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Showing posts with label Summer Activities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Summer Activities. Show all posts

8 Reasons to take up Snorkeling

Ever wanted to get into snorkeling? Well here are 8 fun activities you can do while snorkeling - hopefully some of them will inspire you to get snorkeling lessons and try it out.

#1. You can swim with the fishes and see the world from their point of view.


#2. You can try spearfishing while snorkeling. For those of you who also like to know where their food comes from.


#3. Practice your underwater hand signals / Sign Language. The hand signals below are "I love you" in American Sign Language (ASL).


#4. Hang Out with Friends / Make New Friends



#5. Collect Sea Shells and Dead Starfish


#6. Play Underwater Tag, Hide-and-Go-Seek, Capture-the-Flag, Etc.

#7. Learn more about Exotic Sea Life In-Person



#8. Search for Shipwrecks, Plane Wrecks, Pearls, Etc.


BONUS - Pick up ocean trash while you are out there and help save animal lives. Don't leave any trash behind either.

8 Fun Cardio Exercises to do in July


July is basically the middle of Summer and it is a really good time of year to be doing cardio exercises outdoors. Some of these you can do any time of year, but why not July?!

Thus here are 8 Fun Cardio Exercises that are perfect for the month of July.

#1. Swimming

#2. Snorkeling

#3. Cycling or Mountain Biking

#4. Tennis

#5. Parkour / Freerunning

#6. Dancing

#7. Hiking in the Woods

#8. Canoeing / Kayaking

4 BONUS THINGS TO DO IN JULY

Frisbee Football

Jogging at the Beach

Beach Volleyball

Play Tag with Water Guns


Gone Hiking and Fishing - The Niagara Escarpment

From June 26th to 30th I will be away on vacation - hiking, fishing and camping - and will not be answering emails very quickly during that time period.

The location I will be hiking will be along the Niagara Escarpment of Ontario, which has many cliffs, rocky outcroppings, waterfalls and other sights. Below is a map showing waterfalls that dot the landscape along the Niagara Escarpment.


One of my personal favourites to visit is Hilton Falls near Milton, Ontario - not because it is the closest to Toronto, but because you can walk both on top of the falls and also behind the waterfalls. To get to Hilton Falls it is a roughly 20 minute hike through the woods from the parking lot.

Walking along the top of the waterfalls, close to the edge


At the base of the waterfalls


Behind the waterfalls


There are many places within a quick drive from Toronto where people can go to exercise, go hiking, cycling, swimming and many other activities.

Get out there and exercise!

10 Exercises to do with your Pets this Summer in Toronto

#1. Take your dog jogging!

#2. Take your dog to the beach - go swimming and play frisbee!

#3. Doggie Weightlifting - this is you lifting your dog up in an affectionate manner and rubbing their belly, then setting them back down, and repeat. You dog will think it is a game.

#4. Take your dog cycling in High Park.



#5. Join a Meetup Group for people who enjoy dog-related activities. Learn more by browsing the different meetup groups for Toronto dog owners.

#6. Competitive Dog Jogging. (Yes, that is a real thing.)

#7. Mountain Hiking with your Dog.

#8. Canoeing or Kayaking with your Dog. (Get your dog a special canine life jacket.)


#9. Dog and Owner Hurdles.



#10. Play a Classic Game of Fetch with your Dog. (Even more fun with water.)


BONUS

Dog Yoga in the Park


8 Activities to do at the Beach

#1. Frisbee!

#2. Build a sandcastle - if you are moving sand around, it still counts as exercise.

#3. Go snorkeling in the water!

#4. Try Rock Balancing. See my post "Sculpture as Exercise".

#5. Fly a Kite - admittedly this could burn very little calories, but if you run with the kite it burns a lot more.

#6. Go for a jog or run along the beach.

#7. Do yoga at the water's edge.

#8. And the classic, go swimming!

Bonus Activities!!!

Tug of War

Beach Volleyball

Skip Rope

Arm Wrestling

Play Tag with Water Guns


Archery on the Beach - this used to be a pretty popular activity in the 1950s - but now it is banned in some locations. eg. You cannot do that in Toronto, but there are other beaches within an hour drive of Toronto where you can do archery at. Check the local by-laws to be certain. You will need your own equipment and you will still need to establish some safety guidelines so you are not shooting near people (reckless endangerment = fine + possible jail time). Best way to do it is to pick a secluded beach which has almost no people there.

Rock Climbing, Waterfalls Exploring, Spelunking and More!

