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How to Up Your Skateboarding Game

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– Fitness Tips –

Take your skateboarding skills to a gnarly new level with these pro tips.

Kickflips and heelflips, ollies and nollies: Who hasn’t dreamed of dropping in at a skate park and pulling off some tricks?

Skateboarding delivers surprising physical and mental benefits, along with the incredible cool-factor of zipping up, down, and around concrete ramps, stairs, hills, and more. And it’s gaining traction among grownups — some 6.5 million Americans now ride, according to the Sporting Goods Industry Association.

“Physically, skating will make you acutely aware of your body and how it moves,” says Salena Retsos of Erik’s Bike, Board, and Ski Shop in Bloomington, Minn. “It helps develop muscle memory and quick reflexes for a solid foundation. Skating builds endurance and a commitment to perfecting the aesthetic.”

Skateboarding also develops mental strength, dexterity, and a creative perspective on spatial awareness, she adds. “Building yourself up to jump down a stair set takes as much mental strength to ignore the fear as it does to actually jump.”

As with any sport, practice is key. “Take your board everywhere,” Retsos advises. “Practice tricks in your living room, skate to the corner store, have it with you wherever you go, and it will become second nature.”

Cardio, plyometric moves, and resistance exercises can prepare your muscles for the rigors of riding. “Taking your training into the gym is a great way to reduce the chance of injury and recover faster,” says Retsos.

The mind can also benefit from a few simple at-home exercises, including meditation and visualization.

“Skateboarding is the most radical sport in the world,” says James “Swamp Trog” Kaul, a ramp builder and skateboarding expert at 3rd Lair Skate Park in Golden Valley, Minn. “It takes discipline, strength, and endurance — and it’s a release, no matter what’s happening in your life. It’s truly a medicine you can only experience through participating.”


Sarah Tuff Dunn
is a Colorado-based outdoors, health, fitness, and nutrition writer.

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Health & Fitness

How to Pack a Gym Bag

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Forgetting your socks or weightlifting gloves can derail your workout, especially if you’re new to exercise or entrenched in a rigid program. To stay the course, having the right supplies is key to your success. To help you prepare, we asked Life Time personal trainers Anna Taylor, NASM, USAW, Alpha, and Bryce Morris, MS, NASM, ISSA, Alpha, for their favorite gym-bag essentials.

Staples

  • Stretchy, flexible, sweat-wicking shirt and pants or shorts
  • Socks (two pairs)
  • Undergarments, sports bra, support, or protection
  • Cross-trainers or sport-specific shoes
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Flip-flops for showering
  • Hair binders, deodorant, toiletries
  • Sports watch or heart-rate monitor
  • MP3 player/phone and earbuds or headphones for music

Nice to Haves

  • Swimsuit for the whirlpool or sauna
  • Wet/dry bag for swimsuit or sweaty clothes postworkout
  • Razors: Some clubs offer them in the locker room, but bring a reusable one to cut down on waste
  • Odor-absorbing charcoal sticks to keep your bag smelling fresh
  • Shaker bottle with premeasured protein powder so you can add water and refuel

Coach Anna also suggests:

  • A protein-packed bar to eat before your workout
  • Bear KompleX Hand Grips for pull-ups
  • A weightlifting belt for lifts at 80 percent or more of max

Coach Bryce also suggests:

  • An extra T-shirt
  • A RPM speed rope for double-unders and conditioning
  • A BCAA and L-glutamine supplement to support recovery after your session

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