A whole lot of people have purchased exercise equipment that ends up gathering dust, and sooner or later gets sold for a fraction of the cost, or even given away. There are so many new-flanged machines coming out constantly, but so many end up this way. However, that doesn’t mean that there are not smaller pieces of equipment that you might actually use, not have trouble finding room for, and still be helpful in reaching your fitness goals.
Fitness regimens should usually include a cardio workout for at least 20 minutes, whether inside or out, and you can greatly benefit from keeping track of your progress with a fitness monitor. Depending on the model you choose, these handy devices can calculate how many calories you’ve burned, and how far and fast you have gone. Some of the higher-end models can synchronize with your computer and give you a full analysis of your workout. Some of these devices are pedometers, speed and distance monitors, altimeter watches, fitness assessment monitors and chronograph watches. These are all small devices that don’t take a lot of room, and won’t be gathering dust. You should also check out a heart rate monitor. You can purchase them as either a wireless chest-strap, or a fingertip sensor.
A GPS tracker is an essential devise especially if you exercise in remote places. It can help you navigate through your course, and more seriously, be a lifesaver in case you become lost, stranded, or injured for any reason. Searchers can use it to ascertain your location. Most mobile phones have this capability, as well. You should always have your mobile phone with you when you are out and about. Since these devices run on batteries, you should test them before you leave, make sure they are charged, or carry some spare batteries with you. To make sure your devices are kept dry, keep your tracker, phone and extra batteries in a waterproof bag in case of an emergency. A GPS tracker can be a valuable device to have, in case of an accident or injury, even if you are not far from home.
One of the most important pieces of fitness equipment you can have is a good pair of comfortable boots or shoes. Original SWAT tactical boots are known for their “athletic shoe” comfort, and are light-weight and durable. They have the support to distribute body weight evenly and have the design, engineering and testing to produce the high performance fit and comfort that these boots are known for. If you are comfortable, you will exercise more often, or if your work is strenuous, these boots are bound to help. Performance matters. It is that simple. The proper shoes also help prevent injuries, and help to condition the muscles in healthy ways.
It is essential to not only have waterproof clothing in the winter months, but also in the summer. Even in warmer climates, like in Arizona, the temperature can drop considerably after the sun goes down. If you are out in wet clothing, hypothermia can be miserable and dangerous no matter the season. If you plan to go camping, rafting or kayaking, it is essential to purchase high-quality clothing, boots or shoes, and gear that is waterproof.
Another way to condition and stay in shape, without too much time and money investment is with some simple wrist and ankle weights. These can be worn around the house while doing your regular chores, or possibly even at work. You can be strengthening and toning muscles, and burning calories while taking no additional time just by doing your normal activities.
Staying fit and healthy does not mean you have to purchase costly gym memberships, or expensive machines to take up space. To start enjoying and promoting good health, you can rejuvenate your fitness regime in simple and affordable ways.
Instead of traveling by plane or ship, road trips can be an enjoyable alternative, and far less stressful. You leave when you are ready, and no hurrying to make your departure with TSA security searches! Your trip is less expensive, and you can route your trip through the scenic countryside. Cheaper yet, go by motorcycle, if not a family trip. Who knows what you can see with new locations and discoveries of site-seeing adventures!
Here are a few helpful tips for a great road trip:
Obviously, it helps to determine your destination for a first step in planning your trip. Involve everyone in the family in planning the trip, and research the attractions you might select. This builds interest, and excitement to involve the kids. It is a good idea to make advance reservations at your choice of hotels, so you have an idea upfront of the costs of your trip, and develop a schedule on what nights you will be at which location. It also insures that you’ll have a place to stay when you get there and are tired. Try to estimate your travel miles, and what nights you will be at given locations, without pushing so hard that your time is stressed. Hopefully, you are scheduling your trip to relax a bit.
It helps to have an up-to-date road atlas, preferably one that shows the back roads, or roads that are not shown on regular maps. If you decide to take a shortcut, or a detour, you want to make sure you have a new map. Many times in your travels you see road signs about nearby attractions. Try to allow time to visit these locations that you might not have known about before leaving on your trip.
