Why Are Marathon Runners Wrapped in a Thermal Blanket at the End of the Race?

Spectators at the finish of a marathon can watch a long line of runners, draped in shiny silver blankets as they make their way through the finishing area. Some of the runners are walking slowly, some are limping, some look bewildered and some are trying to peel a banana. After running 26.2 miles, they need some TLC, which is what the silver thermal blankets provide.
Unlike football, basketball or baseball, marathons don’t have a season. Runners can choose races all over the world, in all climates, time zones and elevations. However, host cities always schedule their marathons in their mildest weather. For example, Boston and London are in April, after their hard winters but before the heat sets in. Chicago is in October — before cold winds blow off Lake Michigan but after the hot and humid summers. For runners, this means perfect running weather, but it also means it can be cold at the finish after they stop running but are still wearing their damp running clothes.
After crossing the finish line, marathoners stop running, but they don’t stop sweating. In addition, the evaporation effect they were getting from running stops too. So damp running clothes get even wetter. And wet clothes translate into shivering runners. Races give participants the option of packing a bag that is available at the finish. But in big races such as Boston, it can take the runner 20 minutes to find his bag with dry, warm clothes. Allison Macsas, a 2012 U.S. Marathon Olympic trials qualifier explains, “No matter how hot and sweaty I may be at the finish, it never fails that 30 minutes later I’ll find myself cold, shivering and still searching for my bag full of nice dry clothing.”
NASA developed the material for thermal blankets as insulation and used it on all manned and unmanned missions since Apollo. Most dramatically after Skylab lost a heat shield during take off, NASA engineers fashioned an umbrella-like protector from the reflective material. In the mid-1970s, marathon race organizers started distributing the “space” blankets to finishers. As of 2011, the blankets are often customized with race logos, making them a shiny souvenir.
According Princeton’s Outdoor Action, signs of hypothermia include shivering, clumsiness, stumbling and confusion. These symptoms also describe what some marathoners experience at the finish line. Without the thermal blankets, many runners would find themselves in the medical tent instead of celebrating with family and friends. The next marathon you run, take Macsas’s advice: “Always take the blanket.”

Off-Season Baseball Workout Programs

The off-season offers baseball players an opportunity to focus on developing themselves, both athletically and specifically as players. The goal is to recover from injuries sustained during the previous season, build muscular strength and mass, develop greater power and agility and improve baseball skills.
Weight training workouts are of higher volume during the off-season because they¡¯re designed to increase muscle size. Lift weights four days per week. Focus on your chest, shoulders, back, triceps, biceps and torso rotation muscles on Mondays and Thursdays, and your legs and abdominals on Tuesdays and Fridays. Complete three sets of each exercise, with sets consisting of 12, 10 and eight reps. Increase the weight with each set.
The hips, legs, shoulders and core produce the power when you swing, bat or throw. Incorporate plyometrics into your regimen on Tuesdays and Fridays so they’ll fall on the same day as your legs and abdominals strength sessions. To build power in the hips and legs, incorporate tuck jumps, lateral box push-offs, box jumps and split jumps. Develop the upper body with plyo pushups, medicine ball chest pass and the medicine ball overhead smash. For rotation power, the medicine ball twist and throw is effective. Complete two to three sets of eight to 10 reps of each exercise.
Improving your footwork and agility over the off season will allow you to get to more ground balls and run the bases with greater precision. Agility training should be done on Mondays and Thursdays. Quality drills include footwork with the agility ladder, cone hops and shuttle runs. Cone hops consist of hopping over a single cone side-to-side or front-to-back with both feet as fast as you can. For shuttle runs, set three cones in a single-file line, with each one five yards apart. Begin at the center cone and first sprint to the cone on your right, then to the one at your far left, and sprint back to the center cone.
Hitters should get in three to four batting workouts per week. Perform a total of 50 to 200 swings each workout. If you’re an infielder, get a partner to hit you 50 to 100 ground balls. With each rep, imagine the base you’re throwing to and adjust your footwork accordingly.
Pitchers have to balance workouts with careful arm care between seasons. Alan Jaeger of “Collegiate Baseball Magazine” recommends two to three weeks off without any type of training, then an additional four to six weeks just about building up the body and arm. Once you’re ready to throw, your three to four weekly workouts should include five to 20-minute bouts of long toss at 60, 75, 90 and 110 feet. For two to three days per week, do surgical tubing exercises that strengthen the rotator cuff. They can be internal and external shoulder rotations, rows and biceps curls. Complete 12 to 15 reps of each exercise.

