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How to Deflate a Sports Ball

Improperly inflated sports balls can prevent the ball from acting normally during a game. Over-inflation causes basketballs to bounce too much, making dribbling and shooting more difficult. Over-inflated footballs become lopsided which, in turn, changes the ball’s normal trajectory when thrown. The potential of the ball bursting during play also increases. Fortunately, you can remedy over-inflation of any sports ball with a hand-held air pump needle. Remove as much or as little air as necessary for your purposes.

Over-inflated sports balls become lopsided and can potentially burst.

Instructions

  1. Remove the needle from a hand-held air pump. Unscrew the needle by twisting to the left. Grab the needle by the base during the removal process. The needle is fragile and likely to break under moderate pressure.
  2. Apply grease or an oil-based lubricant to the needle. This allows the needle to slide into the sports ball with minimal effort. This also reduces the chance of the needle breaking inside the sports ball.
  3. Slowly insert the needle into the sports ball. Stop when you hear a hissing sound, which indicates the release of air. Squeeze the ball to aid the deflation process.
  4. Remove the needle when when the proper air pressure is reached. It may take a few minutes for the sports ball, depending on size and inflation, to completely deflate.

10 Reason You Must to Start Swimming Now

Speed up the process to that summer tan and bikini body by jumping into the pool. Yes, the treadmill is fun, and so are those dumbbells, but they only offer a portion of what a swim workout does. From toning your core to speeding up your metabolism, there are several reasons why you should consider swimming your new go-to. Grab a suit and find out the 10 reasons why you should start swimming!

  1. It’s a total-body workout. Swimming tackles everything from sculpting your back to toning your arms—all without having to pick up a weight. Rather than needing a plan to work specific muscles, all four strokes work to strengthen your entire body.

2. It’s joint-friendly. If you’re recovering from an injury and are eager to build strength, then look into starting a swimming routine to stay fit. If running is your passion, then swimming is a great way to work out on recovery days, allowing knees a rest from the pavement.

3. It’s muscle-lengthening. If you’re worried about bulking up (which you shouldn’t be), then consider swimming. Swimming combines resistance training with cardio, building lean muscle and boosting your metabolism. It also puts your body through a range of movements, helping your muscles stay long and flexible.

4. It’s helpful with exercise-induced asthma. Many swimmers first jump into the pool to relieve exercise-induced asthma. This is because swimming allows you to work out in moist air, reducing asthma symptoms. Because swimming requires some breath control, it also improves your overall lung and breathing capacity.

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5. It doesn’t require fancy equipment. That’s right; you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to swim. All you need is a swimsuit, cap, and goggles. Even if you do decide to add more equipment (e.g. a kickboard), they are rather inexpensive, and chances are your local pool has a few handy.

6. It’s a great way to burn calories. Those myths about swimmers and calorie intake aren’t false. That’s because one hour of moderate swimming can burn around 500 calories. This revs up your metabolism, continuing the burn well after you’ve stepped off the deck.

7. There are several variations. The workouts are endless when it comes to the pool. Beyond all four strokes, you can kick, pull, or even use the wall for push-ups! Grab a friend and try this interval workout.

8. It’s optimal for cross-training. Avoid elliptical burnout and a gym-class rut by trading gym workouts for the pool. A swim workout will actually improve overall performance at the gym (and vice versa!) When you’re training for a marathon or any other competition, jumping in the pool can offer you an extra edge over your competitors.

9. It maximizes your cardio. Swimming is the ultimate aerobic activity. There is more breath control compared to running, thus an increased demand for oxygen, causing your muscles to work harder. Because of this, you can get more bang for you buck in a short amount of time.

10. It’s refreshing. Jumping into a pool is refreshing! You don’t need to be a professional swimmer to reap the benefits. Have fun with it, and enjoy being in the water. If anything, you’ll walk away with a nice tan and an endorphin kick!

How to Breathe During Bikram Yoga

Yoga is often about breath, more than movement. Many new practitioners of Bikram and other types of yoga must learn how to properly breathe as their practice develops. Follow these steps to get it right.

Use the Two Methods of Breath for Bikram Yoga

  1. Study the two types of breath used during Bikram yoga: the 80-20 breath and the exhalation breath. Each is used during different poses and achieves different results within the body.
  2. Begin with the 80-20 breath. Take a deep breath. Lift your ribs. Engage and stretch your abdominal muscles, and then hold the breath as though you were about to go underwater. As you hold the posture, breathe normally, keeping your lungs 80 percent full. Exhale only the upper 20 percent of the breath and inhale into that upper 20 percent.
  3. Use the 80-20 breath for standing poses and back-bending poses. This breath builds energy and balance within each pose.
  4. Release air on an exhalation to move deeper into poses. The exhalation breath is as simple as it sounds. Once you move fully into the pose, breathing returns to normal.
  5. Apply the exhalation breath during forward-bending poses. It protects the lower back from strain, relaxes the body, assists in proper rotation of the pelvis over the thighs and compresses the digestive organs to aid in digestion.
  6. Train the organs of respiration to function properly. By utilizing the two breathing methods, you teach your abdominals to tone and stretch while you stand, which facilitates your posture.

Study the Importance of Breath in Yoga

  1. Go within. By focusing on your breathing, you disengage from the external world. Thoughts of work, family and obligation diminish, allowing you to connect with your true, inner self.
  2. Connect breath and movement. This mindfulness can help you move into and out of yoga postures in a safe, attentive way.
  3. Allow your breath to cleanse you. Deep breathing is more cleansing than our normal shallow breathing. Note how yoga breathing mimics the breathing of infants and young children while they sleep.
  4. Bring fresh, oxygenated blood into the body. Freshly oxygenated blood stems from healthy breathing patterns, allowing beneficial nutrients to enter the bloodstream.

