Tag Archives: Healthy Living

5K in Portsmouth To Support Children’s Museum Virginia

The Bunny Hop 5K & 1 Mile Family Fun Run is coming up this Saturday, March 25, 2017. The event will take place in Portsmouth, Va., with registration opening at 7 a.m. at the Portsmouth Pavilion.

This will be the 3rd year for the Bunny Hop event, with proceeds going towards the Children’s Museum of Virginia. Most of the earnings go towards maintaining the museum’s exhibits. Stephen Corving, the unofficial race director, and one of five board members that volunteer for the event said “we encourage kids to play with the exhibits, so you can imagine the work to maintain them.”

The family fun run begins at 8 a.m., and the 5K begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by fun activities for the children including face painting and balloon animals. Food will be provided by Chick-fil-a, and beer will be available for adults. The events will begin wrapping up at 11 a.m.

Stephen says to save your race bib to get free admission into the museum. The admission is good to be used one time between race day and April 15.

To sign up for the event, click here.

For directions to the Pavilion, click here.

Research Leans Towards Pilates for Improved Athletic Performance

Joseph Pilates started exercising to combat his physical disadvantages, such as asthma, which allowed him to form his own system that we know today as ‘Pilates.’ Since the workout routines boom in recognition in the 1970’s, studies have followed on the effects of Pilates.

Studies show that Pilates improves lower limb muscle strength and trunk flexibility in women, lowers the rate of depression in postpartum women, and improves  hamstring flexibility in football players. Is Pilates the best option, over Barre, for improving athletic performance?

Barre is designed to be a workout for every woman, but not many studies can be found on the effects of a Barre routine.

Mariska Breland of Fuse Pilates in Washington D.C., says Barre doesn’t make you better at sports. “It’s not a complete workout,” says the instructor, “It’s not very functional.”

Jennifer Rockwell of Pilates 4 in Virginia Beach says “equipment Pilates is definitely good for people that are post physical therapy, it is a very rehabilitative type exercise, it is a full body workout, but it is slower paced, it is much more mindful, you’re getting more one on one, so you get lots more corrections, vs. in a Barre class, you can only correct to the general, you can’t spend all your time on one person.”

An article by USA Today in 2003 reported on athletes improving their performance through Pilates, such as quickness, power, flexibility, weight loss, and injury-free seasons.

Barre- An Exercise Routine Designed To Be For Every Woman

What started as a combination of ballet and rehabilitative therapy, variations of Barre have quickly become the new go to work out for women, but unless you live in a populated urban area, you may not have heard of it yet.

Barre workouts have been spreading for the past decade across the United States and Canada. The market is for women who desire a dancer’s physique or in need of a post physical therapy workout. Each type of Barre is a variation of the original, The Lotte Berk Method, and consists of a workout that is slightly different from the others, but the consistent element is using a barre, and simple ballet movements, and creating a workout that does not require experience or a background in dance.

Lotte Berk, a German dancer and fitness pioneer, created the exercise routine in 1959 after sustaining a back injury. One of her students, Lydia Bach, brought the routine to Manhattan in 1971, starting the first Lotte Berk Method studio in the United States. With popularity of the effective routine starting to rise, different types of Barre started to appear, most notably Pure Barre, and Barre3.

Source: Esther Fairfax

A barre used for balance and simple ballet movements during a Barre workout. (Photo by Jillian Knight)

What is the difference between Barre, Barre3, and Pure Barre?

The word barre itself is a ballet term meaning a horizontal handrail that sits at hip height. It is pronounced the same way as the word bar.

“That is to me what Barre class is, it’s group exercise, but incorporating simple ballet type exercises that are modified for the general public so that you don’t have to have any dance experience whatsoever,” says Jennifer Rockwell, owner of Pilates 4 in Virginia Beach.

“I just think because it’s (Barre) result oriented, it’s fun, it also does great things for your butt, it tones, it doesn’t bulk, and it burns calories,” said Jennifer, who has had her studio open for two years now.


When asked who her typical clientele consisted of, Jennifer says, “I think it really, and this would be the California in me, it is for women over 40, who have money to spend, and the time to invest in it.”

Barre is not a cheap investment. Jennifer is the cheapest rate in Virginia Beach at $10.00 a class, but recommends coming three times a week for best results.