It is imperative to make sure your automobile is in good running condition. In addition you need to have the tire tools, and a few other tools to do minor repairs. Make sure your fluids are changed and full, and hoses and belts are in good condition without cracks. Also, have a good working flashlight with you always. Check your insurance policy, or credit card agreements. Sometimes you have road assistance through some of these, if you need it. Keep those numbers in your glove box, with your car insurance and vehicle registration papers.
If your destination drive will take more than a day, plan to stop at a couple attractions along the way. Just stopping to get gas and something to eat is usually not long enough to break the boredom of a long trip. You can check online, or a lot of maps show attractions on the route you plan to take. Plan your trip to an area that interests you. Whether it is antique shops, or special restaurants you’ve seen featured on TV. Call or write to the Chamber of Commerce for the places you plan to visit. They will have information of local attractions. If you like things like horses, for example, touring a thoroughbred horse farm might be fun as you travel through Kentucky, or stop in Nashville if you enjoy country music.
Another tip is to dress for the trip you have planned. Make sure you have comfortable clothing, and especially comfortable footwear, in case you need to do some walking or hiking. Make sure you always have a coat, or jacket. Even in warm areas, it can be cold after dark. It is a good idea to pack clothes that don’t wrinkle or need ironing, and clothes that you can layer to either stay warmer or cooler without having to change.
Don’t be afraid to stop in smaller towns and check out some of the local diners. Usually the residents are proud of their towns, and don’t mind answering questions you may have about local points of interest. You will be amazed at what interesting things you will learn, and if you don’t talk to the locals, many times you will pass them by.
As you consider the advantages of a road trip, get out a map. More and more ideas are likely to come to your attention. Spending time with your family on a relaxing trip will live in your memories forever. And there is nothing that can replace those, or take them away. Truly, that is all we really have is our memories. I hope the ideas in this article will help to plan that once in a lifetime vacation that you and your family will always remember and cherish.
by Cherie Austin
Have you ever been to the Southern California River Run in Laughlin, Nevada? It is held every year towards the end of April. After 28 years, it continues to grow. Every year thousands of bikers converge on Laughlin, and the whole town is consumed by black leather, and the constant roar–day and night–of motorcycles. What a trip!
It is a great location especially for bikers of California, Arizona and Nevada, although people come from many other states. As they say, “Getting there is half the fun.” Or as I’ve always thought, it is most of the fun. There are always those that wimp out and trailer their bikes. We’ve seen people trailer to within a few miles of Laughlin, stop, unload their bikes, and ride on in. They’re not getting the full effect.
Although, in the spring in Arizona–especially in April– the wind is usually at its worst. We’ve seen some really windy years, as we made our trip, and heard of some bad crashes, as well! But we have always had a lot of fun going, and coming, and meeting some really great, like-minded people when we’re there, and there is so much to look at with thousands of other bikes. Most are individualized to each person’s likes, and talk about chrome! You don’t have to spend money on shows, or slot machines (although many do), or any of the attractions. There are so many bikes to look at, it is enough to keep you very busy. People are always working on their motorcycles, and there are some unbelievable imaginations, and talents out there! We’ve seen outrageously customized motorcycles with custom paint jobs, tires, chrome, leather—far beyond what I could think of.
There are always a lot of vendors, and of course, they cater to motorcycle crowds with the products. It’s Bikers’ heaven, with all the clothing, saddle bags, boots, and motorcycle parts. All in one place!
One thing I definitely can advise on, is to make sure you wear some comfortable motorcycle boots. There is a lot to see, and the streets are really jammed once you arrive, so it is easier to walk–if you have some good walking shoes or boots. There is not much room for luggage on a motorcycle, so if you have some boots you can ride in, as well as walk in, you’ll do fine. I would highly suggest Original S.W.A.T. boots. They are comfortable, light-weight, and it is not only my opinion, but many others that say they are the most comfortable motorcycle boots you can buy. You can visit: http://www.FirehouseFootwear.com to find SWAT Boots at a great price on sale!