Strength Training for Girls in Youth Soccer

You may believe that adding strength training to your daughter’s soccer practices is too much for her body to handle. But girls consistently increase muscle strength until about age 15, according to y-coach.com. Strength training can effectively improve muscle strength and endurance for girls. Talk to your daughter’s doctor about an exercise program. Exercises should always be performed after warming up, with a knowledgeable spotter to prevent injury, and followed by appropriate stretching techniques.
Weight-bearing exercise causes muscles to pull at the bones to which they attach. This action allows bones to become more dense, and thus stronger. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, girls and women should participate in muscle-building exercise to promote healthy bone growth, decreasing their risk for osteoporosis later in life. Kidshealth.org states that strength training can improve focus, helping your kids to perform better in school and on the field. It may also reduce the risk of short-term injuries by protecting joints and tendons. Exercise can also help kids lose weight. Adult soccer players can run approximately seven miles in a game. Although at the youth level the distance is much less, they are still usually performing cardio activity for at least 30 minutes. Sports like soccer can help to keep your daughters healthy, developing beneficial life habits.
According to kidshealth.org, it may be beneficial to begin with body weight exercises before adding in machine or free weights. Squat exercises will focus on key muscles for soccer; they work quadriceps, gluteal muscles, hamstrings and calf muscles simultaneously. Building these muscles will improve speed, agility and strength for striking the ball. Beginners can perform squats against a wall. You can have the girl stand about a foot away from a wall, with her back to the wall. She should assume what looks like a sitting position, with her back against the wall. Her knees should not bend over the toes during this exercise, and her back should not go lower than her knees, states orthoinfo.aaos.org. She should hold this position for 10 seconds or more, and repeat a few times, increasing repetitions as she becomes stronger. This exercise should not be performed more than three times per week, and never two days in a row.
Similar to the squat, lunges also work the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. The girl should stand with one foot in front of the other, and bend the front and back legs at 90 degree angles; you may have to help her adjust the width between her feet accordingly to achieve proper alignment. She can place her hands on her hips or keep them outstretched for balance. She should begin the exercise slowly, bending the knees to lower the body and coming back up to the starting position. At first, just a few repetitions on each side may be sufficient, allowing time for her strength to grow.
Knee injuries in female soccer players are quite common. The American Journal of Sports Medicine published a study in November 1995 that found women athletes had a higher incidence of anterior cruciate ligament, ACL, tears than did their male counterparts. According to orthoinfo.aaos.org, knee stabilization exercises can strengthen the ligaments around the knee. To perform such an exercise, your daughter should stand next to a chair or next to a buddy on her team for support. She should place one hand on the support while she shifts all her weight to one leg. Keeping that leg straight, she should swing her other straightened leg in front of the standing leg so they are crossed. She should hold that position for five seconds and then slowly return to the starting position. She can switch legs and repeat the exercise of a few times.
Although soccer focuses on the legs, core muscles and arm strength are still needed. Core muscles, like the abdominals and lower back, are important in speed, balance, dribbling fakes and shooting. Arm strength is needed for maintaining your space, throw-ins, and for goalkeeping. Situps and pushups are easy exercises that can be a part of weekly training sessions. As with all exercises, begin slowly and be sure to allow the muscles adequate time to rest.

