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5 Water Sports You Should Try This Summer

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Summer is the perfect time for trying new things. The days are longer, the sun is brighter and the warm weather creates a number of new opportunities, particularly for sports enthusiasts. The summer heat opens the door to a number of different water sports, most of which are simple enough to try on your own.

Water sports are a great opportunity for summer fun, for both families and individuals alike. It’s not an issue if you don’t own any of the necessary equipment — most water sport equipment is readily available and easy to rent. There are dozens of different water sport activities that you can attempt, but here are the five you should try this year.

1. PaddleBoarding

Paddleboarding is an exciting way to get out on the water and explore. Not to mention, it can be a great workout! Paddleboarding is different from other water sports because the user stands on the board and pushes themselves forward with a long paddle. While paddle boarding can certainly be a relaxing way to experience the ocean or your local lake, it’s also an opportunity to tone your muscles. This can be a workout for your arms, core and legs!

2. Kayaking

Kayaking is a great way to exercise on virtually any body of water. These small, dynamic crafts are perfect for your local lake or river, but can also provide an enjoyable day in a bay or off the coast. There are a number of different styles of kayaks, and you should ensure you have the right type for your outing. For example, whitewater kayaking is a thrilling experience that is a perfect summertime activity, but you want to ensure your kayak is built for these conditions.

3. Jet Skiing

One truly intense water sport that deserves your attention this season is jet skiing. These crafts can fly across the water, and using them is certainly an adrenaline-filled experience. Jet skis are perfect for a weekend trip to the lake and are very straightforward to operate and use. Safety is important because of how fast these machines can go, but they can provide for a fun-filled day of competition.

4. Whitewater Rafting

Another intense water sport that demands a place in the spotlight is whitewater rafting. This water sport is a true adventure where a small group works to navigate rafts down a rapid-moving turbulent river. This is definitely a summer activity that should be done with a group under the eye of an experienced guide. Outfitters across the country regularly take groups out on the water for this adrenaline-pumping experience!

5. Kitesurfing

Another water sport that should make its way into your itinerary for the summer season is kitesurfing. If you find yourself at the shore looking for an intense and exciting experience, look no further than kitesurfing. This sport combines the traditional surfboard and waves with a large kite that completely changes the dynamic and makes kitesurfing a unique sport of its own. Kitesurfing can be somewhat difficult to master initially, but once you do, you can gain some serious speed and maneuverability on the water by capturing air with the kite.

Which Water Sport Will You Try First?

There are dozens of different water sports you can try this summer. This list can help you get started, but the possibilities are endless. Water sports are perfect for people of all ages!

How to Get Into Professional Bowling

By | Bowling, Other Sports | No Comments

Bowling strike after strike, weekend after weekend, you might start thinking to yourself, “I’m pretty good at this. Maybe I should go pro.” And, while it’s tough to become a professional in any sport, you might have what it takes to pursue a bowling career. Here’s how to get started.

Check That You Qualify

Different countries and regions have their own professional bowling leagues — for instance, there is an Asian Bowling Federation, as well as the European Bowling Tour of the European Tenpin Bowling Federation. In the United States, professional bowlers and those who aspire to join their ranks answer to the Professional Bowlers Association, also known as the PBA.

To become a member of the PBA, you must ensure you meet one of the following requirements:

Although the first two requirements read quite clearly, the third option might need a bit of explaining. The PBA holds its professional tour events around the country, but it also organizes regional tournaments on a much smaller scale. You can sign up for one of the PBA’s non-professional events and, if you place near the top of the leaderboard, then you can parlay your success into PBA membership.

Of course, membership is just the beginning of your journey — even if you qualify, there’s still a ways to go to becoming a professional bowler.

Sign up for the Qualifiers

Once you’ve earned your spot in the PBA, you’re ready to sign up for your first Tour Qualifying Round (TQR). At any PBA tournament, the exempt — read: top — bowlers can choose whether or not to participate. They sign up for spots at will, and any remaining spots go to the winners of the TQR.

So, to make it to the big tournament, you first have to win the qualifying round. This means you’ll be bowling quite a bit, and it can be tiring to reach the finals, let alone win or play well in them. That’s why the goal of many pro bowlers is to earn an exemption. Here’s how you can make it happen:

  • Top all non-exempt members – those who bowl in TQRs – on the World Point Ranking list
  • Win a standard PBA tour title
  • Earn a spot on the World Point Ranking list, although only 42 qualify this way
  • Place 7th or higher in the previous year’s PBA Regional Players Invitational
  • Pick up an exemption that you deferred or paused due to medical needs or hardship
  • Earn the Golden Parachute, an exemption awarded to a single non-exempt player by the PBA’s leadership team
  • Win a major championship, such as the U.S. Open or the Tournament of Champions. This one comes with a multi-year exemption, so aim high!