There are many great ways to exercise, but the following is several of my favourites. Some of these you can even do as family activities, but others are dangerous and children should not be doing them at all. Use your better judgment. Some of them are also very frugal and won't cost your wallet much.

#1. Rock Climbing

Now I don't mean going to a special "rock climbing gym". I have never done that, although I presume it is still fun to do that indoors with the safety of a harness and first aid kits nearby. You can still do that if you wish, but for myself I do Freehand Rock Climbing - no ropes, no safety harness, if I fall, I fall and hurt myself.

Rock Climbing Tips

Don't climb anything freehand unless you are absolutely confident you can climb it without falling.

Practice on trees. (Or in a rock climbing gym.)

Stick to small climbs first as you build up your strength and skill.

Always be certain of your footing or handholds before you go to the next foothold or handhold.

Remember to plan your route back down. Sometimes getting up is easier than climbing back down.

If you don't think you can do it, maybe it is time to crack out the harness and ropes. Safety first.

#2. Waterfalls Exploring

This is a bit like rock climbing, but the surfaces are going to be slippery. Often you need to climb over wet rocks that are slippery, but it is a lot of fun to work your way around and get behind a waterfalls - or even go swimming below it (warning - if there is signs that say "no swimming", that means this falls is powerful enough to have undertow that can drag you under and kill you. Only swim near the base of a waterfalls that is relatively weak).

The photo on the right is of Hogg's Falls in Ontario.

Waterfalls Exploring Tips

Wear super grippy boots that you don't mind getting wet.

Wear gloves, possibly even grippy fishing gloves.

Wear clothing you don't mind getting wet. Avoid white t-shirts unless you enjoy showing off.

Don't bother trying to climb the sides of the waterfalls. It is too slippery.

#3. Spelunking

Otherwise known as cave exploring or cave diving, spelunking is an amazing activity to get into if you love exploring geological formations, crevices and caverns.

Spelunking Tips

Good quality boots.

Gloves are handy too.

Flashlight or headlamp is very handy.

Try getting guided tours of caves (ones with stairs, safety bars, etc all in place) first so you know what to expect.

Take a spelunking safety course.

#4. Rocky Mountain Biking

Bouncing over rocks while cycling down a hill might not sound like your cup of tea, but to those who love it then it is certainly a possibility.

Start slow, stick to the easy cycling trails and work your way up. Also, buy a better bicycle that has higher quality shocks and sturdier tires. You don't want your equipment to fail if you go over a rock your bicycle simply could not handle.



#5. Natural Parkour / Freerunning

If you are familiar with parkour / freerunning, then you also know this activity normally occurs in an urban environment. But there is no reason why you could not do this in a more natural terrain - using rocks and trees as your obstacle course. All you are really doing is applying the same principles of parkour to a different landscape.



#6. Tree Climbing

And by this, I am referring to climbing trees using ropes, helmet and a harness. You could climb the bottom reaches of the tree freehand, but once you start to go high enough that you might run into a weak limb that could snap underfoot it is time to get the rope and harness out. The views from the top can be pretty spectacular.



#7. Underwater Spelunking

See #3 above, but add in scuba gear. You will need snorkeling lessons, scuba lessons, and eventually underwater spelunking lessons. This activity is both expensive and dangerous. Definitely not for children either.



#8. Extreme Rock Balancing

Normally rock balancing is an activity done by one person who just lifts up a rock and then balances another rock on top of it. Extreme Rock Balancing is done by a team of people using much larger rocks, ropes, chains, pulleys, ladders, the whole shebang.

You will need a group of friends (preferably friends who are also into rock balancing), and you will probably want one person to document the whole project using a video camera.

Muscles will only get you so far with this project. You will also need patience and perseverance. And friendships will be tried and tested if you get into an argument about how to best achieve the finished product.

You will also want your finished product to last. You won't want it falling down the first time a teenager comes along and gives it a push. Thus aim to your rocks large enough - and well balanced - so that it wouldn't fall down even during a small earthquake.

Some people might want to cheat and use a crane or tractor to move the rocks, but if men of old can build Stone Henge and the pyramids of Egypt, certainly a group of adults can balance some rocks without using machinery.

Unlike normal rock balancing you probably will not be balancing multiple rocks together. But one or two should be possible.

Best of all your end results will stay up for a long time and baffle future generations.



8 Fun Summer Activities

So... you are on vacation and looking for some fun right?

Here are 8 ideas for fun things to do this summer that will get you exercising!

#1. Snorkeling - Honestly, it is actually EASIER than regular swimming.



#2. Bicycling - Get that bicycle outside and explore the great outdoors / Toronto!