Alicia Sokol, studio owner of Barre3 on 14th Street in Washington D.C. says Barre3 uses cork floors, “so the workout can be done bare foot or with socks, there is no tucking involved, it’s easier on your lower back and knees, incorporates small range of motion, as well as large range, and includes more cardio.”

Tucking is a core engaging technique used by Pure Barre.
Source: PureBarreCompany

“Barre3 is really designed for any type of body,” says Alicia, who discovered Barre3 in 2012.

When asked about her goal as an owner, Alicia says “I want everyone to leave confident, feeling strong, and good in their skin.”

An element that sets Barre3 apart is that most studios offer child care services to accommodate busy mothers.

Barre3 uses cork floors instead of carpet, making non-slip socks optional (Photo donated by Alicia Sokol of Barre3 in Washington D.C.)

 

Pure Barre has been the most popular franchise, with over 400 studios. Founded in 2001 by Carrie Dorr, and franchising starting in 2009, Pure Barre is a mixture of ballet, yoga, and Pilates. Pure Barre uses balls, weights, mats, and resistance bands in their workouts

Balls used in Pure Barre routines. (Photo by Jillian Knight)
Light or heavy weights used in Pure Barre routines. (Photo by Jillian Knight)
Mats used for Pure Barre exercises. (Photo by Jillian Knight)
Resistance bands used for Pure Barre routines. (Photo by Jillian Knight)

Pure Barre corporate policies do not allow photos or video of the equipment being used, unless for advertising or marketing purposes.

Deanna Graham, co-owner of Pure Barre in Virginia Beach, attributes the popularity of Barre to being “the simplest, safest, really workout that you can do.” She says it is great for pregnant women, it allows people with injuries to continue working out, it allows people to gain flexibility, and is great for people with athletic injuries like bad backs, or knees. Nancy, a breast cancer survivor, and a Pure Barre client, says the workout allowed her to gain her strength and flexibility back.

Deanna also attributes the success of Pure Barre to lack of judgement in the studios. “It’s a community, it’s a community of like-minded women, we are all here, not necessarily to lose weight or to get skinny, but to get strong.”

Deanna also encourages people to attend three or four times a week, and that people will start to see results after 10 sessions.

Source: PureBarreCompany

So, what caused Barre to rise in popularity? Mariska Breland, founder of Fuse Pilates in Washington D.C. says Physique 57 and Pure Barre are what made Barre explode by adding music. She also says a lot less training is involved for Barre instructors than Pilates or even yoga, so it is easier for studios to open quickly.

“You can get teachers up and running in two weeks,” said Mariska, a certified Pilates instructor.

She also says it is a cheaper investment for studio owners, as opposed to the upwards of $100,000 investment in Pilates equipment.

Mariska, a Pilates instructor since 2002, and a Barre instructor since 2005, says “Pilates is core strengthening, more functional fitness, makes you stronger”, and “Barre makes your body look nice, depending on your body type. Some people find it bulks them, but for thin people, the ‘dancer body’ is more attainable.”

Other Barre franchises exist across the country including The Bar Method, and Physique 57.

Both are modern takes on The Lotte Berk Method. Physique 57 does not franchise, so only 9 studios exist.

Infographic by Jillian Knight at easel.ly

The conclusion on whether Barre is here to stay according to Steph Mignon, a blogger and fitness enthusiast says “Barre has been around in the mainstream for almost ten years now, so I definitely think it’s here to stay. I already think Barre is on par with Pilates or Yoga as a fitness discipline. “

Continue to follow the progression of Barre on Twitter.

Baking Soda, a Helpful Household Item for Runners

Running has always been on the side of the spectrum of affordable exercise. If you have enough money to follow the recommendation of changing out your running shoes every 300-500 miles, then great, your chances of injury, and running in foul smelling shoes are far less. Some runners, however, expand this recommended timeline a little further, which causes their running shoes to not look, or smell very appealing.

There are many ways to get rid of the odor, or mask the odor in your shoes, while they sit in the closet until your next run. One of the easiest, and cheapest, ways to mask the odor is with baking Soda, or sodium bicarbonate.

Baking soda is inexpensive and offers numerous benefits besides deodorizing. It can also be used as a household cleaner.