Some of these avenues are more far-fetched than others — there’s only one Golden Parachute per year, after all. In most cases, you have the best shot to earn an exemption by entering as many TQRs as possible to either have enough points to qualify or win the tournament.

Take Care of Your Equipment

As a professional bowler, you’ll want bespoke equipment and gear — no more renting shoes and borrowing balls from the alley. Before you invest in anything, though, check out the PBA’s list of requirements. When it comes to shoes, for example, bowlers can only don footwear from Dexter, 3G, Storm, Hammer or Brunswick at PBA League competitions.

Bowling balls will also be under scrutiny — so be sure you have one that’s approved. Older models manufactured before 1982 are also legal to use, so long as the ball’s manufacturer still has approval in the appropriate category.

Once you invest in the shoes, ball, gloves and other equipment you need, it’s up to you to take expert care of your supplies. This especially applies to your ball, the tool with which you’ll knock down pins and, hopefully, earn enough points to go pro.

image: Twitter

Perhaps the most vital step in the maintenance process is routinely resurfacing your ball. This restores the pores of the ball, which create the hook and grip you need to hit the pins just right. A good rule of thumb is to resurface your ball after every 60 games you play. In between resurfacing, you should re-polish every 10 games and wash your ball with degreasing liquid soap every 30 games. With that, your ball will always be at its best, making you even more likely to win.

Become a PBA Exempt Bowler

Once you’ve followed all of the above steps and earned your exempted spot in the PBA, the journey has just begun. You’ll have to battle each year to retain your status unless, of course, you win a major tournament that comes with a multi-year exemption.

Clearly, it’s not simple to become a professional bowler, but the good news is that it’s possible. All that’s left to do is get started!

What All Do You Need to Go Skiing?

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There’s no greater feeling than spending a day on the slopes and a night with some hot drinks, bad taxidermy and good conversations.

Skiing is an exhilarating sport that is enjoyable all day long — unless you don’t have the right equipment. As you plan and pack for your trip, reference this list to remember the six pieces of gear that will keep you warm, dry and happy.

1. Base Layer

Also known as thermals, a strong foundation for staying warm is a solid base layer. These are the clothes that are closest to your body, so the material needs to be moisture-wicking.

Cotton has no home here — wool or synthetic materials are your friends. This also applies for socks to keep your feet dry. Nothing is worse than foot slushies.

2. Pants

As probably the most essential piece of equipment as far as clothing goes, your pants need to be as waterproof as possible.

Everybody falls, whether it’s a victory slide at the end of your run or a wipeout that no one was expecting. It’s important to make sure your show pants resist wind and water, so you can spend your day on the slopes — not in the lodge.

3. Jacket

Your jacket is the armor outside of the rest of your layers, so it’s important to get something weather-resistant and waterproof. When you try one on, keep in mind that you may have a couple of layers underneath it on cold days — be sure to size it accordingly.

Jackets can also offer things such as pit zips, goggle zippers and phone pockets to make it easy to carry your gear and electronics around on the slopes while also preventing overheating.

4. Helmet

A helmet is a non-negotiable piece of gear, no matter what your skill level is. You can layer a hat underneath if needed, and you can usually rent one if yours breaks or if you don’t want to buy one.

You can’t ski if you’re in the hospital, so protect your noggin.

5. Goggles

Nothing magnifies the intensity of the sun’s brightness quite like snow. If you prefer to be able to see what’s in front of you, goggles will be a huge help.

When you’re going down the hill, goggles will also prevent you from having freezing wind in your eyes to the point of tearing up and ugly sobbing during the entire ride.

6. Boots and Gloves

A good pair of boots is useful in pretty much every situation in life, but even more so for the snow lovers. If there’s one piece of equipment you should buy instead of rent, it’s boots.

Make sure you buy a pair of boots that are comfortable and waterproof. They’re going to be in contact with snow all day, so don’t be afraid to get yourself something nice.

Gloves or mittens are also a necessity to keep your fingers warm and avoid things like frostbite. It’s worth investing in a good pair — you can’t hold poles if your fingers can’t bend.

Ski With Snow Worries

Once you pick out the gear that fits your style and will keep you dry, you’ll be ready to spend hours shredding rather than shivering. Enjoy your time outside by staying warm!

How to Train for a Half-Marathon

By | Fitness, Running | No Comments

Want to take your running program to the next level? Training for a half-marathon allows you to truly test the limits of your running ability. You’ll also learn a lot about yourself and your motivations throughout the training process. Distance running not only tests your physical endurance but your ability to remain focused and on task mentally for an extended period as well. You’ll gain a ton of confidence all while learning to overcome adversity and setbacks.