Fitness Motivation for Firemen  

Sports marketing can be accomplished through many different techniques and tactics. A few of my favorite marketing techniques are apparel and video commercials. Nothing gets me more fired up than a television commercial that has awesome music playing in the background and an athlete running, lifting, pouring sweat, and working hard to achieve his goal. There is something about that intense workout visual that makes me want to head to the gym.
As a future firefighter, I know that my success in the field depends upon an elite level of physical fitness. Yet, many firemen, especially volunteer firemen, are often out of shape and overweight. By utilizing a sports marketing tactic, I believe I could influence those firemen who lack the motivation to workout. For example, imagine a video of a firefighter lifting weights in the gym and running outside with the sunrise in the distance, then quickly cut to a video of the same firefighter in full uniform as he runs into a building engulfed in flames, lifts up a rafter that fell on a young child, and carry’s the child to safety on his shoulders. This image of a strong, fit firefighter could stimulate the feeling of wanting to become more fit.
Consider taking a page from the sports marketing playbook if your program needs to improve its image or performance. Creating videos to market strength, fitness, and ‘saving the day” are cheap, effective methods for improving firefighting performance!

How to Run With a Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is a well-muscled, energetic dog that has prolific power and stamina. It is capable of running long distances, and because of this the breed is ideal as a jogging companion, according to the Dog Breed Info Center. The breed’s short coat also helps to prevent the dog from overheating as easily when running. If you want extra motivation to keep fit by having your dog run with you, there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration to ensure that you are prepared.

The Doberman Pinscher is an active dog that enjoys running.

Instructions

  1. Take your Doberman to see your veterinarian for an overall checkup to ensure that the dog is in good health before you begin taking it jogging on a regular basis.
  2. Pack two bottles of water in a backpack for you and your Doberman when you are getting ready to go jogging. How much water you need depends on how far you intend to run.
  3. Begin by walking your Doberman to allow it to warm up and to practice leadership with your dog. Walk slightly in front of your dog to encourage it to see you as its leader rather than its follower. Give a quick, sideways tug on the leash if your Doberman attempts to pull you or walk in front. Practice leadership while walking to prevent your dog from becoming dominant and developing behavioral problems, such as aggression.
  4. Jog with your dog by your side, only after 10 minutes of walking. When introducing your Doberman to jogging with you for the first time, jog for a short distance and then slow to a walking pace. As your Doberman’s fitness increases, gradually lengthen your time spent jogging.
  5. Watch your dog for signs of discomfort while jogging, such as limping or appearing tired. Look for signs of overheating, such as excessive salivation and panting, red gums or weakness. Stop running immediately if your Doberman is struggling, ideally in a shaded area, and give it water.

Careers in Personal Fitness

Every year thousands of people get back in shape and conduct physical workouts. After all, “getting back into shape” is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. A lot of individuals hire personal trainers or fitness experts to assist in a routine or nutrition plan. If you have outstanding people skills, enjoy staying active, and know a lot about a healthy body, than a career in personal fitness may be for you.

Careers in Personal Fitness

Personal Trainer

  • Personal trainers assist individuals in workouts both with weights and with cardio activities such as running. Personal trainers focus on the needs and desires of the individual and assist them in “getting back into shape.”

Athletic Trainer

  • Athletic trainers differ from personal trainers in that they usually work with a team or program. Athletic trainers are not only knowledgeable in personal fitness, but they also treat athletic injuries.

Recreation Coordinator

  • Recreation coordinators are hired by recreation centers and departments to design and coordinator physical activities. Every year they hold leagues, tournaments and one-day events to promote personal fitness.

Nutritionist

  • Nutritionists work with individuals to improve on eating habits and help people go on diets. Nutritionists understand the food pyramid really well, and know how much and what type of ingredients to eat.

Professional Weightlifter

  • Professional weightlifters are the people you see on TV with cartoon-like biceps. They constantly work out with weights, attend shows and promote personal fitness at schools and events.

How to Teach a Dog to Get in the Pool

Before jumping in, know that getting your dog in the pool takes patience. It may take days or weeks to accomplish. Don’t force your dog to get in a pool and never resort to simply tossing him in. Stay positive, and let your dog set the pace.

Starting with a Kiddie Pool

Start small by setting up a kiddie pool, sans water. Get in the pool and encourage your dog to come in with you. If she’s distracted or hesitant, attach a leash to her collar and gently walk her into the pool. Say “Let’s swim” or a similar command, and issue it consistently whenever you want your dog to get in the pool. Praise and treat your dog for getting in to create a positive association. When you want your dog to exit the pool, say “All done” or another command of your choosing. Just be sure to use the same command every time so your dog associates the words with the action.

Fill the pool with an inch or two of water and repeat. When your dog is in the pool, toss a few floating treats or a toy into the water and let your dog go after them.

Add another inch or two to the water and again offer treats. Help your dog become accustomed to turning right, left and in a complete circle by leading him with treats and the leash. You want him to be comfortable with changing directions while swimming so that when he’s in a big pool, he can maneuver to the steps or ramp when he’s ready to exit.

Continue to have play sessions in the kiddie pool, adding an inch or two more water each time until you reach the point where the pool is full.

Moving Up to the Big Pool

When your dog is comfortable and happy playing in the kiddie pool, it’s time to graduate to the big pool.

Start by encouraging your dog to take a few steps toward the pool. Reward each step with an irresistible treat and lots of praise. Sit at the pool’s edge and dangle your feet in the water. Encourage your dog to come beside you.

With your dog on-leash, get in the pool and stand on the first step or near the top of the ramp. Encourage your dog to take a step or two into the water. Give the same entry command that you used in your kiddie pool training. You may tug gently on the leash or place your dog’s front paws in the water on the first step, but allow the dog to maintain control over how far he goes. Treat and praise him when he makes contact with the water and with each subsequent step.

Venture a foot or two from the entry point and show your dog how to get out. Once your dog immerses herself in the water, turn around and show her how to use the steps or ramp to get out. Help her turn with the leash or by holding her life jacket, and lead her to the steps or ramp.

In the coming days, continue to practice getting in and out of the pool, and encourage your dog to venture a little farther from the steps or ramp each time. Practice finding the exit from different points in the pool. Limit training sessions to five minutes, and allow your dog to rest, go potty and get a drink of water between sessions.

