Have you ever been driving down a road and totally blind-sided by a biker? Or have you been that biker who feels unsafe peddling down certain streets? A new research study released this week by Portland Statue University is hoping to prevent either scenario from happening.
The study examines new protected bike lanes installed by PeopleforBikes and the Green Lane Project throughout each of five chosen locations: Austin, Chicago, Portland, OR, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. These bike lanes (often painted bright green!) are separated from the regular traffic by curbs, parked cars, posts, or planters in efforts to organize the street and make it safer for all. These protected bike lanes are new to the US, so little research has been done on their effectiveness. Until now.
The study targeted one or two lanes in each city and set up video surveillance primarily at intersections to evaluate their effectiveness and overall usage. They also surveyed bicyclists, drivers, and nearby residents to get personal and practical feedback on their implementation and affect on the community.
What did they find? Here are some of the staggering stats:
Last week Shape.com ran an article that had me laughing out loud at my computer. It was basically a “Sure Signs You’re Over 30” story for fitness junkies and the assessment was spot-on. They wrote about how us older gals may be up at 5AM, but it’s to head out on a run, not to stumble home from a big night out. Or how massages are now a part of our maintenance routines, not just an occasional indulgence.
The article was truly amazing and a must-read for anyone who’s still going strong after the big 3-0. In fact, I couldn’t help but be inspired to think of my own amended version last night while in my favorite indoor cycling class. With the lights out and the music thumping I thought back to those fun nights 10+ years ago, which in no way resemble my “Game of Thrones” fueled evenings now.
Those were the days! But boy am I glad they’re over. At any rate, without further ado, here are 6 things that never change, whether you’re a dance club kid or an indoor cycling class queen!
- In cycling class you still worry about what your butt looks like. Only now you’re wearing padded shorts which, let’s face it, don’t really flatter any figure.
- You still spill your drink on yourself on the bike. Only this time it’s water dribbling down your chin and onto your spandex top, not vodka red bull. Way less sticky! (more…)
This weekend I’ll be pedaling 18 miles around Portland, OR, in the Worst Day of the Year Ride, a bike event scheduled for the weekend that has historically had the worst weather each year. I’m hoping for sun and temps in the 70s; it’s looking more like rain and snow in the 30s.
Sounds pretty miserable, right? So why do so many people sign up for this ride, and sporting events like it? To remind ourselves that bad weather isn’t a good enough reason to stay inside? To get out of our comfort zones? To check another box on the bucket list? Whatever the reason, if you register for a ride you’re bound to find like-minded souls out there, sweating and suffering right alongside you.
The calendar has officially declared that fall has arrived, even if the weather is slow to get on board. This cooler season isn’t unlike summer in that it is full of wonderful ways for you and your family to stay active and healthy.
Here are thirteen fun things you can do with your loved ones. We encourage you to try one activity for each week of Autumn.
1. Play at the Pumpkin Patch.
The pumpkin patch is a great way to get off the couch and get some fresh air. Most patches have hay rack rides, petting zoos, and even playgrounds. Get the most out of your time, challenge your kids to find the oddest sized pumpkin, or get some exercise by searching the far end of the patch. There’s lots of fun to be had by all.
2. Eat Pumpkin!
While you’re at the patch, don’t forget to grab a few baking pumpkins. The big guys are great for jack-o’-lanterns, but don’t taste the best. The smaller sizes are great for more than pie. Try roasting a pumpkin and serving it with a little salt, or add it to your favorite chili recipe. In fact we have 11 more ideas for cooking with this gourd.
3. You Butternut Forget the Squash!
Whether you’re at the pumpkin patch or at your grocery store, don’t forget about the other delicious plants growing on the vine. Fall welcomes the season for winter squashes like butternut or acorn. The shapes are fun and the flavors are delicious. Experiment with new tastes with Butternut Squash Fries or Roasted Acorn Squash Salad. (more…)
In the new book, Fit & Healthy Pregnancy: How To Stay Strong and In Shape for You and Your Baby, authors Kristina Pinto, EdD, along with Rachel Kramer, MD have created a fitness and wellness guide based on the notion that a fit mama is a happy mama. Laid out in easy-to-read chapters based on each trimester of pregnancy and beyond, the book takes a comprehensive look at a woman’s changing body, the nutrients it needs and a multitude of exercise tips to keep it strong and healthy.
In the not-so-distant past, once a woman found out she was pregnant, she was relegated to nine months of sedentary activity. Even doctors believed that a woman with-child was a delicate flower who needed constant rest. Thankfully, health professionals are now encouraging mothers to walk, run and move, as long as they listen to their body’s cues for adjusting activity. This is the “guiding principle” of Fit & Healthy. The authors provide a wealth of information, but each woman is different and may need to tweak their individual routine accordingly.
We’re now well into the Olympic Games and the excitement has officially set in. Watching American athletes compete so passionately inspires us to want to get out there and hit the pavement, dunk the ball, and stick that landing, too. And today? We want to get down and dirty on the road, cycling style.
To really channel our inner cyclists, we’ve summoned the help of the American Council on Exercise (ACE) for a seriously intense interval workout that you can do at home on a stationary bike, or on the road with a road or mountain bike.
