A few nice group fitness classes images I found:
Image by timtak
1) Buy a bike and cycle, fast, and get fairly, medium-build, fit
2) Enroll in a fun run of your choice
3) Stretch your legs for about 15mins a week and a hour on the day using a hard stretch routine such as a karate warm up routine
4) Beat lots of runners in the fun run, and feel good about cycling some more.
5) Keep doing 1- 4 because your knees and achilles tendons won’t get worn out
You may have heard of "Chi-Running," ("A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running"). Forget it. Cyclo-Stretch Running (CSR) is a technique of running, fast, that cuts out the running almost entirely! Last weekend I recorded a personal best 10km run of 41 minutes 29 seconds without having run more than once in the previous year. At my age level (48) 41:29 is pretty fast, so I felt I should share the good news.
Taking part in a local fun run is motivating. A lot of people take up running precisely because they can take part in a local ‘marathon’ or shorter event. Hundreds of people turn up, so you can be confident of running with other people. You will feel the competitive heat, and enjoy the adrenalin rush whether you run 10k in sub 40 minutes (as serious runners do) or take more than one hour. With all those people running, there will be plenty of supporters and even, or especially, the person coming in last will get a cheer.
The problem is that running, especially on a road, is hard on the legs, especially the Achilles tendons and knees. It is okay if you are as thin as a runner, but if you work in an office the chances are you are not built like Mo Farah or Martin Rees.
This means that carrying on a "normal," fairly sedentary 21st century lifestyle and taking part in fun-runs, in the plural, is quite difficult. Sooner or later you are going to get injured. And a lot of us, give up.
Enter the bike. Bicycle technology is just amazing these days. You can buy a performance bicycle weighing less than 9Kg for 00 or1500 Euros. That is some serious money, but it is a price that a lot of 40 somethings can afford, when their health is on the line. If you like you can think of the bike, as an ultra-high tech, and really expensive pair of running shoes. Costing between 10 and 20 times the price of running shoes, your bike will not just ‘reduce the stress of impact with the road’, but remove it completely. If the bike is made out of carbon fibre (as the Azzurri above) then it will smooth out even minor surface irregularities allowing you to glide along really fast, like you are sprinting in mid air. You will burn off the calories and flab in a flash. Cyclists do not pound the pavement, but the raise their pulse just as much, if not more than, runners. I chase cars. If you can avoid road accidents, cycling is as easy on the body as swimming. I lost 8Kg after taking up cycling and became, at the end of the summers, almost svelte.
But what about competition cycling? Here lies the problem with cycling. Competition cycling appears to me to be more than a little fraught. There are not so many "time trial" competitions where cyclists set off at intervals and cycle on their own. Most cycle races consist of a group of cyclists riding in a formation or ‘peleton’. The ability to ‘draft,’ or use the slipstream of, riders around you means that average speeds can be in excess of 35km an hour, and that includes the corners. Cornering in a formation of hot and competitive 40 something year olds is not for the faint-hearted. The sort of injuries that can be sustained in a bike race make chilblains of runners knees.
So what do you do? The no-brain answer is to cycle to keep fit, and fairly thin, by non-competitive cycling, on your own or with friends, to places you like, or on your commute, and then to take part in the occasional competitive fun run to give yourself a goal, and to prove to your spouse that all that cash spent on the latest bike equipment is money well spent.
This may seem all very well in no-brain theory but in practice there is a problem. Precisely because running is so bad for the legs, it becomes difficult to compete with runners who are either super thin, or used to the pounding their feet onto hard surfaces. You know you want to compete with runners, but at the same time you don’t want to be quite so self-destructive.
I found that after a couple of years on my bike, I could compete with runners coming in somewhere near the top 10-20% of older men but my legs would be like logs for days after a race. I took part in a 20K race and my legs turned to logs or like, stilts during the race. I was almost bedridden the following day. All to be expected, since cyclists probably do deserve legs of death, if they compete with runners, because they have not done the training suitable to the task.
Enter karate warm up stretching. The most important two things about about running fast is being fit and thin, or thin and fit. The third most important thing is being supple. If you don’t have the suppleness in your tendons your legs are going to turn to stone. Runners’ legs are supple, since not only have they warmed-up and stretched, but also they have practiced bashing their feet on tarmac over and over again. You do not need to do this. There is an easier, dare I say ‘more intelligent’, way.