Football Practice Drills for Middle School

Middle school football is a learning experience for players. The game might be somewhat competitive because coaches and players want to win, but the most important aspects are learning about the specifics of each position, conditioning for the demands of the sport and understanding the value of factors like teamwork and work ethic. Practice drills can help players improve at their sport.
Running backs have to learn how to take a hand off from the quarterback and then cut quickly to avoid the tackler. The bag drill teaches the running back to do both of these things. Have the running back line up about seven yards behind the quarterback. A coach lines up as if he were a linebacker, across from the center, holding a blocking bag. After the quarterback takes the snap from center, he drops back and hands off the ball to the running back. The running back runs straight ahead and the coach moves left or right. As soon as the coach moves, the running back cuts in the opposite direction as quickly as possible while maintaining his balance. Give each running back five attempts at this drill.
The defense lines up with four defensive linebackers and three linebackers. The offense lines up in its standard formation, with at least one running back and two wide receivers. On the coach’s signal, the offense runs a toss sweep to the running back or a sideline pass. In this drill, the defense must recognize the play immediately and move quickly into the correct defense. If it’s a running play, the defensive lineman must attack the gaps and get penetration into the backfield, while the linebackers must flow to the ball. If it’s a pass play, the defensive linemen rush the quarterback and the linebackers and secondary drop into zone coverage. If there is any hesitation, the coach blows the whistle and restarts the play.
This drill is designed to help receivers with their concentration on the ball. It is especially important for middle-school receivers who don’t get many opportunities to catch the ball. In this drill, the wide receiver runs 10 yards upfield and turns inside to run a crossing pattern over the middle of the field. The defensive back runs in the opposite direction and crosses in front of the wideout. The quarterback throws the ball to the wideout just before the defensive back crosses in front of him. This helps the wide receiver improve his concentration. Make sure each receiver gets at least three attempts at this drill.
Running backs have to be dependable when it comes to holding onto the football. One of the keys to this is placing the football in the correct arm. When the running back runs to the right side of the field, the ball must be placed in his right arm. When he runs to his left, it must be in his left arm. Hand off the ball to the running back three times running to his right and three times running to his left. This will help him get used to putting the ball in his outside arm each time.

