5 Things You Can Do To Prepare for Bloomsday 2020!

Bloomsday 2020 is quickly approaching and on May 3rd 2020, nearly 50,000 people will take the streets of Spokane to run, jog, or walk their way through 7.5 miles.

The question though, what can I be doing now to get prepared for Bloomsday? Just like any race, training for Bloomsday takes dedication and hard work, we put together a list of 5 things you can do to get prepped for the big race.

Bloomsday
  • Get started on a running or walking program

There are endless options out there to improve your endurance when preparing for a long-distance run or walk, so find one that best caters to your needs and goals. Interval training is a great way to get your heart rate up and give your body the boost it needs to keep running during steady periods of time. If you plan on walking, it’s a good idea to get into a weekly or even daily walking routine to prepare your muscles and joints for the 7.5-mile trek through Spokane streets—it’s also a great excuse to do some sightseeing as the weather begins to warm up!

  • Join a team or get a partner

Exercising with other people can often be a lot more fun than just going by yourself. When we have a reliable teammate or partner to push us, we tend to reach past our own expectations and reach our goals efficiently. Find someone who is going to give you that push you need and you may just build a lifelong love for exercise.

  • Increase your water intake

It is recommended that the average person drinks between 5-8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day. When preparing for the big race, it’s important to consistently drink water throughout the day and get in the habit of drinking water BEFORE you are even thirsty. Though Bloomsday doesn’t take place during a hot month, 7.5 miles often takes a lot of sweat—refuel and recharge.

  • Visit your physician

Though Bloomsday participants run and walk at all levels, it’s a good idea to visit your health care provider before starting a training program to make sure your health is not at risk. They can also let you know if your finish time goal is reasonable and give you tips for proper training.

  • Start stretching regularly

It is always good to stretch before and after doing any strenuous physical activity, but daily stretching is great at increasing flexibility to prevent future injury. If you don’t have much experience with stretching, taking up a Yoga class or even finding a TV program that teaches stretching, Yoga or Pilates at home could be beneficial to your Bloomsday experience.

Most importantly, have fun! Bloomsday 2020 is a great way to connect with family, friends, and community – all while enjoying some exercise. We hope to see you out there this year. For more information on Bloomsday 2020, check out https://www.bloomsdayrun.org/ .

Weight Gain – 5 tips to get back on track

Blame it on the wild winter we had. Or perhaps you were too stressed about something in your life to worry about what you were eating? Maybe you had “just a sliver” of a few too many desserts, cakes, slices of pizza, etc. – because a little bit won’t hurt, right? Or to borrow an outdated Jamie Foxx lyric, “blame it on the a a a a a alcohol.” Whatever the excuse, it happened and you’ve acquired some excess weight over the past few months.

It’s easy to get in to a mode of sedentary lifestyle and casually eating when you aren’t even hungry. I mean, cheddar and sour cream chips are so darn tasty – why not?

We’ve worked with our providers to put together a solid plan to get you back on track. Here are our top 5 tips to get you back on track:

  1. Give yourself a break – You aren’t a bad person for switching off the exercise and food intake side of your brain for a bit. You’re a person – it happens to everyone. Too often people throw in the towel because they feel they’ve blown it or it’s too hard. They then give themselves permission to continue to over-indulge thus making it more difficult! No one is perfect and we all fall away from our best intentions and eat the wrong things, skip the gym or get a bit lazy and make excuses. The most important thing to remember is not to berate yourself about it but rather spend the energy getting back on track.
  2. Learn from the experience – If you don’t recognize what led you to fall off the healthy eating wagon, you’ll probably react the same way the next time the situation arises. Write down a list of the situations that trigger you to overeat, and plan an alternative for each. For example, if parties are your downfall, have a healthy snack beforehand to keep your appetite in check.
  3. Be kind – Don’t try to punish yourself with incredibly restrictive diets and over exercise. You may lose weight short term this way, but usually this sets up a pattern of gaining and losing weight. Look at the big picture and understand that weight loss requires a small decrease in calories over a longer period of time. Also, don’t deprive yourself. If you go out once or twice a month to Zips, it won’t kill your diet (depending on how much you drown your meal in tartar sauce-but that’s more of a personal issue. Guess who might be going to Zips tonight…). Just be sure that the majority of the time you’re getting a good dose of fruits, veggies and protein.
  4. Plan ahead – When you get hungry, that’s the moment you tend to overeat. Plan some healthy snacks throughout your day. If you’re away from home, be sure to bring a snack pack or two with options such as carrot sticks, trail mix, almonds, or fruits.
  5. Shake a leg – Can’t make it to the gym, don’t have time for a run? Do something small during a break. Go for a 15-minute walk, take the stairs, etc. Every little bit adds up to the bigger picture of being more active. It can also relieve stress you may have been building up (another reason people tend to overeat). When it is exercise time, try to find something you enjoy. There are a ton of activities out there, you just have to find the right one.

by Bill Bomberger and Matt Grebe

Hoops and Health

Between Hoopfest and some amazing local teams (*cough* Gonzaga Basketball), it’s hard not to be a big fan of hoops in our neck of the woods. Not only is it great to watch, but it’s a blast to play. And – whether you are shooting hoops by yourself, playing a pick-up game or are on a competitive team, basketball is an incredible way to stay in shape – and have fun.

5 reasons why basketball is great for your health:

  1. It burns calories:

The obvious reason. Between running, jumping, dribbling and shooting, basketball is a calorie burning powerhouse! According to HealthStatus, a 200lb person burns 408 calories in an hour of shooting baskets, 744 calories in an hour of half-court basketball and 996 calories in an hour of full-court basketball.