Developed by ACE’s director of professional education, Anthony Wall, this roughly 1-hour workout is sure to blast calories and get your heart rate up quick with a series of challenging intervals.
One hour of cycling can burn between 400-700 calories. But if you don’t have a full hour to devote, simply scale back and shorten your interval times or the length of your warm-up and cool-down.
To measure your level of exertion during the workout, determine your rate of perceived effort of RPE before starting by using a simple 1-5 scale – one being easy and five being difficult. Once you have that scale in mind, it’s time to get started. (more…)
One of my favorite workouts is cycling. When I discovered spin class, it became my drug. I loved how challenging it was and that it always left me dripping sweat by the end. Hundreds of calories torched, cardiovascular endurance, toned legs – what more could I ask for in an exercise? It was perfect workout, or so I thought.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, I should be concerned about the way biking is affecting my sexual health. Similar to the concern for males when it comes to biking, women might need to be concerned, too. This is because the way the bike seat is designed, it can cause body weight to rest on the front or ‘nose’ of the seat, putting pressure on nerves and blood vessels in the genital area.
This can raise the risk of erectile dysfunction in men, which is something that’s been proven in studies of male bicycle police officers. But understandably, female cyclists haven’t been studied as closely on the matter due to our, ahem, different make up. However, a study conducted at Yale in 2006 that compared female cyclist with runners concluded that cyclists have less genital sensation compared to female runners. Interesting. (more…)
Public health officials have been encouraging Americans of all ages to walk and bike more to decrease obesity and improve overall health. Now that the weather is warmer, we just might be inclined to follow their advice.
On beautiful days, it’s tempting to just throw on your jogging shoes and go for a quick run, or dust off the bike for a nice ride and not think twice about safety.
Not only do you need to be aware of safety but also what do if you possibly encounter a dangerous situation. Here are some things to consider before you head outside:
First, decide where you are going to go and if possible have someone go with you. Going on bike rides or a quick jog is a great reason to invite a friend or loved one. If you do go by yourself, let someone else know where you are going and provide them with details on where you plan to go. While planning your route, avoid deserted or dangerous areas. Try to stay near paths that are more populated and well lit. Vary your route and the time of day so you are not as predictable. Avoid unfamiliar areas, but if you are trying a new path or route make mental notes of emergency phones, and safe businesses. Also, carry some I.D. and change just in case you need to make a phone call. (more…)
Swimming, biking and running for short or long distances requires a tremendous amount of strength, endurance and mental stamina. While a triathlon-specific training regime is necessary in developing staying power, a yoga program will also physically and mentally help take you to the finish line.
Power for the Swim
Stretching is definitely crucial to counter balance the muscle tightening actions of triathlon training, however stretching against a light resistance (as in yoga) will not only lengthen your muscles, it will improve the contractibility of your muscle fibers. This means your muscles will have the range of motion and power required to propel your body through the water. Practice the following stretch for up to one minute, five times a day.
It’s great to leave all your cares behind when you go out for a bike ride, which often means keeping your phone home. Similarly, toting around a heavy wallet can be a burden when you’re out running. However, in the case of a serious injury or accident, the absence of these objects makes it difficult to identify an unconscious athlete or contact their family. GO Sport ID provides a simple solution to give runners and bikers peace of mind by creating lightweight identification that communicates the your most important information when you can’t.
They offer several different ID products, including wristbands and dog tags. There are a number of wristbands options, such as an adjustable nylon band or magnetic therapy bracelets. Each GO Sport ID not only has space for your name and an emergency contact, but also an inspirational message so that you can use your ID to remind yourself of your goals and motivations. You may also want to provide any other vital medical information that first responders need to know.
GO Sport IDs was started in August 2022, and is based in Houston. Biggest Loser season 11 winner Olivia Ward and runner-up Hannah Curlee are spokespeople for GO Sport IDs, and encourage all athletes to be prepared for emergencies.
One of the principles I was taught early on as a psychology student is “correlation is not causation”, which means that just because research finds trends does not mean that we can prove that one variable caused another.
A correlation has been reported of a higher percentage of the population that bikes to work in the cities considered the most fit in the US. Since biking to work requires regular physical exercise, it is not surprising that those that commute via bicycle increase the fitness quotient for their cities. Richard Florida also found correlations between those populations with a greater percentage of biking commuters and higher earnings, more creative jobs and fewer working class jobs, more diverse populations, and higher ratings of happiness.
Brian Cantrell, a web developer at Media Refined (parent company of DietsInReview.com), is an avid bicycle commuter who also mentioned happiness as a reason why he enjoys biking to work. “There are a lot of reasons I enjoy riding to work. The first is that I feel better when I get to work because I’ve got my blood pumping a bit so I really feel awake. I also like that you experience your city unmediated. When you are in a car you are traveling at a higher speed and there’s a wall between you and the neighborhoods you pass through so you don’t see much as you would on a bike. Lastly, I’m just happier when I’m active every day. I barely move while I’m at work and my eyes are always focused about two feet in front of me, definitely a sub-optimal situation, but I think cycling is the perfect antidote to it.”