5 Tips to Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions  

New Year resolutions are quickly forgotten when the calendar turns to February.  Promises to go to the gym, lose weight and get fit fade as the holiday excitement comes to an end. Why do people give up on their fitness resolutions?   Perhaps it is because the exercise routine has become boring or the results are not seen as quickly as one had hoped.  Whatever the reasons for giving up on those New Year promises, here are 5 Tips for making fitness fun and interesting so that those New Year wishes can come true.
1. Keep it Fresh! Try new exercises, hire a Personal Trainer, or take your training outside for a change of scenery. Changing things up or consulting a Personal Trainer can keep the results coming.
2. Partner Up! Get a friend to join you in your fitness quest. Having a close friend or relative as a workout partner can help keep you on track and hold you accountable.
3. Make it Fun! Don’t be too serious. Take it easy and just try to enjoy your exercising instead of thinking of it as a chore.
4. Set small realistic goals. Setting goals allows you to see your progress. Make your goals small and keep moving forward to the next goal until finally you accomplish your BIG goal.
5. Reward Yourself! If you accomplish smaller goals, it is ok to reward yourself with something you have been wanting.
These 5 tips can help you keep those New Year fitness resolutions. Keep moving forward and you will achieve your goals.

Importance of Fitness in Our Nation’s First Responders

Imagine this scenario:   Firefighters are enjoying a calm evening around the fire station and then suddenly they get a call for a structure fire.  The firefighters are expected to work at high aerobic capacities for at least the next hour in order to extinguish this fire.  The question is: Are the firefighters healthy enough to complete the task and survive?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that there are approximately 1.1 million active volunteer and career firefighters in the United States of America.  The vast majority of these firefighters are volunteers that serve rural communities with populations less that 25,000 people. The majority of career firefighters in the United States are required to pass some kind of physical fitness assessment, however volunteer fire departments around the country do not put an emphasis on physical fitness for their firefighters.

Contrary to common beliefs, the majority of on-duty firefighting deaths are not due to the actual fire the firefighters are trying to control, but instead due to underlying cardiovascular disease.  Approximately 45% of on-duty deaths are due to cardiac events, which occur mostly during fire suppression, training and alarm response (FEMA).  In order to help prevent this alarming trend, the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH) has repeatedly suggested the need for annual ‘fitness for duty’ medical evaluations and the need for mandatory cardiovascular fitness and wellness programs for firefighters.

With these alarming statistics regarding the deaths and poor cardiovascular health of firefighters, it is crucial to inform this occupational cohort of the dangers of an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle.  In order to prevent future deaths of our nation’s first responders, we should take the advice of NIOSH and implement mandatory fitness and wellness programs for firefighters.

Sources:

Firefighter Fatalities Statistics and Reports’, 2013) <http://apps.usfa.fema.gov/firefighter-fatalities/fatalityData/statistics

  1. Kunadharaju, T. D. Smith, and D. M. DeJoy, ‘Line-of-Duty Deaths among U.S. Firefighters: An Analysis of Fatality Investigations’, Accid Anal Prev, 43 (2011), 1171-80.

How to Use Yoga and Pranayama to Lose Weight Quickly

People often try to reduce weight through yoga but give up eventually when they realize that the process of reducing weight through Yoga is very slow. However, yoga and pranayama can be modified with several levels, just like jogging, strength training and intense running or weight training. Together, they can facilitate a faster weight loss.

Use Yoga and Pranayama to Lose Weight Quickly

Instructions

  1. Start with pranayama. Download the Divya Yog pranayama by Swami Ramdev or any other yoga and pranayama video. Learn how to proceed with the pranayama. Just have a trial and get accustomed to the video.
  2. Adopt a good diet plan which preferably has vegetables and fruits only.
  3. Learn the pranayamas so that you can do them as needed without referencing the video. There are 7 basic pranayamas or breathing exercises you must do before you start your yoga. According to their suitability for you, you can skip two or three. But do not skip the Bhastrika pranayama, Kapalbhati pranayama, and the Alom Vilom pranayama. These three are the keys to reducing weight. Practicing these three breathing exercises for 1 hour each day will result in the loss of as much as 25 pounds in a month.
  4. Practice the Kapalbhati pranayama for 10 minutes properly. Then move on to Bhastrika pranayama and repeat the exercise 12 or 15 times. Finally, practice the Alom Vilom pranayama whenever you want. You can do it when you are sitting idle or before going to sleep. Alom Vilom pranayama is also an excellent energizer. If you are stressed and have lot of work ahead then you can do Alom Vilom pranayama for 10 minutes and you will be back in form, as if you have just woken up fresh from 12 hours of sleep.
  5. After the breathing exercises select 5 basic yoga postures which you like. The yoga postures should be selected in such a way that you should be able to do it with a little effort and practice. Don’t select yoga postures that are too tough.
  6. Check your progress weekly. You will be surprised to see how much progress you are making.

How to Use a Tired Swimmer Carry

n another posting, “How to Rescue Someone Drowning” I described “Reach, Throw, Row and Go,” the steps that you should take, in their order, to save a drowning victim. Use the same procedures for a tired swimmer, but let’s assume that you’re now in the water. Let me make the distinction clear: a drowning person is usually in full panick mode. You want to keep your distance. A tired swimmer just needs help. This problem might arise if you’re simply out frolicking in the surf with a friend who wearies.