  1. It’s great for cardio:

Basketball is an excellent sport in conditioning your cardiovascular system (your heart). It’s also an excellent form of high-intensity interval training. This works only if you are running around a half or full court (obviously full court will be better to get your heart pumping), if you are just shooting around, you may not get as much of a cardio benefit. One added benefit: it’s way more fun than a treadmill.

It helps build motor skills and coordination:

Free-throws, 3-pointers and layups are all incredibly helpful in training your hand-eye coordination and to develop those fine muscle memory skills to become better coordinated. Dribbling is another key ingredient in coordination on the court and helps to develop full-body coordination. Once this skill is mastered, it becomes second nature as a fine motor skill – letting you concentrate on your opponent versus visually making sure the ball is where it should be.

  1. It provides built-in strength training:

Basketball provides an excellent full-body workout and can help to develop lean muscle. Since it’s a physically intensive sport, there is an element of physical resistance training when an opponent may be pushing against you. Strong legs are built by shooting and running. Dribbling and shooting strengthen the arm, wrist and hand.

  1. It reduces stress:

Exercise (basketball included) is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate. Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.

Overall, basketball is an incredible sport. Whether you have never dribbled in your life or are a pro on the court, you’ll get a great full-body workout from it. Plus, with so many courts around our area, it’s a sport that is accessible to anyone – all you need is a ball.

We’re looking forward to this March Madness season – let’s go Zags!

Pokémon Go, For Your Health?

If you’ve seen an increased number of people walking and biking around town with their phones glued to their faces, there’s a strong chance they are searching for a Charmander, Snorlax, or one of the other 151 Pokémon varieties. Of course we’re talking about Pokémon Go, the latest interactive app to blow up your Facebook and Twitter feed. The coolest part of the app (aside from finding a Squirtle in your backyard), is it’s actually helping people to get outside and exercise more.

Released last week, Pokémon Go is an interactive game that uses your phone’s GPS, camera,  and clock to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokémon “appear” around using augmented reality. The Pokemon that the players catch can be powered up and used to take over or train at local gyms (usually monuments, churches, other public spaces). Different types of creatures appear as you move around your city, with the variety changing as you move from block to block. You’re literally chasing Pokémon around your city, which is making this game a huge hit and an excellent addition to your exercise regimen.

Many people using the app have seen significant increases in their steps since they began playing.

In addition, some Pokémon Go players are seeing mental health benefits. Simply by getting outside and taking a short walk (sometimes with friends) players are helping themselves to battle anxiety and depression. The game can be played solo or with a group of friends/strangers.

Tumblr user Ari is one of them. She has anxiety and depression and for the past three years has avoided leaving the house unless absolutely necessary.

“I have struggled with motivation and energy since I was 9, when I developed severe depression. After that, when I was 15, I developed CPTSD [complex post-traumatic stress disorder] from an abusive relationship that left me completely socially phobic, and starting then I was barely able to leave my house for fear of seeing people.

“But as soon as I got Pokemon Go I was able to leave the house, and I walked outside for hours and suddenly found myself enjoying it. I had the instant rush of dopamine whenever I caught a Pokémon, and I wanted to keep going. Then today and yesterday I purposely put myself in social situations, going to the mall, just to play. And best of all I enjoyed it.

“I think it’s partially because it gives an instant reward. It’s not like going out, having an awful experience, and getting praise after. It’s going out and getting that instant positive affirmation that makes going outside a good experience. I guess most people get that with being social or doing other activities.”

 

Of course the exercise is a side effect of playing Pokémon Go, which is at its core an incredibly fun way  to try and see if you can “catch ‘em all”. It brings back a sense of nostalgia, childhood wonder, and lets players explore their environment.

Now, if someone can help me find a Pikachu in Spokane, that would be amazing.

-Matt Grebe & Rachael Chambers, CHAS Health Communications Team

5 Things You Can Do To Prepare for Bloomsday!

How do you get prepared for Bloomsday? Training for any race takes dedication and hard work. With Bloomsday just around the corner, we put together a list of 5 things you can do to get prepped for the big race.

Bloomsday

  1. Get started on a running or walking program

There are endless options out there to improve your endurance when preparing for a long distance run or walk, so find one that best caters to your needs and goals. Interval training is a great way to get your heart rate up and give your body the boost it needs to keep running during steady periods of time. If you plan on walking, it’s a good idea to get into a weekly or even daily walking routine to prepare your muscles and joints for the 7 mile trek through Spokane streets—it’s also a great excuse to do some sightseeing as the weather begins to warm up!

  1. Join a team or get a partner

Exercising with other people can often be a lot more fun than just going by yourself. When we have a reliable teammate or partner to push us, we tend to reach past our own expectations and reach our goals for efficiently. Find someone who is going to give you that push you need and you may just build a lifelong exerciseship.

 

  1. Increase your water intake

It is recommended that the average person drinks between 5-8 eight ounce glasses of water a day. When preparing for the big race, it’s important to consistently drink water throughout the day and get in the habit of drinking water BEFORE you are even thirsty. Though Bloomsday doesn’t take place during a hot month, 7.5 miles often takes a lot of sweat—refuel and recharge.

 

  1. Visit your physician

Though Bloomsday participants run and walk at all levels, it’s a good idea to visit your health care provider before starting a training program to make sure your heath is not at risk. They can also let you know if your finish time goal is reasonable and give you tips for proper training.

 

  1. Start stretching regularly

It is always good to stretch before and after doing any strenuous physical activity, but daily stretching is great at increasing flexibility to prevent future injury. If you don’t have much experience with stretching, taking up a Yoga class or even finding a TV program that teaches stretching, Yoga or Pilates at home could be beneficial to your Bloomsday experience.

Katiah Peterson, Communications Assistant