Tag Archives: hiking

6 Tips for Tracking Your Fitness

You have decided to bring the body into shape and regular workouts have become your usual routine. Still, after one or two weeks of such physical activity, you don’t see wishful results in the mirror and stepping on the scale just confirms it. For that reason, you give up, abandon set goals and return to a sports lifestyle only when a certain time passes. It is high time to break this vicious circle!

The most crucial thing here is to understand that changes are not a matter of one week. It takes time to achieve progress, so you should gain patience and keep motivated along the way. The best solution for following fitness goals is results-tracking.

Body alterations and how you feel constantly performing physical activities are the greatest motivators for moving ahead. By tracking your fitness, the possibility of reaching goals significantly rises and promotes you working and spending your time yet more efficiently. That way, our key task is to identify what ways of fitness progress measuring are the most fruitful and worth incorporating into the sports agenda. Let’s figure it out.

1. Keeping a Workout Journal 

Tracking your fitness results may be easy as a pie with steady journal keeping. Noting your exercising and meals is not time-consuming, but it will certainly give a clear vision of the advance. Do it the most convenient for you. It can be a usual notebook, notes on your device, or even Excel spreadsheets – it is up to you.

The essential is to be precise with writing down workouts. Try to include what exercises you did with the sets and reps number. If your workouts were of strength type, fix the used weight. In case you did running, record miles and performance time. No less important is the well-being after physical activity. So, point out how you feel after the workout: exhausted or energized, whether it was harsh or easy.

The journal is also perfect for diet tracking. Exercising is requisite, but it loses its sense without proper nutrition. Thus, you will succeed only by blending these two components. Still, you have to be careful since tracking your daily ratio may turn into obsessive calorie counting. To avoid this, we recommend just analyzing your eating habits and based on them, excluding or including specific products in your meals.

2. Fitness Trackers or Apps Appliance

Living in the modern world, we may benefit from various tech novelties, and it also relates to the fitness area. Track your results just in a few moments with smart fitness trackers or apps on your phone. There is a variety to choose from, and X-wrist is the name of one the leading. 

If you still count your steps and manually monitor your heart rate – stop doing this. Currently, such measurements are effortless with the fitness tracker. Select your best fitting application and your workout progress control will become a sheer pleasure. X-wrist is the app empowering you to make healthy choices. Its AI-based building system will allow you to log your meals, set diet goals and plan further nutrition. What’s more, this tracker may monitor your sports activity both at home and in the gym. You can also record workouts and create upcoming exercises routine here. 

So, fitness tracker usage is vital as besides providing info about physical achievements, it helps take care of your health and become the best version of yourself. 

3. Clothes Fitting

As practice shows, an appealing mirror look can be the highest motivation. The best way to get a dose of inspiration is by trying clothes on. For example, find a pair of jeans you have strived for so long to fit into and dress them. Wearing jeans will give an insight into how successful are your sports accomplishments and how far you are from your goals. 

Pay attention to your feelings: whether clothing sits looser or tighter. To attain the most accurate outcome, we offer to pick one specific piece of clothing and measure your progress in keeping with it monthly.

4. Taking Measurements 

Sometimes scale figures may be deceiving, so you should keep in mind that muscles weigh more fat. So it is significant not to limit scaling but to do the measuring to explore gradual changes.

It is worth steering clear of daily measurements. Record your neck, shoulders, waist, biceps, chest, thighs and hips sizes with a tape measure weekly, no sooner. Moreover, the time and conditions of measurements play an extremely important role, so be sure they are the same every time.

5. Blood Pressure Check

Fitness progress means more than an attractive body shape. No matter what goals you pursue: losing weight or gaining muscles, your blood pressure can present you with the overall picture of your health condition. Heart health directly depends on blood pressure that is consequently influenced by physical activity, nutrition and stress levels. 

With regular workouts, both your body and cardiovascular system stand stronger. That way, the blood pressure can be a pointer for diminishing heart and chronic disease risks. A blood pressure watch is the best decision for keeping abreast of your blood pressure indexes.

6. Progression Photos

Some may consider post-workout photos a waste of time. However, it is doubtless a valuable experience. Every day mirror-looking may totally change our body perception. Still, it can be challenging to trace the ultimate progress throughout the path, so pictures will come in handy here. Taking photos weekly will show you incredible differences already in half a year.

All you need to enjoy such contrast over time is to picture within the same conditions, light and angles. Remember that daily weight is floating and the photo taken in the morning will differ from one after the meal. Lighting is also the key point. Poor light can generate shadows and emphasize your drawbacks, hiding the apparent results. In addition, dressing in similar outfits in each month’s photos may confuse and prevent you from noticing differences.

