Never Give Up Fitness

Personal Training & Fitness Programs

2 Ways to Recycle Your Running Shoes

By Jacquie Cattanach • For Active.com

Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program

Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program takes old running shoes and breaks them down into their component parts to be recycled into new applications. These components are combined with what’s known as pre-consumer material, that is, factory defects that are normally discarded as waste. The Reuse-A-Shoe program has collected over 25 million shoes since 1990 and re-used them for worthwhile sporting applications.

The rubber from the soles of the shoes gets melted down for use in rubberized surfaces for running tracks, footpaths and playgrounds. The foam of the midsole is turned into underlay material for basketball courts and other surfaces while the fabric from the shoe’s upper is recycled into padding for facilities such as basketball courts or football goal posts.

To donate your old shoes to the Reuse-A-Shoe program, simply drop your shoes off at any Nike or Converse store in the United States, or participating Nike stores around the world.

One World Running

On the other hand, if your shoes are still in relatively good shape—perhaps the size wasn’t quite right or they didn’t feel quite comfortable after a few runs—you might prefer to donate them to One World Running.

One World Running is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, that was founded in 1986 by runner and author Michael Sandrock. The original name for the organization was Shoes for Africa, but the distribution has since expanded to other areas of the globe, particularly Central America (there’s also another nonprofit named Shoe for Africa that accepts and distributes shoes to runners in Africa), and even some of the poorest areas of the United States as well.

Sandrock, a sub-2:30 marathoner, was taken aback by the need for shoes and other basic clothing items for athletes and the general population while on a trip to Africa, and decided to do something about it. In addition to accepting donations of shoes, T-shirts, shorts and other clothing, One World Running also sponsor fun runs to promote fitness across the globe.

The organization also raises cash to send shoes to underprivileged areas of the world. One World Running accepts donations at many local running stores. Any shoes you wish to donate should be washed and air-dried, since the heat from a standard clothes dryer can melt the glue that holds shoes together. Any shoes that are deemed too old or worn are donated to Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program.

It can be hard for many runners to give up their old shoes, but donating them to One World Running or the Reuse-A-Shoe program is one way to be socially and environmentally responsible while supporting runners all over the globe. When it comes to reducing our environmental impact, every lit bit helps. 

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5 Secrets Of Running Speed

Intervals and tempo miles matter. But they’re not the only tools a runner can use to get quicker. Heed the advice below and watch your PR get a little lower.

By Michelle Hamilton, From the August 2009 issue of Runner’s World

Lose Weight
A five-pound weight loss can take more than two minutes off your half-marathon time. Plus, weight loss can reduce your injury risk and improve your biomechanics.

Wear Less
Don’t wear things that will slow you down. That means no fuel belt, no headphones, no iPhone, no long-sleeve shirt around your waist, and no heavy shoes.

Sleep More
Research from Stanford University indicates that athletes who get more sleep during training have better reaction time and speed. Even if you can’t get 10 hours of sleep like the study subjects, the researchers say that just a 20-minute nap can help performance.

Drink Caffeine
Not only is caffeine credited with improved alertness and increased focus, newer research suggests it can improve pain tolerance and help you fatigue less quickly. To get the most out of caffeine, down a cup of plain tea or coffee (not a mocha frappuccino) 30 to 60 minutes before a race or hard workout.

Limit the Junk Food
Sugar can actually trigger hunger, which can lead to weight gain. Plus, you’ll get more out of your mileage with long-lasting staples like whole-grain rice and pasta than with sugary foods that can cause sluggishness—not what you want if you’re pushing for speed.

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Run Woodstock Training Run – 7/5/12

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8 Health Benefits of Pets

Adapted from: K. Aleisha Fetters, Livestrong.com

Mood Boosters

Like any enjoyable activity, playing with a pet can elevate mood-boosting levels of serotonin and dopamine, Beck says. What’s more, contact with animals can immediately increase levels of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that lights up the brain’s pleasure centers—and is famous for its release during orgasm. When performing a stressful task, people suffer less stress when their pets are with them than when a spouse, family member, or close friend is, according to a 2002 study at State University of New York at Buffalo. (3) A pet’s calming influence even works better at controlling high blood pressure than the most frequently used prescription drugs.

Personal Trainers
Who’s walking whom? Studies suggest the human benefits of regular potty-break walks rival those of Fido’s filled-up bladder. Dog owners who regularly walk their dogs are more active and less likely to be overweight than those who don’t own or walk a dog, according to one study of more than 2,000 adults. Don’t exactly walk your cat, hamster, or iguana? You probably still get more exercise than non-pet owners, according to Beck. All pet owners have to exert some physical activity to care for animals, and are often up and active to be near, play, and cuddle with them.

Social Butterflies

Your animal friends can help you make human friends. Multiple studies have shown that walking with a dog in public leads to more conversations. Why? People assume that pet-owners are kind and approachable, Beck says. But animals’ social skills include more than easing introductions. “Some of the social support we get from humans we get from animals, too,” says Beck, who notes than dog and cat ownership is much more common in married couples and families with children than in single-person homes. Animals are an extension of our natural social support system, not a replacement for it, he says.