Sprinkle baking soda into your shoes, and let them sit overnight so the baking soda has time to absorb the odor. Dump any remnants into the trash.

Deodorizing odors from you shoes is just one benefit of using baking soda. You can also keep an open box in your refrigerator for 30 days to limit the odor of food.

 

Another way baking soda can help runners is through ingestion. An article by Runner’s World says it helps with muscle pain and fatigue. The Run and Become shoe retailer posted an article about dissolving half a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water to enhance a runner’s endurance and speed.

It is recommended to only use half a teaspoon at a time.
Stir in the baking soda and make sure it is dissolved before ingesting.

For a runner who enjoys the less expensive side of the spectrum, using baking soda to help rid your shoes of odor or your muscles of aches and pains are worth considering.

Where is the Barre?

Barre fitness hasn’t been well known for long, but the popularity is quickly growing and spanning across the United States and Canada. It is difficult to trace the actual history of Barre fitness, but most articles written on the subject agree that there are numerous benefits from Barre, including weight loss, strength training, and motivating.

Barre is a combination of yoga, Pilates, and ballet. It is designed to create a dancer’s body with a low impact, high intensity, and fun workout.

Pure Barre has been operating for a decade and has studios across the country. The founder is Carrie Rezabek Dorr, a dancer, choreographer and fitness guru. Her company has grown to more than 375 studios. One of Carrie’s studios is owned by Michelle Garcia Davidson in Washington D.C.  Michelle opened the Pure Barre studio in 2012. Michelle isn’t the only one with a Pure Barre studio in the area. There are two more in the district, 8 in Maryland, and 20 in Virginia.

A counterpart of Pure Barre in the Washington D.C. area is B.Fit Barre. One of the instructors is Katie Oyama, a veteran with over 300 hours of yoga training. You can find Katie’s classes, biography, and other barre-tenders here.

Barre hasn’t interested only fitness gurus, medical professionals like Sara Gottfried, MD have taken an interest in the movement as well. Dr. Gottfried is an expert on women’s health, and gives the workout an A+ for its benefits for women.

There are different variations to Barre. Barre3 at Union Station in Washington D.C. offers a routine that is just slightly different from regular Barre. Some differences are carpet vs. wood flooring, and flexibility vs. stability. Jill Warren, the studio owner of the Barre3 at Union Station, and two other locations, opened the studio in 2011 to focus on her fitness career.

Washington D.C. isn’t the only city with numerous Barre fitness experts. The Open Barre Fitness Studio in Walnut Creek, California, owned by Andrea Holbert, offers a team who are raising the Barre. The Barre Fitness studios in Vancouver, Canada, have the motto of inspiring people to live happier, healthier lives one plie at a time.  Jen Varney, the owner of the Barre Fitness studio in Port Moody, has been teaching professionally for 15 years.

In case you’re brand new to Barre and want a demonstration to help make you comfortable before your first class, Michelle Fondin offers some demonstrations on her Google+ page. Her website also offers answers to beginners’ questions.

Many workout routines start small and then branch out into different markets. Stacy Hinkel has found a new market in Stroller Barre, a Barre workout for new moms.

If you’re looking for a new workout routine, read the positive reviews of Barre, and take a look at what is available in your area.

Take Your Workout Outside to Relieve Stress and Lower Blood Pressure

Almost every exercise picture on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter probably shows you someone doing Yoga or some form of exercise outside. Even in colder weather, people enjoy taking their mats to their surrounding environment to reap the benefits of being outside.

Yoga Journal defines yoga as a union. A union meaning the joining of two or more elements. Yoga is the practice of balancing yourself, and aligning your chakras through various poses and meditation, so it seems valid to see so many people going outside to achieve harmony and joining various elements.

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A typical backyard offers simple benefits such as fresh air to make your workout more enjoyable. Photograph taken by Jillian Knight

Yelena Moroz Alpert from Yoga Journal wrote an article about the benefits of doing yoga outside. Some of those benefits included replenishing depleted energy, heightened awareness from the natural scenery, and boosting meditation benefits.

Yoga Weekly discusses the benefits of doing yoga in water, such as added resistance and improved flexibility. Besides the peaceful sounds that come from the wind in the trees, or the movement of the water, exercising in the woods offers clean oxygen, and exercising in the water offers heart benefits, such as low blood pressure.