After taking pictures, don’t compare them to two days ago. It makes no sense. The most appropriate checking frames are from four to six weeks.

Final Words

Being fit is not always a synonym for muscular body shape. It is about health, well-being and fulfillment. Regular exercising and proper nutrition will gift you the body of your dream, together with decreasing health hazards and improving mental health. You can’t do without tracking your fitness progress to get this with flying colors. So stick to our tips and the first considerable results won’t be long in coming.

Duck, Duck, Goose! Restored Wetlands Thriving

(NewsUSA) – As the sun rises in middle America, nature comes to life. Ducks, geese and other birds emerge from a marsh, taking flight into a golden sky, while prairie grasses whisper in the morning breeze and insects begin to hum.     

The growing cacophony of honks, quacks, chirps and splashes is music to Jason Black’s ears. As public land manager of the McPherson Valley Wetlands in central Kansas, they are proof that this habitat is thriving.     

“This is a special place,” says Black. “I get to watch it grow through the seasons, watch the birds come and go. Everything from our state bird, the meadowlark, to whooping cranes to a number of species of ducks and geese and shorebirds when water conditions and migration are lined up just right.”     

These public wetlands were recently improved through a public-private partnership thanks in big part to one of the nation’s largest clean energy infrastructure companies, Williams. The company’s generous contribution allowed Ducks Unlimited to seek matching funds to restore several areas that are critical to waterfowl during spring and fall migrations.     

The wetlands project included restoration of approximately 160 acres of previously drained and cropped agricultural fields. New water-control infrastructure was installed and prairie seeds planted to improve wildlife habitat for quail, pheasants and other grassland birds, along with pollinators.     

The marsh is the first of a series of connected wetlands in the complex and will help improve water downstream. The wetlands in the area provide critical resources for migrating waterfowl and other birds along the Central Flyway, along with outdoor recreation for residents and visitors.     

“We take great pride in being responsible environmental stewards and are honored to support Ducks Unlimited,” says Matthew Baker, manager of engineering at Williams. “Doing what is right for our local communities is part of who we are at Williams, and this collaboration is one of the many ways we aim to preserve resources for future generations while making a positive impact today.”     

The wetland restoration is one of many environmental stewardship and sustainability projects that Williams is supporting along its nationwide footprint. Others include planting seedlings, building hiking trails, developing wildlife crossings and funding intercity marine education programs.     

For more information, visit www.williams.com/sustainability.

Fort Tejon: Get Some Exercise Before Your Final Destination

California has always had a history of looking after their own. This includes in 1854 when Fort Tejon was established to protect its residents from people looking to do them harm and to crack down on cattle raiding. In 2022, the fort still provides refuge for overheated cars, respite for tired travelers, and tons of cool things to explore.

When driving through the infamous Grapevine on I-5 in southern California, one doesn’t necessarily think to themselves, “Hmm, this seems like a good place to stop.” Nor should they unless they are planning on making a quick stop at Fort Tejon State Historic Park. This hidden gem is located right off the highway and has been a cooling down spot for autos and their radiators struggling to make it through the vine for years. But just behind the wall of trees that line the parking lot lie the remains of a powerful little fort – and a great spot for EXERCISE!

View of Fort Tejon State Park

The beauty of Fort Tejon hits you once you walk past that wall of trees and take a quick turn through a small wooden gate. Multiple structures in various stages of preservation make up the perimeter of Fort Tejon, giving it a weird Melrose Place (the TV show) feel with an open field and a handful of picnic tables acting as the pool/courtyard.

Preserved buildings at Fort Tejon State Historic Park

In addition to taking in some great California history, stopping at Fort Tejon State Park can be good for your health! If you’ve been sitting or driving for a long time, the fields and open areas are a great place to move around to get the blood flowing. Remember that sitting down for too long can be dangerous in certain situations. Road trip veterans may know this but that doesn’t mean rookie mistakes don’t happen once and a while. The Fort offers a safe space for some quick activity and never gets too busy.

Chicken Coop at Fort Tejon

So, when traveling this path, consider visiting Fort Tejon State Historic Park before you reach your next destination for any of the following heart healthy activities:

Individualized Stretch Routine

10 Minute Yoga

Meditation

Easy Hiking / Exploring

Brisk Walking

Running

Sprints

For more info about Fort Tejon State Historic Park, click here.

Get Outside and Celebrate National Trails Day

Photo credit: Verónica Miranda

(NewsUSA) – This year, on June 4, millions of people across the United States will hit the trail, any trail, to celebrate the 30th annual American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day.® This year’s celebration focuses on encouraging novice and veteran trail lovers to come together to leave trails and the outdoor community better than they found them. Hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, paddlers, trail clubs, federal and local agencies, land trusts and businesses will partner at events across the country to forge a more inclusive trail community and advocate for, maintain and clean up trails and public lands.