Medical Tests Every Man Needs to Be Healthy for Life

No one looks forward to going to the doctor’s office, especially when most guys have the mentality of ¡°Why go to the doctor’s if I don’t feel sick?¡± But the truth is, it’s better to be proactive about your health than wait for something to go wrong.
That’s why Livestrong.com put together this list of every medical test men should have done in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. Because it’s never too early (or too late) to take better care of yourself.
Young men have time and, for the most part, health on their side. But you should take control of your health now so you¡¯re not facing down 40 with a spare tire around your gut and a bunch of pill bottles in the bathroom.
While you probably don¡¯t need regular annual exams, it¡¯s not a bad idea to find a doc you like and start with at least one full checkup ¡ª including baseline height, weight and blood pressure. A good internist will also listen to your heart, lungs and the carotid arteries, checking for any abnormalities; do a skin check for suspicious moles; look in your mouth, ears, and eyes; and check your lymph nodes and abdomen for any lumps or bumps.
You need to know what normal feels like, and now¡¯s a good time. You might be surprised to find out that the risk for testicular cancer actually peaks in your 20s, says Gary Rogg, M.D., internist at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York.
¡°It¡¯s wise to do a self-exam probably monthly,¡± Dr. Rogg says, but talk to your doctor first to get a ¡°feel¡± for what you¡¯re looking for. ¡°Most men don¡¯t know, which can lead to a lot of anxiety and unnecessary testing,¡± says David K. Spindell, M.D., internal medicine practitioner and divisional vice president of medical affairs at Abbott Diagnostics.
You¡¯ll probably need a few shots in the arm (or butt) in this decade, in part because some immunity from childhood vaccination has worn off, and in part to match your lifestyle. Get a tetanus booster, and ask about a Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis), which also includes a diphtheria vaccine.
¡°If you travel abroad, get a vaccine for Hepatitis A, and if you didn¡¯t get it as a child, you also need Hep B,¡± says Dr. Spindell. Finally, if you¡¯re still in college or in the military, be sure you¡¯re vaccinated against meningitis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone get screened at least once for HIV, but you should definitely get checked if you¡¯ve had unprotected sex with multiple partners have sex with men, have injected drugs or just to play it safe.
Read more: The 10 Most Annoying Men’s Health Issues and How to Fix Them
Here’s your 30s in a nutshell: You can still walk the walk, but this is a decade for taking stock. Dr. Rogg says outwardly healthy men can be developing heart problems during these year without a clue. ¡°We know from autopsies done on young men [who died, for example, in accidents] that there are often early signs of atherosclerosis,¡± he says, which is a precursor of heart disease.
An annual physical now will look the same as it did 10 years ago ¡ª an assessment of weight and blood pressure, heart, lungs, lymph nodes, carotid arteries to look for any abnormalities such as heart murmurs, breathing problems and early vascular issues ¡ª but becomes a bit more urgent. Keep up that testicular self-checking, too. Surprisingly, testicular cancer is more common in younger men than older ones, says Rogg.
Now¡¯s the time to get a fasting lipoprotein blood test for good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol, as well as triglycerides. Cholesterol isn¡¯t a disease or condition; it¡¯s an assessment that can indicate your risk of developing heart disease.
What you need to aim for is not just keeping your LDL lower ¡ª 100 mg/dl is optimal ¡ª but inching your HDL higher, over 60 mg/dl, according to American Heart Association standards. Generally, a good total number is 200 mg/dl or less, and over 240 is considered high.
Measuring your triglycerides, the most common type of fat in your body, is also a key number, and inching over 150 mg/dl is cause for concern. A high triglyceride level combined with low HDL or high LDL may encourage atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty deposits in artery walls, increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke. This test becomes more crucial if you have a family history of heart disease and if you smoke.
Checking your body mass index will help you get hold of your belly fat issues now, which is important because belly fat can be related to heart problems down the road. Figure out your BMI with the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute calculator.
Your physician may calculate this number in his office, but even if he doesn¡¯t, you should know it, because a high BMI ups your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems and certain cancers. Just bear in mind that BMI readings may overestimate body fat in men who work out a lot or who have a muscular build.
Look at it this way: A full-body check now is way more palatable than losing a chunk of your nose to a basal-cell carcinoma 10 years down the road. Your doc will be looking for any suspicious moles that fit the American Academy of Dermatology¡¯s ABCDE criteria:
Read more: Eating and Exercise Tips for Your 30s (Infographic)
If you¡¯ve let your weight creep up and your exercise regimen slack off, it’s time to get back on track, because your risk of conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer go up in this decade.
Most primary care physicians encourage annual routine physicals for men in their 40s, as any issues caught early are more easily treated. You also need to own up to your family history, and base decisions on preventive testing and care in part on that, says Dr. Gary Rogg, an internist at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York.
Take prostate cancer, for example. The American Cancer Society recommends an initial screen at 50. But if your dad got the disease before age 65 ¡ª or if you are African-American ¡ª you should start getting screened ¡ª a blood test for a prostate specific antigen ¡ª during this decade, says Rogg.
If you already wear glasses, get your vision checked regularly. The American Academy of Opthalmology recommends that those who¡¯ve never gotten a comprehensive eye exam should book one now, because early signs of certain age-related eye problems ¡ª cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration ¡ª may be lurking even without symptoms. See an ophthalmologist for a baseline exam, which will include an eye pressure test; pupil dilation so the doctor can look at your retina and optic nerve; and a test of visual acuity.
Meanwhile, if you find yourself holding the sports pages or your smartphone an arm¡¯s length away, chances are you have presbyopia, a normal, middle-age-related shortening of your focus, also known as short arm syndrome. No serious worries here; all you need is a good pair of reading glasses. Either ask your doc for a prescription update or, if you don¡¯t wear prescription glasses, a pair of readers from the drugstore will do the trick.
Any time you visit the doc you¡¯ll get your BP checked. But the 40s are a time to get a handle on those numbers, as high blood pressure is a strong indicator of an increased risk for heart disease and stroke, especially if there are other red flags, like being overweight or a smoker, says Rogg.
Numbers that should concern you: a systolic, or top, reading of between 120 and 139 and a diastolic, or bottom, reading between 80 and 89 puts you in a pre-hypertensive state, according to the American Heart Association. Hypertension is defined as blood pressure of 140/90 or higher.
With CDC statistics showing that more than one-third of adults living in the U.S. are now considered obese, it¡¯s not surprising that Type 2, formerly called adult onset, diabetes is a huge and growing health concern, which is why finding out if you¡¯re in danger of developing diabetes is critical. If you think being thin protects you from this disease, think again.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that by age 45 men be tested for Type 2 diabetes, most commonly with a fasting blood glucose test. A normal level is below 100 mg/dl. If your numbers come in between 100 and 125 mg/dl, you are considered pre-diabetic and you should consider it a wake-up call.