#3. Rock Climbing - Not as expensive as you might think, and very easy to get into if you have the Niagara Escarpment near you. Hear that Toronto? Get outside!



#4. Gardening - More fun if you love plants, less fun if you despise mosquitoes.



#5. Water Pistol Tag - Fun for you, fun for the kids, and fun for anyone who is overheating. (More fun if you can only shoot someone who did not shoot you. Same rules as "no touch backs" basically.)



#6. Archery Tag - Wait, what??? What is archery tag??? See below.



#7. Canoeing or Kayaking - Because canoe / kayak rentals really are not that expensive (there are multiple companies offering canoe rentals and it has driven the price down) and totally worth it.



#8. Make up your sport. eg. Bicycle Archery Tag or Canoe Archery Tag

Because new ways to have fun are just waiting to be invented.

Aha! Snorkeling archery!


Sculpture as Exercise

Rock Art made at Ashbridges Bay in Toronto
Want to learn a new exercise that employs both creativity and your muscles?

Try Rock Art / Rock Balancing.

I got introduced to rock balancing years ago (2011) and I have a few tips to pass on to would-be rock art sculptors.

#1. Learn to balance smaller rocks first.

#2. Wear gloves on your hands and steel toed boots on your feet. Protect yourself first because hurting your toes and fingers will REALLY HURT!

#3. When lifting larger rocks or even medium sized rocks, lift with your legs, not your back. If you have back problems you should probably be wearing a back brace.

#4. If you can barely lift a rock, you probably have no business trying to balance it. See Tip #1 over again.

#5. Try to find good quality rocks that balance easier. The best rocks have lots of crevices in them that allow you to balance them on a corner or bottom using 3 points (approximatly 120 degrees away from each other) so that rock won't roll in any direction.

#6. If it is windy outside don't bother. Any wind gusts of 30 kmph or more will knock your rocks over.

#7. When attempting to balance a larger rock get someone else to help you. Make sure they are following Tip #2 as well.

#8. Remember to hydrate. It gets hot outside in the sun! Best times of year to do rock balancing is May- April and September-October. June, July and August will be too hot and will wear you down physically faster so bring LOTS of drinking water with you.

#9. Bring snacks. All that exercise makes you hungry. Protein bars, sandwiches, chicken salads, anything nutritious.

#10. Have fun and bring a camera!

Rock Art Balancing, 2011

Top Five Holiday Workouts - Beating the Holiday Bulge

If you're planning your next holiday before you board the plane it's important to think about your health.

Losing your fitness and packing on flab instead of muscle whilst you're away is a curse many cardio kings often have to endure; however, that doesn't have to be the way.

Staying active during your time in the sun needn't take more than a few minutes a day and will help ensure your beach body doesn't turn into a beach ball body overnight.

Our Top Five Holiday Exercises

Let's face it, putting on some extra pounds is a necessary evil when you're on a break, but if you follow our top five holiday workouts then you can fend off the negative effects of excess without eating into your sunbathing session:

1. Drink at 30,000ft - Airplanes can wreak havoc on both your weight and your immune system, so it's important to counteract the impact of your flight as much as possible. According to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph you should drink one pint of water every hour to avoid dehydration.

Changes in atmospheric pressure mean an aircraft's cabin is extremely dry and when your body becomes dehydrated you leave yourself more exposed to infections.

2. Take a Dip - Virtually every holiday destination has a swimming pool or, better still, the sea in close proximity and you'd be a fool not to make use of it. Aside from being a way to cool off when the heat becomes too much, swimming is a fantastic cardiovascular workout. Aim to complete around 20 minutes of continuous swimming at a steady pace each day and you'll be able to enjoy that dessert or extra drink you've been craving.

3. Use Your Body - Your body is the most efficient and portable piece of exercise equipment you own and something you should make full use of when on holiday. On top of providing a great strength aid, body-weight exercises will help improve your cardiac performance.

The main areas you want to target when performing body-weight exercises on holiday are your major muscle groups. The larger the muscle, the harder your heart has to work which, in turn, means you need to spend less time training in order to maintain your current fitness level.

Our top tip for performing body-weight exercises would be to perform each exercise ten times for three sets and target the following movements: Squats, push-ups, triceps dips, planks, burpees and sit-ups.

4. Talk a Walk - Current fitness wisdom states that regular runs on the beach can cause undue stress on the ankle and knee joints; however, that doesn't mean you shouldn't utilize this resource. A brisk walk along the beach each day (aim for around 20 minutes) will elevate your heart rate just enough to maintain your cardiovascular health without putting too much stress on your joints.