American Hiking Society and the nationwide trails community invite people of all ages and abilities to connect with their friends and neighbors around the joy of being outside. Anyone can join the national movement by giving back to the trails to help ensure that everyone can enjoy the outdoors.

“There’s something magical about being outdoors,” says Kate Van Waes, Executive Director of American Hiking Society.

“Fresh air, birds singing, moving along a trail, or even just around the block; there’s nothing quite like it,” she emphasizes. “But today, those trails and green spaces are in dire need of help, and not everyone has access to or feels welcome in these places that can calm and inspire,” Dr. Van Waes explains.

“National Trails Day is the perfect opportunity to get out there with the people you love, give back to the trails that bring us together and make sure no one is left out.”

Not just on National Trails Day, but any day is a great time to commit to keeping the outdoors accessible and restorative for all.

Some ways you can make a difference include:

– Join a local trail event, or start your own. Search the American Hiking Society website for events in your area.

– Take the National Trails Day Pledge, and commit to leaving the trail and the outdoor community better than you find them. For example, take a trash bag with you on a walk or hike. Or speak up and tell your Members of Congress to support the Transit to Trails Act. You’ll be entered to win prizes from National Trails Day sponsors AKHG by Duluth Trading Co., Athletic Brewing Co., REI Co-op, Osprey Packs, and more.

– Share how you’ll leave the trail and the outdoor community better than you found them, and tag #NationalTrailsDay and @AmericanHiking on social media. Photos and videos tagged on Instagram will be entered into the National Trails Day® photo contest for a chance to win premium gear prize packages.

Visit americanhiking.org for more information and to find events near you.

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® is made possible by the generous support of corporate sponsors — AKGH by Duluth Trading Co., Athletic Brewing Co., REI Co-Op, and Osprey Packs. federal partners include the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Federal Highway Administration, and U.S. Forest Service.

Rail-Trails Are Hidden Gems, And Good for You Too!

Explore Your Local Trails, Enjoy Long-Term Health Benefits

(NewsUSA) – Stress — it’s everywhere. But there is an easy form of stress reduction that is as simple as opening your front door.

Spending time outside can help improve your physical and mental health, and you don’t have to be an extreme athlete to reap the benefits.

Studies show that simply going out for a walk in nature can help build strength and endurance, and contribute to feelings of relaxation and resilience. Being active outside has proven benefits for people’s minds and bodies.

Rail-trails in particular are ideal for individuals of all abilities and fitness levels to safely enjoy the outdoors. Rail-trails are multipurpose public paths created from former railroad corridor. That means they are flat or gently sloping, have a hard surface that makes them accessible to all types of activities and are available in rural and urban areas.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting communities across America with trails. One way they do this is through promoting the value of time spent outside — by encouraging people to make “trail moments” a regular part of their lives and sharing these experiences to inspire others to discover the convenience and joy of being active outside on trails.

“I feel really lucky to have grown up in Virginia, and now I live in Washington state, with lots of access to these trails, but there are literally thousands of miles of rail-trails all over the country,” says Miranda Webster, (@mirandagoesoutside) a longtime outdoor-enthusiast.

“So, whether you are mountain biking, hiking, walking your dog, or riding your bike, I hope that you’re able to find a trail near you where you can enjoy it as much as I have through my entire life,” she says.

Travel blogger Jeff Jenkins (@chubbydiaries_), based in Texas, has taken his wanderlust to local trails in a series of blogs and videos for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

“Now, I’m showing people how to discover their own backyards, from their local cities to national parks, trails and the great outdoors,” says Mr. Jenkins, who has also created an online community for plus-sized travelers at chubbydiaries.com.

“So often people see trails as a way to get a little outdoor recreation, and yes, that’s true,” says Ian Mackay (@ians_ride), who regularly enjoys the trails in rural Washington state from his power wheelchair. “But it is so much more for me… having a safe trail space where I can go explore my own interests, interact with the community, and run my own errands is monumental to my happiness,” adds Mr. Mackay, who is also the founder of Ian’s Ride, a nonprofit organization.

This fall, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is taking inspiration from the thousands of stories that people have shared about the personal impact of time spent outside on trails and encouraging people of all ages and abilities to make a habit of it. Their #TrailMoments 21-Day Challenge offers fun activities to encourage people to get out on the trail every day.

Visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website for more information and tips on making outdoor time part of your daily routine. www.railstotrails.org/trailmoments and @railstotrails #TrailMoments on social media.