According to the ADA, dropping a few pounds ¡ª seven percent of your bodyweight ¡ª can put you back in the safe zone, but talk to your doctor about other lifestyle modifications. If your FPG is 126 mg/dl or above, you have diabetes, a condition that becomes chronic and sometimes deadly.
A more accurate diabetes screen is the hemoglobin A1C test. Whereas a fasting blood test is a snapshot in time, the A1C looks at a protein in the blood that changes in the presence of too much blood sugar, and it gives your health care professional an indication of your blood glucose level over a three- to four-month period. An A1C at 5.6 percent, the percentage of sugar in your blood, is normal; a pre-diabetic range is between 5.7 and 6.4 percent. Anything over that indicates diabetes.
Read more: Eating and Exercise Tips for Your 40s (Infographic)
The older men get, says Dr. Rogg, the more nervous they can be that they¡¯ll see their physician and find out they¡¯ve got some chronic condition that¡¯ll require monitoring and medication. Instead, he says, think about preventive health care from a more positive, proactive angle: ¡°Men are resistant to taking medication [say, for high blood pressure or cholesterol] because they fear side effects. I tell them to think about the much worse side effect of not finding out what¡¯s going on, and taking care of it.¡±
At 50, you should schedule your first colonoscopy, although if you have a family history of the disease (a primary relative with colon cancer) or are African American, you should have begun screening in your 40s. The prep may be icky, but the process is painless and important. Not just for screening, says Dr. Spindell, but also for the immediate treatment of any polyps that might be found.
If your test is normal, you only need to repeat every 10 years, says Dr. Rogg, but you still should have a fecal occult blood test as part of your routine checkup. So think of the benefit when your doc inserts a gloved finger in your rectum during your annual exam. This on-the-spot test for fecal occult blood is important, because blood in the stool can be an early indicator of colon cancer.
Although an EKG and a cardiac stress test are not routinely recommended unless you have risk factors such as a family history or are experiencing symptoms, ¡°getting a baseline EKG is reasonable to suggest during this decade,¡± says Dr. Rogg. ¡°One thing that might be picked up on an EKG are tall waves, which can suggest thickened heart muscle, possibly caused by untreated high blood pressure.¡± This result requires follow-up with a cardiologist, he says.
Ask your doctor if taking a daily low-dose aspirin is right for you ¡ª it is right for most men this age, says Dr. Spindell, unless you have any type of bleeding disorder. A study in the heart journal Circulation agrees that the therapy is useful and cost-effective. It¡¯s a case of no harm and potentially enormous good: ¡°A low-dose aspirin a day has been shown to decrease the incidence of heart disease,¡± Spindell says.
If you¡¯re not sure whether to get screened for prostate cancer, you¡¯re not the only one ¡ª there has been recent controversy. The American Cancer Society says that starting at age 50, you should discuss the pros and cons of this test ¡ª do it at 45, if you¡¯re African-American, or your father or brother developed prostate cancer before age 65 ¡ª with your doctor. The reason to have the talk rather than definitely get the test? The standard screen, a blood test called for prostate-specific antigen, can be misinterpreted if not carefully read and lead to a possibly unnecessary biopsy.
¡°An elevated PSA could mean cancer, or not ¡ª false positives are common,¡± says Dr. Spindell. Even if cancer is detected accurately, it might be indolent, or so slow-growing that it will never become an issue, whereas aggressive treatment can leave you incontinent and impotent.
For that reason, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against routine PSA tests for most men, a position that the American Urological Association vigorously disagrees with, saying that oftentimes, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a physician during a routine check-up. Best thing you can do is speak with your doc about what¡¯s right for you. If you experience any problems urinating, or see blood in your urine or semen, or have painful ejaculation, call your doctor right away.
Baby boomers, listen up: The CDC recently issued a recommendation that everyone born between 1945 and 1965 get tested for hepatitis C, noting that 75 percent of adults carrying the virus were born during those years. The reasons why this rate is so high are not completely understood, but what is known for sure is that early detection and treatment will save lives.
It was previously recommended that only those with certain risk factors, including IV drug use or getting tattooed in an unclean environment, get tested, but given that so many people are silent carriers, and considering that hepatitis C can lead to deadly diseases including cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer, screening seems smart.
Read more: Eating and Exercise Tips for Your 50s (Infographic)
Keep up the vigilant, proactive approach to your well-being, says Sharon Brangman, M.D., professor of medicine at Upstate Medical College of the State University of New York, and past president of the American Geriatrics Society. Besides the health checks here, you might consider talking to your doctor about a cognitive or memory screen.
¡°Sixty-five is a good time for a baseline screen, which most primary-care doctors can do in their offices,¡± says Dr. Brangman. And if you want to continue to annoy your kids and delight your grandkids for years to come, keep exercising.
Exercise has been shown to reduce dementia, lower blood pressure and blood sugar, and will give you energy for all the things you have time to do now. Studies have shown that older men who maintained or began weight-training programs improved their overall health in many ways.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services¡¯ Agency for Research Health and Quality (ARHC) notes that all men 65 and older who have ever smoked (more than 100 cigarettes in a lifetime) should get a sonogram to check for an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). An asymptomatic bulging in your abdominal aorta can eventually rupture ¡ª which as you might imagine can be fatal.
You may already have a pair of reading glasses (or four) and/or prescription lenses in your possession, and hopefully you¡¯ve been getting regular eye exams. Be sure to get yourself to the ophthalmologist to check for age-related eye issues such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. The sooner the better.
If you had chicken pox as a kid, think about getting the herpes zoster vaccine to help protect against shingles, a painful condition caused by the same virus, which lays dormant in your body for decades, and can reactivate later in life. The United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that adults older than 60 receive the herpes zoster vaccine as part of their routine medical care.
An annual flu vaccine is currently recommended for everyone these days, but especially for those over 65 and anyone who has asthma, a lung disease such as COPD or if you¡¯re a healthcare provider. Do get a pneumonia vaccine ¡ª it¡¯s also recommended for those over 65 (or younger if you have any condition that leaves you vulnerable to infection).
Yep, men need one, too. Though osteoporosis is less common in men than in women, more than 2 million men in the U.S. get this bone-weakening disease as they age, according to the National Institutes of Health. Men should get a bone density test at age 70, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, or sooner (age 50 to 69) if you have risk factors such as having broken a bone, or you¡¯ve lost half an inch of your height within the last year.
Read more: Eating and Exercise Tips for Your 60s (Infographic)
Is your health record on track? Are there any tests you now realize you need to catch up on? Which of these tests did you already know were recommended for men? Were there any that surprised you? Will you do anything differently with your health now that you have this info? Share you thoughts, stories and questions in the comments section below!
Additional reporting from Denise Schipani
Read more: Eating, Exercise & Health Tips for Your 30s, 40s, 50s & 60s

