Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New study links "active travel" to health issues

Good reason to leave the car behind and walk or bike the next time you need to run errands. Results of a soon-to-be published study underscore the huge importance of walking and bicycling in combating two major U.S. public health epidemics – obesity and diabetes. John Pucher, PhD, professor of urban planning at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and HIS colleagues will publish their findings in this month’s issue of The American Journal of Public Health. The team of researchers looked at health and travel data for 14 countries, all 50 U.S. states and 47 of the 50 largest American cities. “At all three geographic levels, we found statistically significant, negative relationships between active travel and self-reported obesity,” they said. “At the state and city levels we found statistically significant positive relationships between active travel and diabetes. Over half of the variation among countries’ obesity rates is linked to differences in walking and cycling rates.” The researchers concluded that their study, which agrees with others that have been done, demonstrates the health benefits of active travel. They suggested transport, land-use and urban development policies be designed to encourage more walking and cycling for daily travel.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A view from the beach

This past weekend I was a student in an intense 3-day kayak training program called the Level IV Coastal Waters Instructor Development Workshop (IDW), hosted by the American Canoe Association (ACA). The IDW is a prerequisite for eventually taking the kayaking Instructor Certification Exam (ICE), which is also a 3-day event. I came away from the IDW fairly confident about my communication skills. There are definately knowledge areas that I need to study, and I also need to work on some of my on-the-water skills. So, I'll be spending time on all those things between now and the end of September when I take the ICE. Last evening as I was preparing to launch on Lake Michigan, I struck up a conversation with a guy on the beach who was there with his two young daughters and a nice camera with a long lens. He asked if it was OK to take pictures of me. I said "Of course." He could have taken them without my permission but it was nice of him to ask. This morning he sent me some of them. It's fun to see what it looks like from the beach. But I'd rather be the guy out on the water. IMGP3739 crop IMGP3704 crop

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The geocache diet

Here's a video that tells one person's attempt to lose weight through geocaching. While I think his goal is great, I don't think geocaching is the most effective way to lose weight. There are too many variables in geocaching to make it a reliable form of exercise. For example, you may not have enough long walk geocaches in your area. Once at the coordinates, you may spend a lot of time searching for the cache -- and that's time that could otherwise be spent on more intense exercise. Yes, geocaching is better than sitting on the couch, but it's no substitute for exercise that will do a lot more good, such as power walking, running, biking, etc.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kayaking downtown Milwaukee

A nice early season paddle on Sunday. 4.5 miles around Lakeshore State Park, the Milwaukee Art Museum and McKinley Marina.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Grafton Downriver kayak/canoe race

I came in third this year in the men's solo division. Mary placed first in the women's solo.

Grafton Downriver kayak/canoe race

Map your trip with EveryTrail

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Time for kayaking

One of the great things about kayaking is that, if you're fortunate enough to live near navigable water, you can steal away for just a short time at the end of the day or on a weekend day for some great fun and exercise. Here's a clip from this morning as I paddled through surf at Harrington Beach on Lake Michigan.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

first bike ride of spring

It was a little cool this afternoon - in the 40s, I think - but the sun was shining so I decided to get my bike out and take a spin. It's always interesting how much time it takes to get ready for a bike ride when it's the first one of the season. Pumping up the tires, finding my bike shoes, shorts, jersey, tights, jackets, gloves, helmet and shades. Reattaching the bike computer and searching for a replacement battery, then resetting the computer so it's ready to record the season's mileage. I traveled about 10 miles today. I say "about" because I'm not sure of the exact distance. The computer wasn't recording during the first mile or two. Then I had to stop and reset it because I realized it was displaying kilometers instead of miles. It felt good to be out. A couple of the steep hills proved to be a good workout, with me standing on the pedals.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A dive to remember

We're on the Caribbean island of Dominica for vacation, and doing a lot of diving and hiking. Yesterday was a memorable dive day -- when the dive boat swamped and nearly sank. It was a combination of factors. Being Sunday and because we were all experienced divers, the dive shop scheduled a less experienced boat captain and dive master. Since there were only 5 divers, they used a small boat. Everyone was back into the boat after the first dive except for one guy -- the heaviest diver. (He should have been the first to board.) He climbed the ladder on the side, the boat tipped and swamped. The captain and dive master ran the bilge pump and had us all go forward, but it kept taking on water so they told us all to jump overboard. Mary swam to shore. I grabbed a spare gas can that was floating in the water and waited near the boat so I could record the adventure. No one was harmed, except for the pride of the dive master and boat captain.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Downhill ski racing