Use a Tired Swimmer Carry

Instructions

  1. As you approach a tired swimmer ask what is wrong. Offer to swim with the victim. This is the easiest and simplest method. Sometimes, just being next to tired swimmer and offering reassuring words can encourage him to calm down and make it to shore. If the swimmer describes being taken out to sea by a rip current, you can’t swim back the same way. Rip currents are shaped by shore bottom conditions. Swim parallel to shore until the current dissipates, then swim back in together.
  2. If the swimmer is rational, and handling the water conditions but simply needs additional propulsion, put her into a tired swimmer carry. Face the victim while treading water. Tell her to place her hands on your shoulders, keeping her arms extended while leaning back and spreading her legs. As soon as she’s leaned on you, start swimming a heads up breast stroke to shore. Be careful not to kick too wide since you are swimming between her legs.
  3. If you go after the swimmer from shore, carry a floatation device with you if possible. It can be sometime as simple as an inflatable toy. If you reach the victim with something that floats, you can offer it to him. Rather than tow him in you can tell him to grab the device, get onto his back and start kicking with either the elementary back stroke or scissors kick. You can then guide the victim by swimming next to him, with your hand on his bicep.
  4. Occasionally a tired swimmer will start to panic and devolve into a potential drowning victim. If the swimmer starts to irrationally clamber on top of you, your first priority is to break free. If he grabs your wrists with his hands, you can apply pressure against his thumbs, by twisting against it, leveraging against the inside of the forearm. If you can’t talk the victim calm, you might have to put him into a carry.
  5. Use a cross chest carry as a last resort. If the victim is facing you, surface dive, grab each of her legs and spin her around. Work your way up her back. With your right arm, reach over her right shoulder and snug the victim to your hip. Immediately start doing the side stroke to shore. If the victim tries to roll out, keep kicking, but grab one arm with the other to lock her in. When her struggles cease, resume the sidestroke with the victim on your hip.

How to Make Sport Centerpieces

For sports-themed parties, banquets and big game celebrations, a sports centerpiece can add a spirited touch of decor. They are easy to make, and fairly inexpensive.

Baseball centerpiece with balloons

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle confetti on the table or buffet. This works best if you place a plastic table cover first, and makes cleanup easier. Choose confetti in the team’s colors, or, if it’s available, buy confetti that is shaped liked sports balls. This is optional, but makes the centerpiece stand out more.
  2. Find balls of different sizes. You can use regulation-size balls, miniature party favors or toys shaped like sports balls. The balls can also serve as party favors. Arrange them in the center of the table.
  3. Fill team-colored balloons with helium. Attach each balloon to a piece of string or ribbon. If you want everything to look very coordinated, choose string or ribbon in the team’s colors.
  4. Attach one or two balloons to each sports ball. You could try tying them around the balls, but it is easiest to tape them down with good-quality Scotch tape. Make sure that you tape the balloons onto the underside of the balls so that the tape is hidden.
  5. Alternatively, if you only have one ball, tie a bunch of balloons together. Tape the bunch of balloons to the underside of the ball. This works best for footballs, basketballs, soccer balls and other large sports balls. If you have only one smaller ball, such as a baseball, tape the bunch of balloons to the table and place the ball on top of where you place the tape.

How to Make an Aromatherapy Eye Pillow

An aromatherapy eye pillow is perfect for blocking out sunlight and adding a gentle weight to the eyes during relaxation. The pressure of the pillow can work in relaxing both the face and eye muscles, which can reduce headaches and tension. Adding an aromatherapy scent to the eye pillow can increase relaxation and rejuvenation. Easy to make, these pillows are a great gift idea; allow the recipient to relax in her home as she would in a spa.

Aromatherapy Eye Pillow

Instructions

  1. Choose a soft cotton fabric, or soft faux fur to make your aromatherapy eye pillow.
  2. Cut the fabric into a 12 inch wide rectangle, with the width being at least 3 inches. You can either make the eye pillow a simple rectangle, or you can cut 2 half-circles into one side of the length for room over the nose. Next, place the outside of the fabric so that it is facing each other, with the wrong side facing towards you. Sew a 1/2 inch seam around the two lengths and one width, so that there is one remaining width side open.
  3. Mix the flax seed or split peas with the dried lavender or sage. You can add about 3 drops of your favorite essential oil into the mixture, if desired.
  4. Fill the pillow with the mixture, and hand sew the last side to close.
  5. Squeeze the eye pillow once it has been sealed so that the scent can be distributed evenly. Then, place over the eyes and relax.

How to Open Your Heart Chakra With Yoga

Your endocrine system is a collection of glands that regulate numerous body functions. Things like growth, metabolism and sexual development are all affected by the endocrine system. Not all of yoga’s claims related to endocrine system health have been validated by scientific research, although some have. For example, in 2011, Washington State University found that practicing Iyengar yoga, an alignment-focused program, helped regulate cortisol secretion in breast cancer survivors.
Bow pose could stimulate the endocrine system while assisting with digestion.

Instructions

  1. Take deep breaths to reduce stress. Yoga classes can reduce cortisol and adrenaline in your body, making you feel less stressed. Breathing is one way to immediately calm your body. Most people normally take quite shallow, unfocused breaths. During yoga, sit or stand up straight. Exhale the air completely out of your body, then drop your shoulders away from your ears, lift your sternum and tuck your chin slightly to expand your airways. Inhale fully, counting to three or five slowly until it feels like you’ve filled your belly, lungs and throat with fresh air. Exhale just as slowly.
  2. Complete vigorous standing postures, such as warrior II and reverse warrior. High-impact poses stimulate the endocrine system by powering up the body for action. To initiate warrior II, step back with your left foot and bend your right knee to 90 degrees. Activate your abdominal muscles, drop your shoulders down and extend your right arm in front of you while extending your left arm behind your back. Breathe deeply for five counts, then flip your right palm upwards and drop your left hand down to your extended back leg. Draw your right arm overhead, pointing your chest toward the ceiling while sliding your left hand further down your leg, keeping a light touch, to complete reverse warrior. Switch to work your left side.
  3. Power up in unsupported backbends to affect your endocrine system, according to Yoga Journal. Begin bridge pose by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted on the floor. Rest your arms alongside your body on the mat, palms down. On an inhale, lift your hips high and bring your arms directly below your back, interlacing your fingers and pressing your forearms into the mat. To transition to wheel, release your hands, bringing your palms to rest on the ground near your ears with your fingers pointed toward your toes. Inhale, straightening your arms and legs while keeping your head in neutral position. Breathe deeply for five counts.
  4. Target your immunity by engaging your body in upward-lifting movements through the chest, according to “Women’s Health” magazine. To complete upward-facing dog, lie on your belly with your palms pressing into the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Inhale, straightening your arms and lifting your torso from the floor. Keep your legs pressing into the ground and your back engaged as you inhale to lift a bit higher. In bow pose, lie on your belly with your knees bent. Reach back for the insides of your feet with your hands. Inhale, lifting your chest as you kick into your hands with your feet. Keep your back and shoulders strong as you lift your chest higher.

