Category: Fitness


English: Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada, Janua...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Every winter, shortly after Christmas, begins the Ottawa festival known as Winterlude.  It centers around a huge rink on the Rideau Canal, itself a UNESCO world heritage site, which winds it way through downtown Ottawa, through some of Ottawa’s oldest and most venerable neighbourhoods, to its end at Dow’s Lake.  The total length is 7.8 km, with a small off-shoot at Patterson Creek, and a fine expanse of skating surface at the lake at the terminus. Continue reading

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A cathedral of pines

Towering Conifers at Lake of Two Rivers

Towering Conifers at Lake of Two Rivers

Mid-September, following a week’s rain delay, we made our way to Ontario’s Algonquin Park for some fall camping. It had been over a decade since my husband and I had last camped, certainly before we got our current dog, Hannibal. Our plan was to spend three days in the Lake of Two Rivers campground, our first visit to that park, and enjoy some hiking in the many trails of the Algonquin Park. Situated between Huntsville and Whitney on highway 60, Lake of Two Rivers campground is a cathedral of towering conifers providing dappled sunlit throughout the day.

In preparation for our visit, we pulled out our almost-new tent from the basement to determine if we still had all the pieces, pegs and tie-downs, erecting it on the back lawn. I toiled in the residual summer heat to inflate the air mattress that would serve as our bed, checking for holes. Hannibal promptly crawled inside the tent and went to sleep on the buoyant surface, oblivious to the baking heat of that hot afternoon. Although new to camping, he apparently still knew how to find the most comfortable spot around. Continue reading

Cool Runnings

Long Island lock near Manotick in winter

A recent warm spell which followed a relentless deluge of snow over the past three weeks had me itching to head outside with my runners on, and it got me thinking about the joys of winter running. Since mid-December we’ve received about 76 cm (30 inches) of snow here in the Manotick area, and the banks at the edge of the road are piled higher than my shoulder in places.  My suburban street is designated third priority for plowing, so the surface of it is still quite snowy, making walking or running feel more like you’re on a soft, sandy beach than a road.  But this day launched with a sparkly sunlight, the light almost bright enough to hurt your eyes.  The just-above-freezing temperature, with a light wind, was perfect for a snowy run, not too cold to make it uncomfortable and that wind helping keep things cool after you got going.  Continue reading

Fitness Apps I love

Since my attempt, after half a century, to become a runner, I’ve also been looking for ways to integrate my love of mobile technology into my fitness regime.  There are no end of applications out there to help you with your fitness goals; here’s a look at my favourite ones – and because I’m allergic to paying for apps, these are all FREE.  I myself use an Android device for a mobile phone, but also have a wifi iPad for tracking training at home.

Running Apps

When I first started running I kind of snickered at all the GPS freaks at training runs that seemingly could never start a run on time because they were cursing at their watches while “waiting for satellites”.  But I’ve grown to appreciate the benefit of automatic tracking and it certainly is useful to have all your training data captured in one spot in the cloud. Continue reading

Super-spinning

January 17, 2011

Photo credit: Jeremy Jenum

If you’ve read some of my other blog posts you’ll know that I recently completed my first triathlon.  That exercise got me back on bicycle for the first time in over 15 years, and I loved the feeling of motion with the wind in your face.  But as winter approached, I knew I needed a way to keep it up without having to face the perils of an Ottawa winter.  So luckily for me, I found  my local yoga studio offered a series of SpinFit classes.

This fitness studio is a great example of a local business success.  I have to admit when I saw another studio go into the spot in our local mall, I was not optimistic; we have seen small gyms come and go — it seemed that none had found a winning formula that catered to the community in a way that resulted in a profitable business.  But the ladies at Maitreya have proved me wrong. Continue reading

A half-century “athlete”

As a child, I was never good at sports.  I was the tall, gangly, klutzy one with no strength.  Early on, I did manage to do some ballet (I know, ballet is not a sport), and actually got quite good at it, but after about grade 3, the schedule was inconvenient and Mom decided it was time to do something else.  My parents did have my sister and I learn to swim and ski, for which I thank them, but I have to admit we were never stellar at these, by any stretch.

So when high school came along, I took the opportunity to drop “gym” as soon as I could, and thought I would never look back … clearly I was on an academic path and had no need of such things.  At university, I admired my sporty friends, including my roommate who made the women’s hockey team and was constantly travelling for tournaments on top of her pre-med workload.   But I had little curiosity about those who bee-lined for the phys ed centre at spare moments, not understanding the draw of ‘de-stressing’ during those anxious times of mid-terms and exams. Continue reading

Under-size me!

Obesity Epidemic

News of the western world’s obesity epidemic appears everywhere, so unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade or so, you’re likely aware that we’re all putting on a lot of weight.  Coincident with this news are many theories as to why it is happening; I’ve listed below in no particular order, a few of the ones that make the most sense to me as key contributors to our amassing bulk.
size comparisons between US and UK

  1. Clothing size escalation – I’ve not seen a lot reported about this, but the reality is that clothing sizes in America are dramatically bigger than they used to be.  Take my particular case:  I graduated from high school some thirty-plus years ago at a 125 lbs, and wore a size 10 or Large for most clothing.  I’m fortunate enough to weigh within 3 lbs of that  weight currently, and now consistently wear a Small — size 6 or even a size 4 in some cases. From this it is obvious that clothing manufacturers have used vanity sizing to hide expanding waistlines from customers.  I would wager that to wear the same size today as the 70’s high school me, I’d need to put on more than 75 pounds.  Put another way, North Americans who haven’t changed clothing size in a while have been lulled into thinking their body size hasn’t changed, or not that much, any way.  Nowhere is this most apparent but in the US; this size chart shows the UK apparently hasn’t succumbed to this trend at all.   Continue reading