I found that if I do leg stretching such as typical of karate warm-up exercises (see videos) not only before the fun run race but regularly, then this provides the suppleness that allows me to use my cyclists legs and cardiac fitness to compete with runners. Karate stretching is not the only stretch routine that would do the trick. But since karate involves a lot of high kicking, all karate practice starts with about 15 minutes of stretching pretty much all of the tendons in the legs.
It is not as if runners have special muscles. A lot of them have have legs that are so thin that they appear to have few muscles at all. Again it is not as if running is rocket science. One can impersonate a good runner’s, short, low, high-cadence, stride-style just by turning up and mimicking a runner on the day. Of course, if you do do a little bit of running (not enough to hurt yourself) before the race, or every month or two, then that will also help.
I have only just taken up (karate) stretching and I am still very stiff. If I continue with this stretching, and I am right about the theory, then by this time next year my legs will be as supple as a runners, and it seems to me that cycling gives me cardio-fitness to spare. Will I be able to make sub 40 minutes by the time I am fifty, running only yearly on race days? It is going to be exciting to find out.
1) I did run quite a lot, non-competitively, jogging to stay fit, till my late thirties. The above is not recommended to those that have never done any running.
2) I may have a big heart, or for reasons unknown, I have a low rest-state pulse rate, typically about 50 beats per minute when I am sitting down.
3) That said, I don’t think this about me. I cycle 6 hours or 160 km or so a week (mainly commuting). Cyclists that do distance this are generally fit and not overweight. My minor peculiarity is that I want to run, have run, do run, and also do the stretching too.
4) Cycling is not recommended to those that live in large cities. Cars may break your legs faster than running will. I do not live in a large city.
5) My legs do hurt today, two days after my 10k. I am not saying that karate stretching is going to make you float around the course. However, I have only done karate stretching about 10 times, for all of 2 and a half hours. I think that if I do continue with it, I will get a lot more supple.
6) Stretching is no fun at all. It is only because I have been accompanying my seven year old son to karate practice that, rather than just sitting and watching, I have had the motivation to join in the karate stretch routine. Without this motivational factor – my son’s karate practice – I think I would have found it very difficult to keep doing even only 15 minutes of stretching a week, weak willed person that I am.
7) It still remains to be seen whether I can really improve my running times simply by cycling and stretching. I will report back.
8) On the plus side (of CSR) while I was running two days ago, I did also do it in a sort of karate style! The karate instructor tells us to stand with knees bent, low waist and straight backed, on the balls of our feet. I felt as I was running, that I was sort of mimicking not only the runners but also karate stance, cushioning my foot-falls as a ran. In other words, I may have been really "karate-running", not just cyclo–stretch-running.
9) There is a new option now to make competitive cycling less fraught (but still dangerous): asynchronous competitive cycling as facilitated by Strava and in real-time against "ghosts" with GhostRider. BE CAREFUL.
2010 New Plans for Bristol’s historic Redcliffe area have been unveiled
Plans for offices, homes and a hotel as part of a major development aimed at reviving the heart of Bristol’s historic Redcliffe area have been unveiled.
Developer CEREP Redcliffe Sarl wants to knock down derelict warehouses and industrial buildings in St Thomas Street and replace them with a mixed-use development including a central public square.
Bristol City Council is considering the application for the two-acre site, which is bordered by Three Queens Lane and Redcliff Street.
Under the plans, four buildings up to eight storeys high would feature two office blocks with 16,000sq ft of space, 164 one and two-bedroom flats, a 250-room hotel, student accommodation, a medical centre and shops.
They would replace old buildings formerly used as a timber storage yard, including premises previously occupied by Patterson’s and Pilkington’s, and would be built above a basement car park with 60 spaces, 70 cycle spaces and 10 motorbike spaces.
The developers, part of the Carlyle Group, hope the planned public square, new pedestrian routes, extra seating, street trees, narrowed streets and shops will encourage more people into the area.