3 tips for playing ground balls

While top lacrosse players are skilled passers and catchers and the ball stays in the air much of the game, at lower levels of youth lacrosse, you’ll see more ground balls. Teaching your kids how to play ground balls and practicing this skill can take your team from a contender to a consistent winner.

Play through ground balls

One of the first things to teach your players the footwork for ground balls. If they run to a ground ball and stop, they lose momentum and allow opponents to overtake them, block them out or steal the ball. Lacrosse players should use dynamic balance when playing ground balls, running to them and finding a speed they can use to multi-task when they get to the ball. This multi-tasking includes looking to see where opponents are, locating teammates and then playing the ball by picking it up or kicking or slapping it away from an opponent.

Roll balls to your players and have them practice running to the ball full speed, decelerating as they near the ball to prepare for their multi-tasking, then accelerating through a scoop and pickup. Once players are able to reach balls, control their body and pick balls up, have them practice quickly passing the ball to a teammate.

When players have found their footwork for playing ground balls, have them practice ground balls with an opponent chasing them from behind, coming towards them, and approaching them from each side (one at a time). Have them practice playing ground balls from the left and right sides of their bodies.

To impress upon young players how important dynamic balance is, have them practice running to a ball, stopping, and then picking it up and passing it. They will immediately see the difference this makes and how it limits their ability to play offensively.

Practice moving the ball

Players won’t always be able to pick up a ball when they reach it because an opponent is in hot pursuit or arrives at the same time. Teach your players how to “dribble” a ball with their foot to keep it away from an opponent and set up a better pickup or scoop location. Have your players practice using their feet and sticks to bump the ball away from an opponent and set to set up a better scoop location.

Work on boxing out opponents

There will be times when you must stop when you arrive at a ground ball to deal with an opponent who also wants the ball. Johns Hopkins University long-stick midfielder Mike Pellegrino demonstrates how to box out opponents, then kicking or sticking the ball to a better position for a pickup and pass.

7 Reasons You Should Start Doing Yoga Immediately

If you think yoga might not be for you, I urge you to reconsider. Here are seven of my top reasons why you should start doing yoga as soon as you can.

1. It’s a great workout.

First of all and most obviously, yoga is a fantastic workout for your body. You can adapt the practices to your own speed and level of comfort. No matter which yoga exercises you choose, the practices will always be part of a great workout routine. There are some fantastic series of movements out there that are perfect for every kind of day and for every kind of person, meaning there’s no reason not to start doing some yoga as soon as you can.

2. It gets you in touch with your body.

Yoga stretches and exercises are designed around the idea of moving your body to increase its strength and durability. Therefore, doing yoga on a regular basis will really get you to be much more in tune with your body and know when something is really working and when it isn’t.

Of course, this isn’t always a good thing, as it can be discouraging when certain exercises aren’t working for your body the way they were the day before; however, it does have its benefits, and it makes improvements in your physical state that are much more pronounced and noticeable.

3. It can help your breathing technique.

A big part of yoga is the breathing exercises–or the pranayama–which are incorporated into positions and then on their own. The exercises encourage a more focused and centered way of breathing, and while they might not be something you’ll do consciously every day, they’re absolutely sure to provide methods of effective stress-management and generally make you feel much better.

Plus, as someone with asthma, it really helps to open your lungs and explore what it means to breath consciously. Trust me: do those pranayamas for a few weeks, and you’ll feel the benefits.

4. It can improve your sleep.

Another minor but pleasant benefit is that doing yoga can actually help you get better sleep. This might be due to the fact that a few sequences of poses and movements are intended to be done right before sleep, but regardless, studies have shown that doing some light physical activity before our heads hit the hay can help us get off to sleep more quickly, which usually leads to a much better quality of sleep.

It also might be due to the fact that if you have problems getting to sleep, working on problem-areas through yoga can help alleviate pain symptoms and increase the likelihood of better sleep. Another possibility is that most yoga sessions have a cool-down sequence at the end, which can definitely induce some easy slumber. As someone who’s fallen asleep in class many a time–to the point where my mat neighbor and I have a buddy system in case one of us starts snoring–believe me, this really works and should be done at home.

5. It will improve your posture.

Yoga is pretty effective at helping you develop some premium, proper posture, since a lot of the breathing and seated positions require a straight back for proper effect. Good posture is definitely going to develop during yoga practice.

You’ll start off slouching and slumped, reflecting the figure of someone who spends most of the day at their desk–believe me, I’ve been there–and yoga will help sculpt your back into the kind of poised posture that’ll make you walk taller and feel immensely better about it.

6. It can develop your physical and mental strength.

Another side effect of yoga is that it will help you develop some truly incredible mental and physical strength. The whole point of yoga is to work on your body’s strength so that you can sit for longer in meditation, and the physical investment in the stretches and positions ensures that you’ll experience plenty of physical strength benefits as a result.

The breathing exercises can improve your lung capacity, and lunges and stretches can increase your core strength as well as every muscle you can think of; meanwhile, the exercises force you to focus on the moment, and during meditation, to clear your mind, which helps alleviate stress and improve your mental health.

7. Meditation can change your life for the better.

Meditation, meditation, meditation. It’s really the key to all things yoga. Even if you can do every kind of complicated pose under the sun, it loses all of its true meaning if it’s not done with focus and thought. Meditation has been shown time and time again to be a beneficial practice that everyone should implement into their daily routine.

Meditation isn’t necessarily sitting with a bowl of incense and working your way through a book of Tibetan chants in a darkened, candlelit room–rather, you can meditate anywhere quiet and at absolutely any time you like. All it takes is five minutes with some alone time and peace and quiet. Meditation improves your quality of life by allowing your mind some time to process everything that goes on in your life. It’s a hugely important and integral part of yoga practice and something that can really change your life, allowing you to embrace calmness and serenity with ease.