If you’re looking for ladies motorcycle boots, and want the more outrageous, Firehouse Footwear has those, too! There are lots of brands, styles and partner stores all in one website.
Laughlin has grown tremendously over the last few years. There are many more big casinos since we first started going. It can be a relaxing weekend to go to the banks of the Colorado River that runs right through Laughlin. Or it can be a very busy, noisy, never-a-dull-moment weekend if you go on the River Run weekend. One year there was an apparent conflict of scheduling, as they brought in bus loads of senior citizens on a tour, without having a clue that it was a major bikers’ weekend also. Talk about some wide-eyed seniors! I’m sure they didn’t get much sleep.
If you are able, and especially if you haven’t been there before, you might give the River Run a try. It is a lot of fun.
by Aleyna Lassen, Board Member
On October 30, 2010 the Avra Valley Fire District firefighters, West Valley Firefighters Union #4462, hosted a unique program for the 5 governing board members of the fire district. It was called Fire Ops 101, and was designed by the International Association of Firefighters, to show public officials what the true feeling of being a firefighter is like.
The day started out with all of us sitting through a very basic, classroom course taught by our fire chief, Brain Delfs. The class was a mandatory part of the day in order for us to be as safe as possible, by understanding the basics of fire behavior. Even though the class only scratched the surface involving the science and understanding of fire behavior and elements that firefighters must be aware of at all times, it was still cram-packed with fascinating information and left me wishing I could learn more. I don’t believe most people truly think about all the different scenarios a firefighter must consider before entering a burning building or rolling up to a car accident. Chief Delfs kept using the analogy that, “Elephants Don’t Bite”. He explained that, elephants can be very dangerous animals for all the obvious reasons, and yet people don’t think of them being scary, dangerous animals? Statistics say that elephants cause many more injuries and deaths than some of the other animals in Africa that seem much more dangerous. The parallel to the elephant analogy and fires is that firefighters so often see all the obvious signs of a dangerous situation and completely overlook something that ultimately causes the most damage or severe injury or death. I can imagine that every emergency is different from another, but also that firefighters must not only respond quickly, but remain extremely diligent in every move they make to stay safe. According to our fire chief, it isn’t usually the obvious dangers that get them.
Along with the fire behavior portion, we had brief introductions to vehicle extrication, venting a structure that is burning, and some history on EMS (Emergency Medical Service). The vehicle extrication was, again, a lot more scientific than one would normally believe. The vehicles in today’s world have made the firefighters job a little more tricky, and of course, more dangerous. Most vehicles today have not just a few air bags, but up to thirty! Every one of those air bags in a crashed vehicle are like potential, little missiles if they haven’t already been deployed. When the first responders are using tools such as the Jaws of Life or hydraulic cutters to rescue a person from a mangled car, they have to be very knowledgeable as to where to cut. Every make and model of car on the road is different. Another, relatively new hazard out there is the millions of electric cars that are on the road. These are huge electrical hazards to firefighters if they overlook cutting the main power source before attempting to extricate a victim from a crash.
After the different class portions were completed and we went over the safety features of the turnout gear we would be wearing, we went outside and put our new found skills into action. We started out by disassembling a car with a couple different hydraulic tools. We all got the feel of how heavy the equipment is, how to break and cut glass safely, what it feels like to cut a car door off or pry a door open. It was quite a process for sure!
Next we learned more about the process of venting a roof when a house is on fire and how to do it as safely, and as quickly as possible. Standing on a roof of a burning structure is rather intimidating no matter what they say! Luckily, the structure we were standing on was a training simulator made for just these types of exercises. We used axes and chainsaws to accomplish this.