But what if you’re new to training to compete at this distance or even new to running in general? Not to worry. These tips will get you on your way to achieving your half-marathon goals.

Get the Right Shoes And Socks

Nothing will derail your running program more quickly than foot, knee or even back injury caused by wearing improper footwear. During training, your feet will be pounding the pavement for sometimes an hour or more at a time. This can quickly lead to overuse injuries.

Before starting your training regimen, pay a visit to a specialty running shoe store where the associates are trained to measure you for shoes that are the right fit. There is much more to selecting a shoe than merely getting the right the size. For example, runners with high arches may find they need additional arch support, while flat-footed runners may need more padding to absorb impact. Add in some moisture-whisking socks to keep your feet dry during long run days.

Give Yourself Ample Training Time

Training for a race the length of a half-marathon isn’t something you can jump into overnight. It takes time to build up distance and speed, so make sure you give yourself adequate time to train before race day.

If you are a novice runner, select a race that is at least two months out from when you plan to begin training. If you are an advanced runner who already puts in miles daily, you may be able to get away with a slightly shorter time frame. However, don’t underestimate the work it takes to really get ready to run 13.1 miles.

Draw Up A Training Schedule

To meet your goal, you’ll want to outline a manageable training plan that works with your life and your schedule. You’re going to need to commit a good deal of time to your training, so make sure you have a plan for success.

While it’s okay to run on a treadmill when the weather is particularly inclement, for better results, train outside under conditions that are as close to those you’ll encounter on race day. If you live in the race area, drive the race course to get a feel for how hilly it may be. Pay attention to the weather, too. Train in high winds, cold temperatures, high humidity and other conditions you might encounter during the race to ensure that you’re prepared for them.

Fuel Your Body Right

What you eat is just as important as how you train when it comes to half-marathon success. This counts double if you undertook training for a half-marathon to jump-start your weight loss regimen. It can be tempting to restrict calories and rewarding to watch the pounds melt off. But your performance will suffer if you are malnourished when you train.

Consider adding a high-quality protein and vitamin-mineral supplement to your diet. This will help to replace electrolytes lost through heavy duty training as well as provide your body with the building blocks it needs to heal. Adding a protein supplement is particularly vital if you are vegetarian or vegan. Our muscles need the right balance of amino acids to recover after a long run.

Plan Your Celebration Ahead of Time

Finishing a first half-marathon is a huge accomplishment, and it isn’t one that many people have bragging rights for. So plan a nice celebration for yourself after your big race! This could mean a romantic dinner out with your significant other, planning a weekend getaway or just taking a nice, long relaxing bubble bath post-race. Whatever it is you choose to do, be sure to celebrate you! You did it!

How to Stay Safe Running in the Summer Heat

By | Fitness, Running | No Comments

Summer is the best time for outside activities. It stays light later, and there’s less of a chance you’ll be rained on. For runners, these are the best conditions to bump off a couple of miles. However, the summer comes with its danger as well: heat. Exerting yourself during the hottest season of the year can be uncomfortable, unhealthy and dangerous, and a few precautions can go a long way. Here are a few tips for keeping safe during the worst of the summer heat:

1. Run at Night/In the Morning

Wake up early or stay out until the sun is going down. Both times of day will have lower temperatures and, therefore, less chance of heat exhaustion or other dangerous health conditions. Plus, waking up early will give you an awesome energy boost to get through your day.

2. Drink Lots of Water

This one should go without saying. If you don’t like carrying a water bottle while you are running, make sure you run at a location with water available in drinking fountains or otherwise. Dehydration, which is easily preventable, causes many heat-related illnesses.

3. Run in the Shade

If you usually run in an open area — a field or street, for instance — instead look for a route with trees or buildings that provide shade. More shade means a cooler run, and a cooler run means less chance of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Of course, wearing a light-colored hat or visor can keep the worst of the sun off your head and provide your face with a little personal patch of shade.

4. Wear Sunscreen

Sunburns are bad to begin with, and they’re downright agonizing while you are running, and there is nothing to distract you from them. Wearing sunscreen will help protect you from burning, and putting aloe on any previous burns before running will also keep the pain at bay.

5. Wear Light Colors

Dark clothes absorb the sun’s heat much more than light-colored clothing. The difference is the most noticeable during the summer. Wearing light colors will keep you cooler and running longer than darker, heavier clothing.

6. Slow Down

Take a little longer running when it’s hot out. You won’t push your body as hard under already-stressful conditions, and you’ll avoid exhausting yourself partway through the run.

We all love running, but avoiding the heat — and finding better ways to deal with it when unavoidable — is a necessity during the hot summer days. Using these precautions will help you run happier and healthier through the summer.