How to Jog to Lose Weight

Exercise is important for health and wellness as well as for losing weight. Running or jogging is one of the simplest and most effective workouts for weight loss, as it involves the whole body, with particular focus on the large muscles of the legs. When you’re jogging to lose weight, a little bit of effort goes a long way, and you can easily build up to a steady exercise regimen.

Jogging regularly is an effective way to lose weight.

Instructions

  1. Evaluate your physical condition and determine whether you’d be better off walking at first. Beginners, particularly those who are extremely overweight, should use caution when starting an exercise regimen. If you’re only slightly overweight and in good shape otherwise, jogging to lose weight may work well for you.
  2. Set a weight-loss goal. To lose 1 lb. per week, you need to burn 500 more calories each day than you consume. You can do this through exercise alone or through diet and exercise. Try reducing your caloric intake by 250 calories a day and burning at least 250 through exercise.
  3. Learn how many calories you burn per minute of exercise. Joggers who weigh 127 to 137 lbs. burn 9.2 calories a minute, and 160- to 170-lb. joggers burn 11.5 calories a minute. If you weigh in between 180 and 200 lbs. you’ll burn 12.7 calories a minute when jogging. Using 150 lbs. and 10 calories per minute as an average, simply add a zero to the number of minutes spent jogging and you’ll have an estimate of calories burned; 250 for 25 minutes, 300 for 30 minutes.
  4. Create a jogging schedule to follow throughout the week, varying your exercise routine for best results. Try jogging 15 minutes at a higher speed one day and 35 minutes at a slower pace the next. A few moderate 30-minute jog days in the mix will round out your schedule.
  5. Buy good running shoes and hit the road. Map out a few routes, and start slowly if you need to, working up to a faster pace.

How to Inspect A Swimming Pool

Learn to confidently inspect swimming pools to determine their condition. Great article for home owners, appraisers and real estate agents. How to identify possible concerns and required repairs for any swimming pool.

Inspect A Swimming Pool

Instructions

  1. If you are looking at buying a new home with a swimming pool, or if you just want to give your swimming pool a check up, use this guide to help you understand the condition of your pool – and more importantly avoid potentially hidden problems.

    There are many different aspects of your swimming pool area that need to be checked so let’s just jump right in. The following items will be inspected as part of your visual / interactive swimming pool condition diagnosis.

    1) What type of swimming pool is it?
    2) What is the general condition of the swimming pool area?
    3) Swimming pool interior surface
    4) Swimming pool coping
    5) Mechanical room / pump, filter, heater
    6) Plumbing / skimmer / returns
    7) Conclusions

    This information is designed to allow you to confidently identify different types of swimming pools and potential problems that may exist. The guide is written in such a way that any if you are able to detect any of the following deficiencies, then you can assume that the swimming pool will require professional inspection / repair. Since swimming pool repair can be very expensive, this will allow you to identify pools that may likely be problematic so you can avoid a hidden repair charge.

    There are four main types of swimming pools that you may encounter which are in ground vinyl liner, in ground gunite plaster, above ground pools and fiberglass pools. For the purposes of this article we will look at vinyl liner and concrete gunite pools since these represent the high end sector of the swimming pool market – which can translate to being the most expensive to repair.

  2. What type of swimming pool is it?

    The first indication of the type of swimming pool that you are dealing with is the interior surface of the pool. Gunite and plaster swimming pools are pools with a smooth concrete finish which provides the waterproof barrier. Vinyl liner pools have a huge, stretchable vinyl liner covering the interior surface. A quick visual inspection will tell you which type of pool that you have.

    What is the general condition of the swimming pool area?

    If this is your first visit to the pool and you want to get a feel for the overall condition of the pool, the surrounding environment will provide lot’s of clues. A pristine, clean and organized pool area will indicate that this pool has been maintained by someone with experience or passion for the joys of swimming pools. This is very good. If the concrete is stained, cracked and broken with decay, or the diving board is green with moss from neglect, you can be sure that this swimming pool was not maintained properly. Something as small as maintaining the pool chemistry will have a huge impact on the longevity of the interior finish of the pool whether it be vinyl liner or plaster. A pool that you suspect that been neglected will almost certainly require more costly repairs sooner than a pool that has been maintained.

  3. Swimming Pool Interior Finish

    Let’s take a look at the most delicate and important area of your swimming pool – the interior finish:

    Vinyl Liner – the interior finish of an in ground vinyl liner swimming pool will be a 30mm thickness vinyl liner with a colored print on the bottom, and usually a tile band pattern around the top to hide “scum lines” from the water level.

    Vinyl liners can be difficult to age since they wear differently based on direct sunlight, water temperature and water chemistry. Inspect the corners of the pool as these will reveal the age of the liner somewhat. As a liner ages, it shrinks and becomes brittle. If the liner is sun bleached and stretched tight in the corners, then it is older than 10 years old and you can assume it will need a major renovation sooner than later. If the vinyl liner still displays crisp colors and is soft and supple to the touch, it is likely less than 5 years old and should come complete with documentation and perhaps a warranty from the recent renovation.

    If you encounter a vinyl liner pool with more than one patch in the liner, bulges or divots in the floors or walls, duct tape anywhere or any other abnormalities, you can be sure that this pool will require work sooner than later.

    Gunite Plaster Finish – the interior of gunite plaster pools is a specialty dense concrete application where the cement is finished to a glass like smooth appearance. This is a costly procedure that needs to be redone every 15-30 years depending on the quality of the job and the maintenance of the pool chemistry. As the plaster ages, it looses the top layer of cement and reveals the more coarse sand aggregate beneath the surface. This results in a sand paper like feeling and the water retentive properties of the plaster layer are lessened. If the plaster is rough to the touch, or the tile band around the top eight inches of the pool has evidence of tiles falling off, it would be reasonable to assume that this pool will require a major renovation soon.