Last but not least, we went into a live fire situation. Again this exercise required the training simulator, which is a very high-tech piece of equipment, that allows firefighters to learn and practice different evolutions that help them to be more prepared for real situations. This trailer is mostly animated and computerized to where if the temperature gets too hot, it automatically shuts down. This was a miraculous piece of equipment! Each board member dressed out in full turnouts and went in with a couple firefighters to spray water on the flames and watch the steam conversion take place. Even though the temperature inside the simulator only reached around 350 degrees, we still got the idea of what “hot” can feel like. A real house fire can reach up to 2,000 degrees! Firefighters shouldn’t consider going into a structure that has surpassed a temperature of about 500 degrees.
We, the board members, learned more than we could have expected that day and certainly have more appreciation for this job than we did before. I must say, I’m very proud of the union members that helped to make Fire Ops 101 happen that day. They all worked hard to teach us, keep us safe, and did a fantastic job organizing this unique experience. Thank you!
By Cherie Austin
You have heard that to know how someone feels, you need to walk in their shoes–or BOOTS, as it may be!
Fire Ops 101 is a program that gives the chance to the decision-makers in your community to live a day as a fire fighter. Such a day happened in our fire district last weekend–October 30, 2010. The fire board is the elected board members that typically meet on a monthly basis to get the reports by the fire chief on the details of finances, personnel, and budget projections. The board has to evaluate, make motions to be seconded by another member, and vote on the course of actions.
In this program the members of the board are all brought in, and fitted for their fire helmets, breathing masks, air tanks, fire proof coats, pants and boots. There is quite a lot of preparation to be fitted properly for all of this. The fitting of the masks is crucial so that the lungs are protected from the heat, and the breathing apparatus works properly.
Sitting at the fire station was a million dollar “burn trailer” that is used by 6 of the different fire districts here in Southern Arizona. It is a burn simulator with a control room that can simulate a house fire that reaches up to 550 degrees. It has hook-ups for fire hoses, and has grates inside that shoot out the flames that also travel up the walls, and overhead on the ceiling. It is quite an intimidating sight to say the least.
Most of the fire fighters from the district were also present last Saturday. They too were dressed in their heavy gear, as the board members got dressed and ready for a tough day.
The first hands-on demonstration was using the “jaws of life” tool to dismantle an old car. The board members were shown by one of the firemen how to start taking a side door off. They proceeded to the windshield, and the top of the car. Each member got to try out the tool and “clip” off door jambs, cut through the glass, and eventually had the whole top cut off the car.
After that, and a short break, the demonstration on the burn trailer roof was next. It raises up like a pitch of a roof, and has an area that has a sheet of plywood that can be changed each time it is cut. This is to teach how to use an ax and a chainsaw to cut through a roof. Each board member had to climb up a ladder, use an ax to chop a hole, and then use the chainsaw to make a big rectangle opening in the roof.
Besides the heat–it has still been abnormally hot here in Southern Arizona, still in the high 80s and 90s, (we are supposed to be around 77 by this time of year)–and wearing the very heavy coats and gear, one board member has a problem with heights. There were some pretty red-hot faces, and the member with the heights anxiety had to sit down and be monitored for a few minutes for blood pressure, etc. At least she was in the right place to have the help she needed with firemen and paramedics all around her. During the summer months, it is regularly in the 110 to 115 degree range here. The fire fighters still have to wear this very heavy gear even in that kind of heat. At least the board members didn’t have to endure that kind of extreme.
After the roof demonstration, came the really exciting (and very scary) part–going into the burn trailer in the midst of the flames whipping all around you, clear up over your head. Each member was accompanied by another fire fighter, and shown how to enter the trailer and move around inside. They were shown how to use a fire hose and spray the flames, and experienced how the spray turns to such hot steam that it can still penetrate all the layers of the protective clothing and burn the edges of your ears.
All-in-all, it was a very successful day. It was a real eye-opener to be able to watch, and experience what the fire fighters face at any one moment in their jobs. I cannot say enough about how exceptional these guys and gals are, taking on this kind of responsibility, and the physical strain of wearing that gear. All I can say is, you guys are great! And hopefully, I won’t need your services personally, but I do feel a great sense of relief, knowing that you are trained, and willing to go the extra mile when you are called. Many thanks to all of you!