Does Running Stairs Increase Your Vertical Jump?

To excel at basketball, volleyball, football and basebal, you need to be able to jump well. Even in daily life, you might find yourself jumping on occasion to reach for a tree branch or catch a flying disk in the park. This skill takes strength, coordination and power all rolled into one. Running stairs is a high-intensity activity that not only burns calories but can also improve your hops.
Jumping involves multiple movement patterns with the joints in the lower body, such as hip flexion and extension, and knee flexion and extension. Hip flexion takes place when you move your thigh toward your stomach. Hip extension takes place when you move your thigh backward. Knee flexion takes place when you bend your knee and move your heel backward, and knee extension takes place when you straighten your leg. This requires you to use major muscles like the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. Running the stairs involves progressive upward stepping with the legs. This in turn strengthens all the leg muscles, so it does in fact help with jumping ability.
The weight of the body alone provides good resistance to get an initial muscle-building effect with stair running. After regular bouts of training, your body will quickly adapt to this stress and you will not make any further progress. This is where added resistance comes into play. By wearing a weighted vest for example, your weight will increase, and this will tax your muscles with more emphasis. You also have the option of strapping on ankle weights or holding dumbbells in your hands. This will place more work on your upper body muscles as well.
The calf muscles, which consist of the gastrocnemius and soleus, sit on the back of the lower legs and produce a motion called plantar flexion. This takes place when you point your toes downward. Strong calves are paramount for getting a burst of power off the ground during jumping. You automatically work the calves when running up stairs, and by running on your tiptoes, you can increase the effect.
Stepping on every step allows you to move up a staircase at a rapid pace. By slowing down and stepping up every two steps, you will work your muscles with more emphasis. Stretching your leg out farther is similar to doing a lunge exercise on the ground. The difference is, you are performing it at an inclined angle so your muscles have to work harder.
Plyometrics involve a slow lengthening of a muscle, followed by a fast, explosive movement. This type of training is at the cornerstone of workouts to improve vertical jump. For stair runs, you have multiple plyometric exercises to choose from. For example, instead of running up the stairs normally, hop up them. Include variations like hops on two feet, hops on every other step, single-foot hops and hopping as many steps as possible with each jump.

