Healthy Abbotsford Blog

Top 6 Outdoor Adventure and Camping Blogs

This information is from

Growing up I was fortunate that our family would go camping several times each summer. It was nothing fancy; we’d set-up camp at provincial parks and entertain ourselves with beach activities, berry picking, and some hiking. Sure, we got dirty and got one too many mosquito bites, but the memories of spending time together as a family and having lots of fun were worth it!

Packing suggestions: If the whole family is going camping, simple low cost items like a Frisbee™, beach or sports ball can get everyone off their lounge chairs and playing games together. A pail and shovel for playing in the sand and making sandcastles can provide hours of fun. For those heading out with a partner or a group of friends, pack your running shoes for jogs or hikes, and a swim suit for the beach (don’t forget the sunscreen!).

To read the rest of the article and see what the top 6 Outdoor Adventure and Camping Blogs are, click here.

Here in Abbotsford, you can also have fun outside with our Live 5210 Playboxes. Click here for more information.

Picture of a Playbox


Don’t Make These Mistakes When Running Outdoors

This is a great article from Shape magazine. Click here to access the original article.


Five mistakes you don’t want to make when hitting the trails

Warmer Spring weather inspires many to ditch the gym and run outside in the fresh air and on open roads. Before you make the switch from treadmill to street, avoid these common mistakes that could lead to injury.

Doing Too Much Too Soon

Between the steep hills, wind factor, uneven or slippery terrain, and not having a belt propelling you forward, running outside is harder than running on a treadmill. And since it’s more taxing on your muscles, you are more prone to shin splints and other pains. Start off with shorter distances on flat roads or trails, and as your endurance improves, gradually increase your mileage and hill work. If you experience shin pain, take a few minutes to walk and stretch out your lower legs. Don’t run through the pain because it may cause further injury, preventing you from running at all. When you’re not running, strengthen your shins with this exercise.

Trying to Maintain a Constant Pace

The treadmill belt keeps a consistent pace for you, so it’s easy to get into a rhythm. Outside is a whole new ballgame since you’re in charge of maintaining your speed. Aside from using your own muscles to propel each step, the steeper inclines, road obstacles, and uneven terrain make it harder to run fast. Don’t feel compelled to push yourself to run at the same pace you did on the treadmill you may end up falling or pulling a muscle. Run at a moderate and comfortable pace that allows you to run safely, and gradually increase your speed over several weeks. Check out these tips on how to become a faster runner.

Running on Pavement

Although easily accessible, pavement is a hard, unforgiving surface. Abruptly switching from a soft treadmill belt to a stiff road can be such a shock to the muscles and joints; some may find it hard to run half a mile without stopping in pain. Ease into running on the pavement by starting on the grassy areas between the sidewalk and the road, or better yet, stick to dirt roads or woodsy trails. Here are even more trail-running tips for the beginner.

Wearing the Wrong Shoes

A regular running sneaker was perfect for the flat, predictable surface of a treadmill, but once you head outdoors, make sure your sneaker’s tread can handle the gravel, dirt roads, and slick trails. You want a sneaker that supports your feet and offers a grippy sole so you feel confident moving over uneven surfaces.

Getting Lost

It’s easy to hit the ground running, but if you’re not paying attention, you may end up in an unfamiliar neighborhood or woodsy trail, with no clue as to how to get home. The adrenaline that builds from a panicked feeling of being lost can often make you run faster without paying attention to where your feet step, increasing the likelihood of tripping. Prevent getting lost by planning new routes before you head out the door. Always bring your phone along and try one of the many iPhone running apps that use a GPS to keep track of your location (I use the Nike+ GPS app). Taking a running buddy is also a smart idea, and get in the habit of telling someone where you’re going before you head out, just in case you get hurt or lost.




Dressing for Outdoor Activities

While this post from ParticipACTION is talking about kids, as adults the same information applies. While we may not have snow on the ground yet the days are definitely cooler. One of the best ways to enjoy being outdoors is to be dressed properly. It is hard to have fun when you are cold and/or wet.

Having proper clothing can be expensive when buying new. Consider checking your local Value Village, Thrift Store or Salvation Army. You will be amazed at the quality of outdoor clothing (and pretty much everything else) you can find at a price that you can’t beat. There are also a number of Facebook Swap pages  and Craig’s List where people are selling used items.

Winter is on its way! I say, bring on the snow and let’s bring back active outdoor play for our kids. When we were their age, a little snow didn’t keep us indoors. Quite the contrary! There were forts to make, snowballs to roll, and backyard skating rinks awaiting.

A winter wonderland provides the perfect playground for kids and adults alike. Dressing for winter weather is essential and since many kids won’t admit to being wet or cold since they don’t want to miss out on the fun, it’s a parent’s responsibility to provide winter clothing that is appropriate.

Dress in Layers

Dressing your child in layers allows warm air to get trapped between them, creating an insulation effect. I recommend a triple layer approach to keeping kids dry and comfortable.

To read the rest of the article click here.

Boy making a snowman


Settlement Concludes Ab Circle Pro Claims “Deceptive”

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We know this and yet millions of people fall victim to the quick fixes promised on late night infomercials. But rarely do these companies get called out for making false claims. Here is a rare example of a fitness product that has been sold in the millions, who’s claims of quick and easy weight loss were just recently deemed to be deceptive.

There is no magic bullet. If you want to change your health and fitness then you need to actually be more physically active and eat healthier. There is no way around that. Being active and eating healthy can be fun, if you choose to make it that way.

To read more about the Ab Circle Pro settlement claim click here.