Pain Killers

Animal-assisted therapy (a.k.a. animal visits) is quickly becoming an accepted means of pain management in hospitals. People who use pet therapy while recovering from surgery need less than half of the pain medication than those who do not use it, according to a study from Loyola University. Meanwhile, patients—and even their vital signs—report significant improvements in pain, mood, and other distress measures after a therapy animal visit.

Heart Healers

Pets are more than heartwarming. They also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack by lowering systolic blood pressure, plasma cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. And those pet owners who do suffer from heart attacks have higher rates of survival than non-pet owners. A year after suffering a heart attack, regardless of its severity, dog owners are significantly more likely to still be alive than those who do not own dogs. While many of the cardiovascular benefits can be attributed to the mere presence of an animal, the increase in physical activity among pet owners is also linked to improved heart function.

Health Monitors

“Smelling chemical changes in the body is really no different than sniffing out drugs or bombs,” Beck says. “Animals can sense changes we can’t even sense in ourselves.” That’s why more and more animals are being trained to monitor their owners’ health through programs like Dogs4Diabetics. One-third of pets living with people with diabetes—including dogs, cats, rabbits, and even birds—exhibit dramatic behavioral changes when their owners’ blood glucose levels drop. And after just three weeks of training, dogs can detect breast and lung cancer up to 97% of the time, according to a study published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies. Animals can also sense the oncoming of epileptic seizures, and service animals are able to warn their owners to sit or lie down before the onset of the seizure.

Immune Strengtheners

Pet ownership is nature’s immunotherapy. Children from households with pets attend school three weeks more per year than those who don’t have pets. And the more pets children have, the fewer allergies they develop in adulthood. They are also less likely to have eczema, and have higher levels of some immune system chemicals, pointing to a stronger overall immune system. By curbing stress—and reducing the levels of harmful chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine—pets further strengthen immunity throughout life.

Child Therapists

Animal interactions are hugely beneficial to the development of children—especially those with developmental challenges, Beck says. Children with autism are often able to comfortable interact with pets, which can in turn help their interactions with other children, while the sensory experience of petting an animal can be soothing for children, according to the National Institutes of Health. Taking care of a pet can encourage children—especially those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder—to focus their attention, and teach children than caring is not just “mommy’s job,” Beck says. Furthermore, Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association’s official manual of mental disorder classifications, notes that stuttering is often absent when children talk to pets.

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3 Triathlon Race-Day Tips From an Olympic Triathlete

By Michael Clarke • Active.com

For any athlete, the day of competition can be unnerving. But for triathletes, race day can present a unique set of challenges because competitors must be mindful of several important factors that can affect their performance.

Three important race-day issues include: pre-race nutrition, race-day anxiety, and performance goals and expectations. In a recent interview, Sarah Haskins, an Olympian triathlete offered advice on tackling each of these factors.

Tip No.1: Concentrate on Your Pre-Race Breakfast

Most of the races Haskins participates in are early in the day. So pre-race nutrition, and specifically breakfast, is vitally important to getting a good start to her race. “I’ve learned the hard way how important breakfast is.”

On the day of a race, Haskins chooses to fuel up with a balance of fat, and both complex and simple carbohydrates. “My race-day breakfast typically includes toast with peanut butter, honey, and banana. If I’m racing later in the day I’ll keep my meals light.”

That’s right. Meals. She usually has two small breakfasts and omits any hard-to-digest foods, such as vegetables. This helps her avoid any digestive issues during the race.

Tip No.2: Use Rituals to Calm Jitters

Pre-race anxiety is inevitable for most athletes. Haskins combats it by sticking to structured pre-race rituals. “I do like routine and I try to follow similar warm-up plans the day before the race. “

These routines include walking through all the transition areas of the race.

“I always make sure that I know where the swim exit is, the run exit, and the bike exit, because that can be confusing on race morning.

“I always feel calmer if I know where I’m going.”

But Haskins is quick to point out that anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. She explains: “It’s okay to be nervous; it’s adrenaline going through your body, and that’s actually going to help you on race day.”

To keep the jitters in check, Haskins recommends “finding a warm-up routine that you like to do; you’ll naturally start to calm down.”

And this warm-up routine also includes deep breathing before the race.

“Just take a few moments to do some breathing and that can slow your heart rate down and that extra oxygen in your body can help calm you.”

Tip No.3: Process Over Performance

Finally, to maximize your performance potential, it’s important to have feasible goals. According to Haskins, “A lot of people have performance goals and process goals. When I go to a race, my goal ultimately may be to win but I don’t think: ‘Okay, I gotta win.’

“Instead, I think when I go to the race: ‘What do I need to do to get there?’”

She contends that a good race mindset is one where athletes focus on the process goals leading into a race “versus solely thinking about the performance goal.”

With a little preparation, athletes can prepare to avoid the common pitfalls of poor nutrition, anxiety, and performance. (And hopefully that translates to a faster race time.)

 

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