A statement, submitted with the application by GVA Grimley on behalf of the applicants, says: "The proposals are ideally suited to meeting the demands and pressures of the site, local area and region in a sustainable way.
"It is a unique opportunity to deliver a high-quality mixed-use scheme, which should not be missed.
"The proposals will not only provide a sensitive and sustainable redevelopment of this site but will also facilitate improvements to the public realm, education, community facilities, and visual amenity of this part of Redcliffe."
Consultation on the plans with groups including community organisation Redcliffe Futures and the Bristol Civic Society has been under way since July 2008 and designs have been revised since then. The Carlyle Group bought the site from Persimmon Homes in 2007.
The development would be part of the "Redcliffe Village" project for offices, homes and community facilities in an area bounded by Redcliff Street, St Thomas Street, Thomas Lane and Three Queens Lane. Outline planning permission for the village was given in 2002 and lasts until 2012.
St Thomas Street, Three Queens Lane and Redcliff Street, which are used as shortcuts by commuters, will all be narrowed as part of the whole project.
Redcliffe Village, which was designed to be built in 11 phases, was expected to create more than 660 apartments, eight live-in studio workshops, offices, a creche, a health and fitness centre, shops and restaurants. It is hoped that a £750,000 footbridge linking Redcliffe with Welsh Back will be built as part of the project.
Work to build a new £25-million Bristol Civil Courts Centre in Redcliff Street is already under way.
Last year, plans from developer Midshires Estates for a five-storey block of flats on the old Gas World showroom in Redcliff Street were refused because they were too high and too large.
The decision on CEREP Redcliffe Sarl’s application, which asks for detailed permission for the office buildings and outline permission for the rest of the development, is expected to be made by March.
2010 New hotel to go up near Temple Meads in Bristol
BRITAIN’S fastest-growing hotel chain is set to build a new 151-bed Travelodge in Bristol’s city centre.
The six-storey £8.5 million hotel will be built on the corner of Mitchell Lane and St Thomas Street, which is only five minutes’ walk from Temple Meads railway station. It will also be close to the new office quarter in Temple Quay and the Redcliff area, which is currently undergoing several regeneration projects.
Work on the new hotel, which is expected to create 40 jobs, is due to be completed within 12 months.
It will include a basement car park, a ground floor which has planning permission for retail, office, leisure and health care and five upper floors. Travelodge already has two hotels in the city, in Anchor Road near the docks and at Cribbs Causeway near the M5, but needs extra space due to growing demand.
Travelodge spokesman Steve Tyler said: “We are delighted to have secured a hotel in such a strong location in the heart of Bristol’s city centre, close to Temple Meads and all the first-class amenities that Bristol has to offer.”
Andrew Batchelor, a partner with Hartnell Taylor Cook independent commercial property
consultants, said: “Bristol’s economy continues to buck the national market with sustained confidence in its performance as a regional centre and destination for future business.
“This pre-let demonstrates the strength of the region and shows development remains achievable if the developer has the experience and the track record and a quality tenant can be identified.”
Richard Dean for CB Richard Ellis Investors, an international real estate investment management firm, said: “This site has been a challenge for us but we are delighted with the development deal we have concluded with Travelodge.”
The new Travelodge is the latest in a series of new hotels in Bristol.
Radisson Blu has opened a £20m hotel in the former Bristol and West tower while Future Inns has opened its Cabot Circus hotel next to the shopping centre.
Hotels are also planned for the former Hill House Hammond insurance building in Lewins Mead and York House, a disused office block at the junction of Bond Street and York Street.
This announcement is a more positive message from the hotel trade which has been in a delicate state due to the recession.
In March, occupancy rates were down 2.3 per cent from 68.5 per cent last year to 66.9 per cent this year. Average room rates dropped 4.9 per cent from £74.95 last year to £71.28 this year.
Image by Marion Doss
Little Creek, Va. (July 25, 2006) – U.S. Naval Sea Cadets work on their team swim during group physical fitness and water familiarization training. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two (EOD/MDSU-2) operations training is a three-week long course taught by EOD/MDSU-2. The course not only educates the sea cadets about Naval Special Warfare community but also emphasizes on teamwork and individual accomplishment in the team environment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kitt Amaritnant (RELEASED)