Tire Dragging Exercises

You can use a tire for a variety of workouts. You can flip it to develop leg, back and arm strength or hit it repeatedly with a sledgehammer to improve cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance. Alternatively, you can attach a towing strap to it and drag it like you would drag a much more expensive strength training sled. The possibilities are almost endless.
Select a tire based on your current level of strength. Though you won’t be lifting the tire, it still needs to be heavy enough to challenge you. Wrap a short chain around the tire and then attach a webbing strap to the chain. While you could just loop the webbing strap under the tire, the strap will soon wear out as you drag the tire along the ground. You may either hold the strap in your hands or fix it to a strong waist belt. Drag your tire on gravel or grass for an easy workout or on concrete or uphill for a more demanding workout. To make your tire heavier, place a wooden board inside and weigh it down with weight plates, rocks or sandbags.
Dragging a tire while facing forward is an effective way to overload your butt and also your hamstrings. This is a useful exercise for runners, sprinters, football players and cross country skiers. You may walk for a low-impact workout or sprint for a high- intensity, high-impact workout. Use a waist strap to place the majority of the workload on your legs or a chest strap to also challenge your core muscles. Walk for distance, time or a predetermined number of steps.
Walking backward while dragging a tire works your quadriceps — the muscles located on the front of your thighs. While you could perform squats to work these muscles, some exercisers find squats hard on their knees. Walking backwards while dragging a tire is an effective alternative to squats. Do not run backwards as you may trip. Instead, take large, powerful strides and try to keep your body upright. Look behind you occasionally to make sure you won’t trip on anything. Walk for distance, time or a predetermined number of steps.
Tennis players, hockey players, football players and soccer players all need to be able to move sideways quickly, whether to intercept, dodge an opponent or make an important block. Dragging a tire sideways is an effective way to overload the muscles required for fast and powerful lateral movements. Simply stand sideways to your tire, grab the strap and walk sideways for the desired distance or number of steps. On completion, swap sides and repeat.
If you drag your tire in public areas, be aware of other road users to prevent accidents. Tire dragging is an intense workout so do not do too much too soon and always warm up thoroughly before your workout. If you are new to exercise or have been sedentary or unwell lately, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

How to Build Cardio Stamina When You Have Asthma

Exercise benefits everyone but can be particularly valuable for people with asthma. A May 2015 “BMC Pulmonary Medicine” research article noted that a 12-month, moderate-intensity exercise program can improve cardio stamina and quality of life in people with asthma. While exercise can sometimes trigger asthma symptoms, this can be managed and is not a reason to avoid exercise. In fact, many elite professional and amateur athletes have asthma. With good asthma control and proper training, building cardio stamina is a healthy and attainable goal.
Building cardio stamina is typically easiest when exercising in moderate temperatures, as this limits airway constriction. If exercising in the cold, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) recommends wearing a mask over the mouth to help warm the inhaled air. For people who experience a temporary increase in asthma symptoms with exercise, use of a quick-relief inhaler before exercising is typically recommended. ATS also notes there is moderate evidence suggesting that a low salt diet and supplemental vitamin C might help reduce exercise-induced asthma symptoms. Keeping exercise-related symptoms under control is a key factor in a consistent training program to improve cardio stamina.
Building cardio stamina requires moderate to vigorous exercise. A proper warm-up before beginning your workout can help you get through it without being sidelined by asthma symptoms. While it may seem odd, a bit of airway constriction during your warm-up can prevent additional airway spasms during your workout. This phenomenon is known as a refractory period. A March 2012 “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” article reported that 40 to 50 percent of people who experienced airway spasms during warm-up experienced a 1 to 4 hour refractory period. This period can enable you to perform cardio exercise and build stamina with less chance of additional asthma symptoms. The authors of the article noted that including some high-intensity exercise during a warm-up is most likely to induce a refractory period and maximize its effects.
Once a warm-up is performed and any symptoms have subsided, a person with asthma can participate in any form of cardio exercise that has been approved by his or her doctor. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), cardio exercises should be performed while keeping the heart rate at 50 to 65 percent of maximum heart rate for beginners, and 60 to 75 percent for more seasoned exercisers. Maximum heart rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. Guidelines issued in 2011 by ACSM recommend performing 30 minutes of moderate cardio exercise 5 times per week for most adults. The exercise duration can be slowly increased as stamina improves, provided you are able to stay within your target heart rate zone.
Asthma does not normally preclude you from exercise. In fact, exercise is generally encouraged. But if you’re starting a new exercise regimen or are looking to intensify your workouts to build more cardio stamina, first talk with your asthma doctor. You want to be sure the regimen is safe for you. You also want to find out exactly what to do if you have a symptom flare-up. In some situations, your doctor might recommend a change in your asthma medications or dosages. If your asthma symptoms do not subside when the exercise is stopped or if they fail to respond to initial treatment, like a rescue inhaler, seek immediate medical attention.