Pop-Culture Spotlight: Galleta Meadows

Desert Art, or “Sky Art” as it’s commonly referred to these days, has been gaining popularity in the age of the iPhone. People in the United States (California in particular) have been flocking to remote areas to get some pretty cool pictures of random, rusted metal sculptures.

Some say the crown jewel of Sky Art is found in a hidden spot called Galleta Meadows. The Sky Art here is spread out over 1500 acres of desert. All Sky Art is accessible by vehicle but parking and walking around for a few miles would make the experience more enjoyable. It would definitely make for some flat, easy hiking.

So where is this hidden gem of desert art? Where can you find these large metal sculptures for purposes of some really cool selfies? Let’s just say it’s down south near San Diego, California. If you hit Mexico, you’ve gone too far (but not by much).

Free Sports Magazine recently took a trip to this remote location. While we’re no experts in Sky Art, it was among the best we’ve ever seen. Enjoy the exclusive photos and read more about Galleta Meadows below.

The following info comes directly from the Keeper of the Meadows:

The Under the Sun Foundation is inspired by the work of Dennis Avery, the late landowner of Galleta Meadows in Borrego Springs, and his passion for bringing art to the local community and its visitors. Mr. Avery had 130 large scale, free-standing, metal sculptures produced by artist Ricardo Breceda, and referred to them as Sky Art. Spread over 1500+ acres of undeveloped desert land, these larger than life creations welcome the public to discover and enjoy art outdoors, surrounded by the rich and diverse desert environs of Borrego Springs.

The Under the Sun Foundation seeks to breathe new life and meaning into the existing sculptures…We at the Under the Sun Foundation are excited to see where our evolution might take us. We use Dennis Avery’s work and Borrego Springs as a point of inspiration, and expect to add new geographies, artistic endeavors, and ways to engage with our environment and one another over the coming years.

We invite you to take part in the journey!

FSM Editorial: COVID & Angels

With COVID-19 forcing people to social distance, our country’s beloved national parks have received a much-needed boost in foot traffic. One of these parks offers a healthy dose of danger and excitement and is more accessible than you might think…

Angels Landing located at Zion National Park in Utah is perhaps the most semi-famous hike in the United States. Many hikers I’ve encountered during my travels have “kind of” heard of it. Common responses are, “That’s the one with the big walls right?” or “The one where people always fall off and die?” My answer to these and similar questions is usually, “Well…kinda.”

Anyone in half decent shape shouldn’t have trouble completing this hike. There is nothing overly strenuous about this trail. The switchbacks leading up to the final leg of the trail are steep but they are also paved which is extremely helpful (not to mention a rarity on this kind of trek).  This section is affectionately known as Walton’s Wiggles. As you hike up the wiggles, you will have solid canyon wall to your left.  To your right, you will have a sliver of a view of the bigger canyon you find yourself in. Depending on the time of day, you will see a different mix of orange, red, and maroon in the rocks with random greenery sprinkled throughout. An avid hiker would probably spend no more than 60 minutes completing this trail through the end of Walton’s Wiggles.

The WW switchbacks lead to a narrow trail that eventually ascends like a staircase to the point of the trail known as Scout’s Lookout. This is where first timers will have an initial glimpse of the behemoth they are about to take on. This is also where people usually start thinking about turning back. I mentioned earlier that this hike is not strenuous which is true. The emotional component to completing this hike cannot be understated however. When you are standing on Scout’s Lookout, gazing at the thin strip of trail that leads up to Angel’s Landing, looking at the thousands of feet of drop-off on each side, there is a good chance your nerves will make the decision of quitting or going on for you. Don’t make a hasty decision though. Use the random outhouse at the lookout if you need a second to compose yourself. Take reassurance knowing that the number of people who have died trying to reach the top is not even in double digits. My point is that’s an extremely low number.

Admittedly, there are a few spots on the way to the top of Angels Landing that could use some chains. But the final portion of trail is well constructed and safe overall. Hold on to the chains whenever available, watch where you step, and resist the urge to take in the scenery until you summit. Once you make it to the top, there is plenty of space to relax safely and admire the beautiful views: giant walls of multi colored rock on both sides with a river curving its way through the canyon floor.

Don’t let any initial fears at Scout’s Lookout prevent you from completing this hike. If you exercise caution and respect your environment, you should be fine. The payoff for crossing the finish line is twofold. You get treated to unimaginable views that few will ever see form that vantage point and you gain the satisfaction of completing what most consider a daunting task. The trail is properly named. If a landing strip for angels really exists in Utah, there is good chance this is it.