Business Insider published the scientific benefits of being outside. Among the eleven benefits were improved mental health, especially combined with exercise, immune system boost, possible anti-cancer effects, better vision, and reduced inflammation. An interesting benefit was the last one where researchers explained people who lived near green spaces recovered from stress, and were encouraged by physical activity, which therefore reduced the risk of early death.

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Local parks such as this one offers the benefit of scenery to relieve stress as you walk your dogs, do yoga under a tree, or jog along the path. Photograph taken by Jillian Knight

Yoga isn’t the only exercise you will see outside in the warmer season. The new fitness fad Barre, is starting to take classes to the outdoors. Barre fitness is a mixture of yoga, ballet, and Pilates, using a stationary barre as a prop to enhance the workout. People are incorporating yoga and Pilates with many outdoors experiences, such as paddle boarding in Maine. It won’t be long until Barre fitness is incorporated into hiking clubs or water aquatics.

For more information on places to exercise outside, visit your local Department of Parks and Recreation’s website. 

For motivation, join a local running club or yoga studio, or use Twitter to follow people like @YogaLoveSpirit, @placestoyoga, or @Purre_Barre.

As the Leaves in Washington D.C. Fall, so does the Enthusiasm to Fight Zika

Since the 2016 Olympics in August, Zika has been slowly fading from the public’s eye. In July, the House passed the Zika Response Appropriation Act, which is now waiting for the Senate’s approval, but doesn’t look like it will be addressed until next year, according to Dr. Nathan Paxton, a Professorial Lecturer at American University’s School of International Service.

For now, Dr. Paxton, who studies global and public health, is just making a lot of phone calls to gather information.

Just this summer, Capitol Hill had a sighting of Zika carrying mosquitoes, but wasn’t made a huge issue with the upcoming winter months hopefully killing off all of the mosquitoes.

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Photo by Michael Daly/ The Daily Beast. A birdbath pictured in Washington D.C., was believed to hold Zika carrying mosquitoes.

 

Staying current on what we’ve learned about Zika will help those who live in warmer climates, like Florida, or are planning to travel to places where Zika has continued to be an issue.

zika-map
Infogram taken from public domain at iStock.com

 

Jill Christmas, an experienced traveler and hiker, often escapes the city life to enjoy a warmer climate. Her upcoming trip is to Argentina, where she says, “Zika is always in the back of my mind.” She said she was given the extensive run down of Zika before her last trip to South America earlier this year, but because she’s not planning on having children anytime soon, she’s not overly worried.

zika-prevention
Infogram taken from public domain at iStock.com

Dr. Paxton says that Zika is dangerous for three reasons.

“First, it’s hard to detect, we have tests that can now detect it, but they’re not normal,” meaning it’s not a routine test and can’t be given to everyone because the resources aren’t available.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

“Second, it’s the transmission method, anywhere on the East Coast, we know what it’s like, I mean we spend all of our Summers with Mosquitoes, most of us can’t tell if they’re sort of normal mosquitoes we have, or Aedes aegypti,” says Nathan Paxton, on why Zika is dangerous.

The third thing that makes Zika dangerous is that it is also sexually transmitted, which Nathan says is the first mosquito driven disease he is aware of that can be transmitted this way.

One of the side effects of Zika is babies being born with Microcephaly, a birth defect which causes the babies to have smaller heads.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images. A child born in Brazil with Microcephaly.
Photo by Felipe Dana / The Associated Press.

For more information, visit the CDC’s website on Zika.

A Week After the Grand Opening, What’s In Store at the new REI Flagship?

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Employees of the new REI Flagship stand outside to cheer on the first customers to the store during the Grand Opening celebration on October 21st, 2016 in Washington D.C.

It has been a week since the 5th Flagship for the REI Co-Op opened in Washington D.C, and according to the General Manager, Becky Smith, the three-day block party exceeded her expectations.

When discussing the successful weekend, Becky had this to say of her experience.

“It was amazing to see the people come into the store and simply step back and say, “Wow!”. The lines of people waiting to check-out, engage with our vendors, talk to our Adventure Station or simply get a cup of coffee was indicative of what our goal was: bring together a sense of community and a place for people to dream about new adventures.” Said Becky Smith, the new General Manager for the D.C. Flagship.

