granted a 30 minute run at his age is a little much) – now starts waving his arms around in his sleep like he has a controller in them – kind of scary so we are weaning him off of the running).  He loves the skiing games and is determined to “knock everyone’s faces off the scores”.

I found you can hula hoop while breastfeeding – my best time (or breast hoops) so far is 682 on advanced – it gives me a nice break from the solitude of nursing.

I completed all of the yoga poses that I have unlocked this far -not impressed really by them but I have pretty high standards for yoga – in video game form – Maya is far better and I found that they repackaged her as My Fitness Coach for the Wii, exact same as the XBOX Game.  The strength training portion isn’t bad except that it really leaves a great deal of room for improper form and cheating – there are some things you just can’t measure with the board – especially the ab exercises.

My biggest complaint is that the “trainers” don’t set up a sequence for you in yoga or a strength training routine for you – the way that Maya does.  It is up to you as the user to go in and select each individual pose, etc.  I hope for future versions you can at least select a few to string together, if not have the trainer come up with a program.

I wanted to know if the Wii Fit and the Balance Board truly helps lose weight. After reading so many blogs talking about weight loss with the Wii Fit, and subsequent weight gain when not using the Balance Board & Wii Fit I decided to test this out myself.  I have been using it now for 9 days straight, Body test and training everyday, on top of my already busy schedule teaching yoga, group fitness classes and private training.

I haven’t noticed any weight loss but that is no surprise, it can take 6 weeks to visibly notice any changes so  I opted for a less subjective test and I strapped on my heart rate monitor – a monitor I have checked and verified against Hospital finger pulse machines, cardio machines, etc. and it is within a 1-2 beat range of error.

I started with a standing resting heart rate of 63.  after completing the 3 minute Step Aerobics segment – my HR was only at 87 and I felt perfectly fine, I get more winded pulling several pairs of my husband’s heavy jeans out of the washer.  There is definitely not enough cardio benefit there to help burn calories in my mind.

Next on to the hula hooping, which I do feel a little bit of exertion during.  Again, a standing resting rate of 66, after the Advanced Hula Hoop (I believe this is 3 minutes as well, 90 seconds each side) I attained a low for me score of 632 spins which still labeled me as a Calorie Roaster. I was at a HR of 109 – a little bit better but still not a cardio workout by any means.

My low end of HR (70% maximum) is supposedly 131, and I can easily carry on a conversation with my HR near 150 on a treadmill.

I think I have determined that the reviewers out there who are claiming to lose all of this weight with the Wii Fit either a) are attributing weight loss to the Wii when in fact they are also dieting, and exercising more b) lying -which I doubt c) are inactive and eat more when they aren’t using the Wii Fit so that the time they spend on the Wii Fit is time they actually spend away from snacking / sitting in a sedentary manner.

In other news:

I finally hit Professional Penguin status with the balance game, my time as an amateur penguin is over.   I was motivated by my desire to beat Chrissie – who it turns out only lifts his heels off of the board instead of leaning and using his core – any exploitation of technology and he is there. My Wii Fit age today was 28, a -4 age with the same statement “Your body is still in pretty good shape”.

She Who Controls the Thermostat Controls the Yoga Class Flow

poweryoga The noon Power Yoga class I teach is held in an on-site facility, the main control for the thermostat being managed by the building/property management -not the health club.  In summer the yoga studio area was broiling and I had to bring in fans – there seemed to be no A/C coming in.

Today, there was a very gusty breeze from the vents and it was freezing – so cold that even I did not break a sweat, and one of the thinner ladies in class threw a towel around her shoulders to stay warm. Even the Group Coordinator commented on how it seems as though during winter they turn the A/C on for some reason.

Class went well in spite of the cool environment and I felt well enough to go through some of the postures. Towards the end of class when I usually do a few stationary asanas I attempted to demonstrate Sirsasana (headstand) – I got as far as one leg up, the other parallel to the floor in what looked like an “L”, but I just don’t have the abdominal strength or dexterity.  The students were not keen on Headstand anyway.  So I showed them Urdhva Vrksasana (handstand) modified by making an “L” with feet pressing into the wall, and attempted showing them kicking up into Handstand with legs towards the wall, again my kick up fell short as I did not want to break a toe over kicking, and did not have the strengthen to actually use my muscles to glide up.  Again, students were unmoved to try the posture – one even said – “that twisting sitting one is a challenge enough to get my foot tucked behind me” – so we did Garudasana (twisted eagle), Natarajasana (lord dancer), & Vrksasana (tree pose) and called it a day.

Grow Your Tree (Pose)

  • Start by finding neutral. Come to standing and find your balance. For men big toes touching, for women feet fist distance apart is acceptable. Find a place where you are evenly weighted in your outside edges of your feet (big toe and little toe ball mount joints) and from the front inside and outside of the heel.  Imagine spreading the flesh of the foot.
  • Open the hip. Perform a hip opener by bring the knee up in front and slowly out to the side, then rest the foot on the ground.  This is a swing gate like motion to warm up the hip area and help you to realize your range of motion in the present moment.
  • Position your foot.  Now bend that same leg and guide the foot to the inner portion of your standing leg.  Be sure to keep the foot above the ankle joint and below the knee or above the knee completely. You can see several modifications on the photo above.  You do not want to put pressure on the joints. Hands at heart center in namaste mudra.
  • Work the pose. Concentrate on the energy in the standing leg, lengthening your spine, especially releasing the tailbone and creating space in your lower back. Breathe and fill the lungs and your body with energy. When you are done release and repeat.

Challenging Yourself

  • Time.Your first challenge is to build stamina in the pose.  Count your long smooth yogic breaths. See if you can hold 10 breaths, then 20, and so on.
  • Movement.Bring the hands to heart center and focus on the finger tips, slowly as you inhale raise the hands up and follow them with your gaze, lifting the chin. Hold several breathes and on exhale bring them back down.

This pose is great for the whole family it has many benefits including:

  • Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine
  • Stretches the groins and inner thighs, chest and shoulders
  • Improves balance and concentration
  • Helps alleviate sciatic syndrome