How to Stop a Leak in a Football

Although most attention on football injuries is focused on the players, an injured ball can stop play just as fast ¡ª?it might stop play faster, since you can play with one less man, but not with one less ball. Fortunately, repairing a football is a relatively simple process, similar to fixing a bicycle tire, and should take less than an hour.
Inspect the ball visually. If the leak is from a rip or gash, rather than a small hole, your ball is likely beyond repair.
Fill the basin with water. Submerge the football in the basin and look for the stream of air bubbles. This is the location of your leak.
Note the location of the leak. Remove the ball from the water, dry it with a towel and circle the leak with your chalk .
Insert the syringe of your ball sealant into the air hole of the ball. Depress the plunger to squirt the contents inside.
Use your air pump to refill the ball with air.
Toss the ball from hand to hand for a few minutes to spread the sealant around.
Dunk the ball back in the basin and check for leaking air. If you still have a leak ¡ª and you probably won’t ¡ª add more ball sealant and try again.

What Should I Eat Before a Soccer Game?

If you are a recreational soccer player, you might arrive at a game after eating a large meal and find you’re too full to run well during a 90-minute outdoor contest or a 48-minute indoor one. You also might rush to the game without having eaten all day. It’s important to have sufficient glycogen in your muscles to sprint, jump and kick, rather than trying to run on either an empty fuel tank or a too-full stomach.
Sports nutrition texts, including ¡°Nutrition¡± by Stanford University professor Paul Insel, recommend that endurance sports athletes, such as soccer players, eat a diet consisting of 60 percent or more in carbohydrates. This provides fuel for leg muscles, especially the heavily used quadriceps. Good sources of carbs are rice, pasta, whole-grain bread, oatmeal, breakfast cereal and fresh or dried fruit, according to registered dietitian Diogo Ferreira, who collaborates with the Portuguese team Benfica. These foods have a low to moderate level of fiber, and help maintain stable blood sugar levels, he adds.
Allow three or ideally four hours to digest a meal before a soccer game or hard practice, write sports nutritionist Nancy Clark and Gloria Averbuch, marketing director for the Sky Blue pro women¡¯s team, in ¡°Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes from the Pros.¡± If kickoff is at 8 p.m., complete a substantial meal between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Have essentially a second lunch, such as a sandwich, a mug of soup or peanut butter on crackers. Allow two to three hours to digest a smaller meal, one to two hours for a blended or liquid meal and less than an hour for a small snack.
Add protein to your diet, consuming lean meats such as chicken and turkey at lunchtime on game days, dietitian Ferreira recommends. Add low-fat milk, yogurt or a fruit shake for additional protein and calcium. Many female soccer players need to take iron, as French international player Sonia Bompastor of the Washington Freedom states in ¡°Food Guide for Soccer.¡±
Avoid fatty foods, such as fried eggs, hamburgers, french fries and sausage before a game, since these can upset your stomach. The one exception could be peanut butter, which you may be able to tolerate far better than other foods with fat, especially if you spread it on a slice of whole-grain bread, nutritionist Ferreira writes.
Sports nutritionist Clark advocates getting your pre-game nourishment from ¡°real¡± foods, as opposed to gels, power bars, protein drinks, sports drinks and powders. She and marketing director Averbuch advocate assembling a good diet from whole foods in their original form.
If you want to eat what the pros eat, ¡°Food Guide for Soccer¡± recommends 50 recipes from players in Women¡¯s Professional Soccer. These include Pasta with Chicken from all-time international caps leader Kristine Lilly, Avocado Salad from Brandi Chastain, Date Bars from Abby Wambach and Game Day Pancakes from Karina LeBlanc of Canada. Nicole Barnhart, the FC Gold Pride goalkeeper, has a well-balanced meal three to four hours before the game, and bananas or apples with peanut butter in the locker room before kickoff.