5. Stretch it Out - If you don't want to feel like you need a gastric band when you return from your summer holiday then consider packing a set exercise bands. These elastic strips will take up very little space in your luggage and are perfect for replicating a number of weighted exercises. Our advice is to use a band for the following exercises: shoulder presses, upright rows, press-ups, bicep curls, single leg lunges and squats.

Each exercise should utilize the band's elasticity which means you'll need to either attach it to the bottom of a door or stand on the band. After anchoring one end of the band you should perform each exercise as you would if you were holding a light weight and perform 8 reps for 2-3 sets.

BONUS -  Take Some Sporting Equipment with You - If you have a favourite sport, why not take some of your equipment with you and practice your chosen sport while on vacation? It doesn't matter whether it is tennis, golf, archery, etc - if you have the extra luggage space and have the option to bring it you could potentially bring anything that is small enough to count as luggage. A bicycle might not be so good however, but look into renting a bicycle when you get there.

8 Fun Ways to Exercise this Summer in Toronto

Looking for fun ways to exercise this summer? With the whole family?

#1. Go swimming at Canada's Wonderland!

Just north of Toronto is a great place to go swimming. Skip the rides, the games, etc. Just go for the SPLASH WORKS. Take the family with you!

The Splash Works does include rides and other fun things to do, but you will also get a good deal of swimming done while you are having fun. My favourite is White Water Bay, Canada's largest wave pool.



#2. Take up archery and visit the Toronto Archery Range!

The Toronto Archery Range is free to use, but you will need your own equipment.

Go buy 2 or 3 wooden longbows (don't buy the crummy fibreglass bows or cheap Canadian Tire bows). Just get some light poundage wooden longbows that are good for children / youths, 10 to 12 arrows, armguards, fingergloves, etc. If longbows are not your thing recurves are slightly more expensive, but are great for beginners. Expect to spend about $300 to $400.

However once you have the equipment, you can go do archery every weekend (or even on weekdays) until it starts getting too cold in November. Then just store your equipment for the Winter and resume in April. (Or sign up for indoor archery lessons for the Winter.)

I do not recommend compound bows (compound bows have pulleys on the top and bottom of the limbs) for children or beginners.


#3. Toronto Beaches and Public Pools!

Toronto has many great beaches and public pools you can use. Some of them do require a fee to use, but browse the list on toronto.ca to find one which is close to you.

#4. Toronto Rivers - Swimming and Canoeing!

If the beach or local swimming pool is too crowded, don't forget Toronto has many rivers you can also swim in. Just be careful to pay attention to which ones allow swimming and which do not.

Also Toronto rivers are a great place to go canoeing - and there are companies out there who rent canoes by the hour if you want to try it out.

Or go purchase your own kayak or canoe.


#5. Cycling and Off Road Cycling!

Toronto has many great off road trails designed specifically for cyclists (and people who like hiking). To get the most out of them you will need a mountain bike or hybrid mountain bike. Then just go and explore Toronto's Don Valley, High Park, and many of the bicycle trails around the city.

#6. Windsurfing!

Windsurfing is not for everyone, but it is certainly fun to do. If you haven't tried it and always wanted to try, now is your chance.



#7. Yoga in the Park!

For those of you who love yoga, there are numerous groups out there that practice weekly or bi-weekly yoga events in public locations. They're free and anyone can join.


#8. Local Non-Professional Sports Teams and Clubs!

Toronto has many local sports organizations that are always looking for new members. eg. The Toronto Archery Club, The Toronto Soccer Meetup, Toronto Tennis League, Co-ed Ultimate Frisbee, Ashbridges Beach Volleyball, GTA Golf Meetup, Toronto Touch Rugby, Toronto Baseball Meetup, or even the more generic "Toronto Sports Group".

Extreme Heat effects your Workout and Diet

When it gets super hot and humid in Toronto you're going to be sweaty, cranky and tired. So how do you beat the heat and still manage to eat properly and get a good workout?

Today we are going to do some ol' fashioned myth busting when it comes to exercise and eating healthy in the heat. And give you some healthy tips along the way!

#1. Is it really hot enough to fry an egg? No, not really. And seriously, would you even want to eat the egg? Stick to frying your eggs in a pan instead.

#2. Does the heat actually make you more tired? Yes. Heat is very draining on your body and it uses a lot of your active energy just to try and cool your body down. Which means if you have air conditioning you will be able to sleep better at night.