The grand opening celebration of the store has faded, but their mark on the community is just starting.

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One of the main attractions is the bike shop at the front of the store at the REI Flagship in Washington D.C.

The new Flagship is located on the Metropolitan Branch Trail by Noma-Galluadet Metro Station.  The bike shop at the front of the store makes it easy for cyclists to bring their bike in for a quick repair.

Information from Infographic gathered from The Washington Post

 

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The many bike racks at the front of the store accommodate the biking community in Washington D.C.
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The enclosed outdoor space is where trained specialists will be holding classes at the new REI Flagship in Washington D.C.

Members of the Co-Op and the community are able to sign up for classes, such as paddling, climbing, or hiking, to prepare them for a better experience outside.

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The outdoor space also serves as a sitting area to enjoy coffee from La Colombe at the new REI Flagship in Washington D.C.

REI gives back to the community in a big way, as mentioned by the GM, Becky Smith, in last week’s article. Whether it be cleaning up trails in a park, or donating thousands to local non-profits, like WABA, REI is doing their part to make a positive impact on the Washington D.C. community.

For more information on REI Flagship in Washington D.C. and their contributions, visit their website.

Back to the Basics of Social Interaction with Board Games

Back to the Basics of Social Interaction with Board Games from Jillian Knight on Vimeo.

Board games are making a come back. So much so, that a local German Cultural Center is celebrating the popularity of German board games with board game evenings.

This past Friday, October 14th, 2016, the Goethe-Institut in Washington D.C. hosted an evening of board games, wine, snacks, and social interaction. Anyone who wanted to participate was welcome to join for a fee of $5.00. Over 40 people eventually showed up to enjoy the event.

Norma Broadwater is the Public Relations Coordinator for the Goethe-Institut, and she got the idea for a game evening after visiting a store that informed her that the most popular board games come from Germany.

“It was kind of a revelation to me, so I thought well, wouldn’t that be fun to present that to others,” says Norma, who has been with the Goethe-Institut for almost 15 years.

She says what she likes about the evening is it brings together people from both Germany and the U.S.

With the help of Ben and Evan, owners of the game store Labyrinth, Norma has been able to make the experience more enjoyable.

Ben and Evan have been hooked on board games for years, so their expertise allows them to teach the instructions of many complex games including Settlers of Catan, Carrassonne, The Downfall of Pompeii, Camels Up, Karuba, and Hanabi.

With the help of Ben and Evan, Norma and the staff at the Geothe-Institut have set up an experience that offers numerous health benefits from playing board games. The most important one being, it makes us happy.

“Between the game store folks being very good at explaining and people just being very welcoming,” says Norma, “there have been a lot of friendships formed and by the end of the evening people aren’t really wanting to leave, and there’s a very happy sound throughout the space.”

For more information on the Goethe-Institut’s events, visit their website.

For more information on Ben and Evan, visit their game store on Pennsylvania Ave. in  Washington D.C., or their website.

Hundreds Run Ahead of Death at the Historic Congressional Cemetery

Hundreds Run Ahead of Death at the Historic Congressional Cemetery from Jillian Knight on Vimeo.

 

WASHINGTON D.C.- Hundreds gathered at the Historic Congressional Cemetery on October 1st, 2016 for the annual Dead Man’s Run 5K event in Washington D.C.’s Capitol Hill.

People from neighboring communities gathered at the cemetery, many dressed in Halloween costumes, to have some fun and support the preservation of the 209-year-old historic cemetery.

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The headstone of Bobby Dempsey buried at the Historic Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

More than 300 people signed up to participate and support one of the oldest institutions in D.C. Many kids also showed up to run the 3.12 mile race through the cemetery, showing their abundance of energy is helping them stay healthy. If they weren’t up for the challenge, a kids’ fun run started five minutes after the 5K at 6pm.

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All runners received a Dead Man’s Run 5K T-Shirt for their participation in the race on October 1st, 2016 at the Historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington D.C.

Activities before the race included a DJ playing music for people to dance and warm up to, and a bubble machine for kids. The after race activities included a beer tent for all 21 and over participants.

The first place winner was Desta Morkama of Arlington, VA with a time of just over 17 minutes.

For more information on the cemetery and its upcoming events, visit their website.