    If any major cracks, or breaks are visible in the plaster finish, this is an indication that the plaster will need to be replaced soon. Cracks that can be seen but not felt are actually a normal occurrence with plaster finishing for swimming pools. These cracks resemble veins in the walls and floor of the pool that can only be faintly seen. If there are cracks clearly present that can be felt with your fingers, these are cracks that indicate age and disrepair. F

How to Set the Best Fitness Goals for Fat Loss

The most exciting journey you ever take won’t start at an airport and end up in an exotic location. No, it will begin on the day you commit to losing weight and keeping it off through fitness and a healthy lifestyle. A huge part of your success will be determined not only by the effort you put into your workouts, but the goals you set before you even slip on your sneakers.

Ready, Set, GOAL.

Make a Pact

  • Carve them in stone, jot them in a notebook or use a nifty online tool like My Fitness Pal and set your goals down. Think short-term, long-term and everything in between. Commit to a whole year.

    Whether you have 20 or 120 pounds of fat to lose, a year of giving your all to the dream of becoming leaner and healthier is not a lot to ask of yourself. Use the SMART template for goal setting. Choose Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-related goals.

    As your own personal trainer, you are accountable for your progress and your success; and as such, you must be your own greatest cheerleader and motivator as well.

Keep it Real

  • Be realistic when you sit down to figure out and record your fitness goals. Don’t schedule a 5K that’s taking place in two months until you know if you can get through a brisk 30-minute walk without collapsing on your couch afterwards. Fitness is a process.

    To make the process easier, choose activities you think you’ll enjoy; and if you find you don’t, swap them out for something more fun and appealing. Keep in mind the recommended amount of exercise is 30 minutes of cardio five to seven days a week and at least two 20-minute sessions of strength training per week. Mix up your workouts to target different muscle groups and keep things interesting.

Go with the Flow

  • The best fitness goals work with your lifestyle, not against it.

    Look at your weekly schedule on Sunday night. Factor in work, appointments, social commitments and chores. If you have a spouse, you’ll want him or her on board for this whole process. Explain that you’re committed to your goals and ask for support and patience. Be willing to change gears if something comes up or doesn’t feel right. You may relish the thought of waking up super early and getting in a yoga class or a run; but if your internal clock doesn’t roll that way, exercise later in the day when your body may feel stronger.

Room to Improve

  • Once you’re in the thick of it, exercising and committed, start thinking about adding to your goals.

    If the most you can do at the start of your year-long weight-loss process is walk around the block at a moderate pace for 20 minutes, that’s okay. Soon you’re going to notice that your stamina has improved. That’s when you kick it up a notch and increase the pace and amount of time you walk. Any exercise you choose will have room for improvement. If you’re lifting 5-pound dumbbells and can perform one set of 12 reps of any chosen upper-body exercise easily, it’s either time to increase the amount of weight you lift or the number of sets and reps. Fitness goals work best when they’re changing for the better.

How to Make Yoga Mat Spray

Buying a yoga mat cleaner can be time consuming since a lot of places don’t carry mat spray, or they’re charging a lot for it. Why not make your own personalized yoga mat cleanser with all natural ingredients? Use the steps below and the ingredients in Things You’ll Need to make your yoga mat spray.

Instructions

  1. Buy your ingredients. Remember that you’re only using a small amount of your essential oils, so those little, seemingly pricey bottles will be economical in the long run. Most health food stores have essential oils to purchase along with small guides about which ones are safe for the skin and/or which make good cleansers. (You won’t be spraying your mat cleaner onto your skin of course, but a small residue may touch your skin when you practice next.) Look in the travel size section of your drugstore or department store for spray bottles and witch hazel.
  2. Create your custom blend. Tea tree oil will be the main ingredient in your yoga mat cleaner after water and witch hazel, so when you experiment with your oils, be sure to put that in first. Scale down the drops so you don’t waste your essential oils while you are testing. For example, you could try 5 tea tree drops with 2 lavender and 2 peppermint.
  3. Pour your master blended yoga mat spray into your spray bottle. Remember that your blend should have started with the base of 1 cup water, 1/4 cup witch hazel, and 30 drops tea tree oil – followed by any mixture of up to 40 drops of other essential oils. Going heavy on the lavender usually comes out very pleasant.
  4. Use your yoga mat cleaner. You can spray onto your mat before or after your yoga class (but if you use it after, your mat will be fresh for each practice). Spray a thin layer onto your mat and wipe off with a dry or slightly dampened cloth or paper towel. If you have time to let your mat dry before you need it again, you can get your mat a little wetter and use a little more spray.

How to Play Wiffle Ball

Wiffle ball is the toned down family-fun version of the greatest American pastime: baseball. It is played with a plastic bat and what is referred to as a wiffle ball. The wiffle ball takes the place of the baseball and is made of white plastic. It is hollow and resembles Swiss cheese with holes to make it fly through the air slowly. Here’s how to play wiffle ball.

Instructions

  1. Divide the players into 2 equal teams. 9 players a team is the traditional standard, but it can be played effectively with far fewer.
  2. Decide which team will take the offensive first. The offensive team will be batting and running the bases, while the defensive team will be pitching and trying to tag the offense with the ball.
  3. Pitch the ball if you’re on defense. Pitching a wiffle ball will take some getting used to because of the way a wiffle ball moves through the air. Once the batter hits the wiffle ball, you’ll want to try to tag them with the ball to get an “out.” When you get 3 outs, switch to offense.
  4. Bat the ball pitched to you if you’re on offense. You want to advance around the bases without being tagged by the ball.
  5. Switch places every 3 outs. Play for 9 innings where an inning equates to each team being at bat once.
  6. Score by completing a lap around all 4 bases while on offense. This gives your team 1 point and is referred to as a “run.” The team with the most runs at the end of the game will be dubbed the winner.

How to Start a Unique Kids’ Fitness Center

Between smartphones, computers and video game systems, modern children are inundated with ways to entertain themselves through technology. Because of these changes in pastimes, physical activity is in decline and childhood obesity is on the rise. According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention study, the obesity rate in children has more than doubled in the past three decades.