It isn't just the heat however - it is also the humidity. Which means a dehumidifier in your bedroom can also help you to sleep better. And better sleep = more energy the next day and less likely to binge on sugary foods to boost your energy levels.

#3. If you feel so tired that you are nauseous and dizzy (or suffering memory problems) you may have heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and you should get to some place cool immediately and drink some cool water. When in doubt call 911.

#4. However, heat exhaustion doesn't mean you should jump in a cold shower or a pool. The shock could knock you unconscious. Your goal should be to SLOOOOOOWLY lower your body temperature back to normal. So a dip in a cool pool - not a cold one - will help. A cool / luke warm shower is also good. Drinking lots of water (not too much all at once) will also help. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, they will just dehydrate you further.

#5. Avoid very large meals on a hot day. Binging on food will just make you more tired. Your body is already working hard to maintain your body temperature, so digesting a big meal will just put more stress on it. Aim for smaller, lighter meals - and eat snacks in-between meals.

#6. When running / jogging don't drink ice cold water. Instead drink cool water that is only moderately cold. The reason is because your body has to expend energy to warm that water up. The lost energy then makes you feel more tired than you would normally be. By drinking only moderately cool water you don't feel the energy drain as much but are still getting the cooling effect. Some marathon runners prefer to drink water which is luke warm / room temperature that way they are minimizing their energy drain as much as possible and only want the water for hydration, not for cooling them down.

#7. The more fit you are the less effect the heat will have on your body, this is true - but that doesn't make you immune to heat exhaustion, dehydration or heat stroke. If you start to notice symptoms of any of these three seek shade, a cool place and water.

#8. A handy trick is to exercise AFTER the sun goes down. You can download a smartphone app that will tell you when sunrise and sunset is in your area or check it online. (I personally use one which tells me sunrise, sunset, a detailed hourly weather forecast and the weather forecast for the coming week.)

#9. If doing any kind of weight training outside on a hot day it is best to have a partner if possible. Long list of variety of safety reasons. And the list grows longer if you are older and / or unfit. Exercise caution.

#10. Sweating a lot doesn't burn more calories. It just means your body is overheating and trying to cool down. If you feel too hot you won't be able to exercise as hard. You can exercise much harder in cooler conditions because your body doesn't have to expend so much water, sodium and energy trying to cool you down.

#11. Sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade help. Why? Because in addition to the water they also replenish sodium and calories. Gives you more energy, and the sodium means you can sweat more - which in turn cools you down physically - which in turn allows you to exercise harder because you don't feel as hot.

#12. If you're tempted for a beer on a patio, try to stick to just one beer. None is better, but if you fall to temptation try to limit yourself to one and then have a glass of water with it. Same goes with coffee and other caffeine drinks. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrates you because you end up using more water from your body just trying to flush the toxins from your system. (Which is why you will feel the need to urinate later after drinking alcohol or caffeine.) Exercising immediately after having alcohol is not recommended, but if you do try to rehydrate yourself by drinking a fair amount of water before, during and after the exercise.

#13. Your body adapts over time to hot weather. It is why we get sunburns on our arms for example and later our arms become more resistant to sunburns. It is in our genetics that we adapt to summer by getting sunburns a couple times and by the time we have a good tan going we don't burn as easily - but you can still get a painful sunburn if you aren't careful! So use sunscreen, wear a hat and avoid long exposure to the sun.

#14. Your blood vessels and sweat levels also adjust to the weather. You will start craving more salty foods and this is normal - the sodium in the salt replenishes your ability to sweat and keep yourself cool.

#15. A health tip for women and men. Antiperspirants contain aluminum in the form of toxic chemicals like aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly - a chemical proven to cause lymph node and breast cancer in both women and men. If you are going to use an antiperspirant try not to use so much - or switch to deodorant instead.

Women who wear antiperspirant regularly have significantly higher chances of developing lymph node and breast cancer. In contrast most men use deodorant instead, which doesn't prevent sweating and instead just masks the smell - and thus men have significantly lower chances of lymph node and breast cancer because they aren't using antiperspirants as much as women do. This doesn't mean men cannot get cancer in those body parts, it just means that most men don't use antiperspirant and thus have lower chances. A man who does use antiperspirant regularly will have the same chance of developing lymph node and breast cancer as a woman who uses antiperspirant regularly.

Also your body is going to sweat anyway. Swiping some toxic chemicals on your armpits isn't going to stop you from sweating from head, neck, chest, arms, belly, back, legs and so forth. In its efforts to cool your body down your body will simply sweat from all available pores anyway.
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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