I'm not a great downhill skier but I enjoy it, especially when I get a chance to ski gates in a race. That opportunity came this past Saturday evening. There was a fundraiser race for our B.O.L.D. program so I got in a couple of timed runs. Here's video of one of them. I didn't win, but I did beat Lindsey Vonn's time that day by more than 50 seconds. :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More fun with my GoPro HD camera

cross-country skiing at Pike Lake State Park

Nike+ report

Ken Braband ran 2.04 mi on 2/16/2010 at 11:59 AM with a pace of 7'32"/mi

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nike+ is a nice motivator while running

A couple of years ago I bought the Nike+ kit to go along with the iPod I had at that time, a first generation version. It worked fine but for some reason the battery in the sensor that you put in your shoe died after only a week or two of use. I took it back to the store for a replacement and the same thing happened to the replacement sensor so I returned it once more and got a refund on the entire Nike+ kit. Then last fall I got a new iPod because the old one finally died. So I decided to try Nike+ again with my new iPod. Now it works great and so far, no problems with the sensor dying. I use it for outdoor runs as well as indoors on the treadmill. It's nice to have the music playing as well as hearing a pleasant voice tell me when I've reached my halfway point, or have 400 yards to go, and so on. The remaining problem is that the armbands you can purchase for the newest generation iPods are inadequate. They must be made for thin women because the one I got won't even fit around my bicep -- and I'm not a bug muscular guy. I have seen that Apple offers a new armband holder for the iPod so I may have to check that out.

Ran 2.03 mi on 1/29/2010 at 11:39 AM with a pace of 8'14"/mi http://nikerunning.nike.com/n/r/en_US/2028907368/1886747844/?sitesrc=fbk_ab_plus

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My first winter kayaking on the big pond

I've been wanting to kayak on Lake Michigan during the winter, and today the opportunity presented itself because the weather was too crappy for x-c skiing and some experienced kayakers were planning to go out, so I decided to join them. It was a enjoyable experience. In fact, it's kind of a kick to do something that most people think is crazy but is really not -- as long as you have the proper equipment, training, and people to provide support. It was also a good opportunity to try out my new GoPro HD camera on the water. It worked well, despite the constant drizzle that blurred the lens at times. Here's a sample.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Choose your battles wisely

Those of you who know me know that I am a former motorcycle rider and power boat owner. I admit it. But over the years I've had time to think about my personal health issues as well as the direction that people in general seem to be going in terms of neglecting their health. I have changed my lifestyle to be more in line with the obvious direction that I needed to take and that our nation needs to go in terms of healthy living.
Last night I attended a community meeting to inform the public about plans to help restore and preserve a portion of the greenway along the Milwaukee River just north of downtown Milwaukee. As someone who enjoys kayaking on the river as well as cycling, I was curious to see what the plans are for the wooded areas on both sides of the river. I was struck by comments from a couple of people who spoke out in favor of the plan but added that they did not want to see mountain bike trails developed in the area. I have biked in this area and as I'm sure those people know, the mountain bike trails -- and mountain bikers --  are already there. They're just not "official" trails. From what I undestand, the people speaking against mountain biking are worried that this activity will infringe on wildlife in that area.

At first, that may sound like a noble stance to take, but it's misguided. Plans for the future should embrace activities that promote human-powered recreation -- including mountain biking. The real battle that we should be waging is not against activities that promote healthy lifestyles. Instead, we should provide outdoor opportunities for exercise and enjoying nature and then educate and encourage people not to use gasoline-powered machines for recreation. Not only are gas-powered recreational vehicles bad for the environment, they also contribute to our nation's health problems. Mountain biking is infintely better for health than riding an ATV or a motorcycle. Kayaking and canoeing does more to keep you healthy than power boating. And while motorcycles have a practical niche as a fuel-saving form of commuter transportation, their use as recreational vehicles does little to contribute to physical health. If it's a beautiful day and you feel like getting outside and hopping on a bike, why not make it a "real" bike?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

running in cold weather

With temperatures in the upper teens yesterday, it was brisk running along the lakefront, but very do-able. With long pants (I used non-insulated Northface rain-type pants to run in), gloves, a light jacket and a ski cap, the only thing that gets a little cold is my face. But after a few minutes that's not really a problem either.