Enticing kids to use your child-friendly gym can help pull them away from electronic games and into real-life ones.

Kids using a large ball to do exercises.

Research

  • To find a gym that connects with children in a unique and innovative way, you need to understand what kids are interested in and what they find fun. Spend time with kids to see what activities they enjoy, but don’t limit yourself to physical activities. Even non-active hobbies can lead to inspiration for the fitness center. Research other child-orientated fitness centers to see what the competition is doing so you don’t repeat their efforts.

Location Scouting

  • When searching for an appropriate venue for a kid friendly fitness center, choose a location where the lease — and landlord — allow you to paint the interior and exterior. Paint the outside of the gym in vibrant colors, such as primary colors, to make it stand out from the surrounding buildings and appeal to kids.

Licenses

  • Permit and licensing requirements vary from state to state, but your local chamber of commerce is a helpful resource for guiding you to the necessary paperwork and registrations. Generally, you need to obtain a business license, business insurance and apply for an Employer Identification Number.

    Since there are children in your facility you’ll also need to check the requirements for keeping children for over a certain amount of time, typically three hours. You may need to obtain some day care licenses and permits as a result.

Find a Theme

  • Finding a fresh angle for your child-orientated fitness center is the most important and most challenging aspect of launching the business. Use your research to determine what has been done and what appeals to the kids you are targeting.

    For example, if you find most children prefer to spend time playing video games, integrate this into your fitness center concept. Model your gym equipment and color scheme after a popular video game, such as Nintendo’s “Mario Brothers” series. You could use the classic mushrooms and blocks as obstacles within the gym for the kids to tackle. You could also create life-size game controllers for the kids to bounce and jump on.

Establish Classes

  • Classes are a popular and effective way to foster memberships in adult gyms, and can be equally effective in a kid orientated fitness center as well. Create classes that play off your gym’s theme.

    For example, with a video game theme, you could have a kick boxing and martial arts class that correlates with the “Mortal Kombat” game franchise. Interview martial arts trainers and ask if they would dress in costume as characters from the game for the classes. You could also have dance classes using popular game music, such as the “Mario Brothers” theme music, or classes that become large scale versions of the arcade game “Dance, Dance Revolution”.

Child Friendly Amenities

  • Most fitness centers offer amenities for the guests to enjoy. Recreate this with kid friendly options. A smoothie bar or fruit and frozen yogurt station is both appealing to kids and helps foster healthy eating habits. Use colorful, plastic cups and festive straws. Create study centers for kids to do homework before or after their workout by filling a room with desks and school supplies, such as computers, paper, pens and reference books. Establish a dance zone with speakers and a dance floor where kids can have dance parties with their friends.

How to Open Your Heart Chakra With Yoga

The nexus linking your material and spiritual energies, the Heart chakra lies in the center of the body, and the midpoint of the seven chakras or Kundalini energy centers. When the Heart chakra is blocked or closed, you are out of harmony, unbalanced. Shallow breathing, slow metabolism, depressed energy, increased tension and a tendency to withdraw from social contact are all signs that the chakra needs work, according to noted chakra therapist Anodea Judith. Yoga can help to unblock a closed heart.

Camel pose stretches the front torso and opens the Heart chakra.

Breathe Your Chest Open

  • Anahata, or the Heart chakra, is intimately linked to the breath — its energy color is the green of fresh beginnings and its element is air. Practicing yoga Cleansing Breath or Kapalabhati relaxes tense chest muscles and releases the diaphragm, opening the entire chest. In a comfortable seated posture, focus on your heart area as you breathe strongly and quickly in and out. Inhale through your nostrils, a deep full breath that expands your abdomen and lungs. Then tighten your lower abdomen, pulling your navel sharply toward your spine, as you exhale explosively and immediately inhale to continue the flow. Repeat the inhalation-exhalation eight to 10 times for each round of Kapalabhati you perform. The asana involves very dynamic breathing and may not be appropriate for anyone with high blood pressure or heart disease, or who is pregnant.

Camel Arch Chest Opener

  • Ustrasana, or Camel pose, specifically targets the Heart chakra with a kneeling backbend that powerfully opens the chest. Kneel on your mat, knees slightly apart and toes curled under. Reach back with your left hand and grasp your left ankle. With the right hand, grasp the right ankle. Push your hips forward to line up with your knees. On the inhalation, arch back, lifting your hips and bringing your head back, chin to the ceiling, as you stretch and open your throat. Hold the stretch, breathing evenly, for about 30 seconds. Move your hands to support your lower back to gently come out of the pose. If you have high or low blood pressure, insomnia or a neck injury, check with your certified yoga instructor before attempting Camel pose.

Uncoiling a Snake

  • Cobra pose, Bhujangasana, makes your back bendy and expands your chest, opening the Heart chakra. Lie face down on your mat with your arms crossed under your forehead. Move your arms down along your sides and raise your head, looking up and bending your lower back. Place your hands palms down next to your chest and push up, increasing the arch in your spine and bearing most of the weight on your arms and hands. Push your chest forward and tilt your head back, increasing the stretch with every breath and keeping your buttocks and thighs relaxed, elbows close to the body and tops of feet flat on the floor. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and then release downward on an exhalation. Skip Cobra pose if you have carpel tunnel injury, a headache or back problems.

Supported Bound Angle Pose

  • The hip and groin opener Supta Badha Konasana, or Bound Angle pose, relaxes your whole body and, with carefully arranged props, opens the chest and Heart chakra. Sit on the floor or on a folded blanket, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Pull your heels as close as you can to your pelvis. You might use a yoga strap around your lower hips and joined feet to hold your feet together as you lie back with a bolster lengthwise under your spine, a block under each knee, a folded blanket under your neck and head and another folded blanket under each extended arm. The bolster under your back opens your chest as the full-body stretch releases stress. Breathe slowly and deeply and stay in the restorative pose for five to 20 minutes. If you have knee or lower back injuries, avoid Bound Angle pose.