Picture of Ab Circle Pro box


Running, Walking Routes: iPhone App

Do you love your iphone apps? Here is a new one for you to check out that tracks your walking/running/biking routes. The review comes from Fitness Test Drive, a Vancouver-based blog that reviews all the latest and greatest in the world of fitness gizmos and gadgets.

What It Is: An amazingly comprehensive iPhone app for tracking the walking and running routes around you (its database contains more than a million routes worldwide). Follow the app’s suggested nearby routes based on time or distance (less than a mile all the way up to 20 or 30 miles and beyond). Or, create your own route and save it in the app.

Other features include a place to log your training sessions, calorie-burn estimates, pace tracker and, my favorite, GPS tracking, accurately displaying where you are along the route.

And since any exercise app wouldn’t be complete without the ability to share your workout results on Facebook and Twitter, this app has that, too. “Dear Facebook friends, here’s where I ran today.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Walk Jog Run logo of a footprint


Track your New Year’s Resolutions Online!

2012 has arrived and with it comes new hopes, dreams and goals for the New Year! What are your New Year’s resolutions for health and fitness? Need a refresher on how to set SMART goals? Click Here.

Now that you’re ready to kick your New Year’s resolution into high gear, have you thought about how to track your progress? Research has shown that people who journal their food intake, workouts and progress are more successful in achieving health goals such as weight loss.  If you are a fan of pen and paper simply go out and get yourself a notebook, put your goal in writing, have a friend or family member witness your commitment and start journaling along your path to success.

If you are more of a tech savvy person there are many websites and smart phone apps available to help you track your progress and even provide you with tools to share your success through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. There is nothing like a few motivating comments from friends to keep you going!

Click here to check out the Online Tools Section of the Healthy Abbotsford website for some great links to some FREE Online Health Trackers.

Famly Coming out of Computer Screen


10,000 Steps to a Healthier You!

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise and it’s the cheapest and easiest way to get your daily physical activity.  A great tool to monitor your daily walking and encourage you to walk more is to use a pedometer.

A pedometer is a small electronic device that when worn on your hip tracks the number of steps you take each day. Pedometers range in price depending on the available features, but a basic pedometer can be purchased for less than $15. Many stores now carry pedometers including pharmacies, department stores and athletic stores.

To reap the health benefits of walking it is recommended to take 10,000 steps per day. The good news is every step counts! When you first get your pedometer wear it for a day without changing your regular routine. This will tell how many steps you normally take throughout your day and will let you know how many more steps you need to reach 10,000. Gradually increase your steps each day until you regularly take 10,000 steps.

Here are some tips to increase your steps!

  • take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • park further away from stores and other destinations
  • get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest
  • take short walking breaks whenever you get some free time
  • plan longer walks and schedule them into your day

For some additional motivation why not try an online step tracking program. 10,000 Steps is a fantastic website to log your daily steps and motivate yourself by participating in challenges. You can even encourage friends to sign-up and help motivate each other. Best of all, it is totally free and even has a convenient iPhone app.

Click here to sign-up on the 10,000 Steps website.

10,000 Steps Logo


4 Tips to Buying a Bike you Love!

The vast majority of us can remember our first time learning to ride a 2 wheeler. If it was anything like my memory it was an overwhelming sense of freedom! I can’t remember a day of my childhood that didn’t involve cycling around the neighborhood, biking to school or hitting some trails. But like many of us, the bike I had as a child soon had its fair share of use and abuse. Cycling with the old junker just wasn’t fun anymore.

Mountain Bikers

So here I am 31 years old and haven’t cycled in over 10 years. The technology has changed, there seems to be a style of bike for every conceivable type of riding and every rider I see is decked out as if they belong to a special club reserved only for the professionals.  So where do I start? I tried to find some info online and frankly the mass of information has sent my head for a spin. In an effort to figure this out I am connected with avid cyclist and owner of Life Cycles Bike Shop , Harvey Bergen

Harvey, an obvious fan of analogies, compares a bike to a pair of shoes. If you purchase a pair of shoes that don’t fit right or that aren’t designed for the activity you plan to participate in they will quickly end up in the back of your closet never to see the light of day. So when it comes to buying bikes, Harvey recommends that you consider the 4 F’s: Fit, Function, Fashion and Finance.

1 – Fit

Bikes come in many different sizes. We could get into the numbers, but generally these fall into small, medium and large frames. As well, you have bikes designed for women and those designed for men that take into account the anatomical differences between the genders. Harv’s advice is “try on” many different bikes to find the one that fits you best. Everybody has a different shape, size and proportions so one of the ways to know what fits you best is through trial and error. Help from an expert is also advisable.

2 – Function

This relates to the type of biking you plan on doing. Just like shoes are designed for different activities such as running and sports, bikes are designed for different terrains. So whether you are planning to commute to work on nicely paved roads or hit some rough trails, you want a bike that can perform well in your preferred conditions. Once you know the type of biking you want to do, go to your local bike store and explore the various options to suit your biking style.

3 – Fashion

We know now that buying a bike is about more then buying one that looks cool. However, once you know what fits well and is ideal for your intended uses you definitely want to find something you would be proud to ride down the street and show off to your friends. This helps to put you in the right head space and adds to the enjoyment of the ride.

4 – Finance

There are many different price ranges for bikes. Learn and explore your options in bikes before settling on a price range. This will help you get an idea of what your money can buy. If you purchase a bike only factoring in cost, it may not be the bike for you and will gather spider webs in no time. Harvey noted that a good purchase is one where you walk away thinking that that was the best money you ever spent! I’ll admit when I finally found the bike I felt met my cycling needs, I was pleasantly surprised at the price.

Now that you are equipped with the 4 F’s of buying a bike, get out there and rediscover your love of cycling!

Happy Pedaling!

Laura Loudon – Healthy Abbotsford Community Coordinator