Learn to Move More
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The Fellowship of Sweat in a Spartanburg Running Club
Ned Barrett | 08/27/2018
If you look around Spartanburg, you’ll notice more of these kinds of groups—social events where people exercise.
Most Tuesday evenings for the last couple of years, you’ll find me running with the RJ Rockers Run Club. This event, hosted by Partners for Active Living and RJ Rockers, has become one of my can’t-miss dates. There are usually 20 or so runners who take on the 3-mile course with an option to add a mile. We run through Hampton Heights or Converse Heights or Wofford. It’s a pretty strong group of runners, and every week, it seems, there are a couple of new people. We encourage and push and hold each other accountable.
Or maybe we all want to come out on Tuesdays because we’ve come to like each other. Icee pops and water are free, and the beer Rockers sells helps support our mission. The community we create is real. Don’t get me wrong—I do most of my running solo. But as a social animal, I still like my group runs. We talk about everything and nothing, and the miles pass by sometimes unnoticed.
If you look around Spartanburg, you’ll notice more of these kinds of groups—social events where people exercise. There are other running groups that meet at different places, several bike rides from various locations every week, workout groups that coordinate through social media, and I see groups of friends walking or running on the MBF Rail Trail every day. When we talk about building community, this is part of the story.
Getting out takes discipline, but the “good-mornings” and waves on the Rail Trail, the fellowship of sweat, the beer and icee pops after a summer run, the “you-can-do-its” from your buddies and maybe the responsibility of showing up keep you going.
Learn more about the RJ Rockers Run Club.
Morning Walks at Cottonwood Trail
Ned Barrett | 08/15/2018
I started going to Cottonwood Trail in Spartanburg for its flatness and of course for its beauty. But now that I’ve started run...
Every morning for about three weeks, I walked with my dog Hope on the Cottonwood Trail in Spartanburg. For at least twenty minutes every morning, Hope explored her way - nose down -finding out who knows what about the world there.
I think it’s her reminder that has made this become a ritual. She holds me accountable in her way, looking up when I approach my shoes or the drawer where we keep the leashes. It’s something that I find more and more important for my own healthy habits.
I get a wake up walk at a slower pace than I’m used to. This habit started when I rolled my ankle running on July 4, 2017. My first thought was of chronic ankle injuries that really limited my friends’ running—not something I’m interested in. My running habit is at the top of my list.
So I committed to a slow but consistent rehabilitation. I started going to Cottonwood Trail for its flatness and of course for its beauty. But now that I’ve started running again, I want to keep my promise to Hope of a daily morning walk.
All along I’ve used various methods to hold myself accountable to my goals large and small, from telling my friends to raising money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research to being nudged by my current canine exercise partner. All have helped me maintain the motivation to stay active and healthy.
My Three Favorite Hikes in Spartanburg at Croft State Park
Ned Barrett | 08/15/2018
If you’re looking for a nice place to hike in the Upstate, these three trails at Croft State Park in Spartanburg, SC will give ...
If you’re looking for a nice place to hike in the Upstate, these three trails at Croft State Park are pretty easy in terms of terrain and way-finding. Each will give you a glimpse of a different element of the park, from lakeside to creekside to hillside.
- Lake Johnson Trail (1.5 miles) This trail loops around Lake Johnson, the smaller of the lakes at Croft State Park. With views of the lake nearly the entire time, this trail is a sure crowd pleaser. Add in that it is one of the least difficult trails at Croft and you have the makings of a wonderful family outing. This loop requires some road walking. Park at Lake Johnson (on Johnson Lake Road—I know) and start off behind the picnic shelter.
- The Nature Trail (1.5 miles) This trail starts near the riding ring in the center of the park, and parallels the Fairforest Creek for a good ways, then returns higher up the hillside above the creek. You also pass an old iron bridge near the site of Foster’s Mill, remnants from the long history of the Croft area. Park near the Park Office.
- Fern Gully Trail (1.75 miles total) The Fern Gully Trail itself is a little less than a mile long (it links two other sections
of trail for the loop), but it provides plenty of punch. Access to this trail is easiest from the Southside Park area; start off on Southside
Loop (either way). The first trail intersection you come to will be Fern Gully. The Trail traverses the drainages that flow down into the Fairforest
Creek through an established hardwood forest. Not much up-and-down here, but plenty of twists and turns.
Learn more about Croft State Park in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Walking: The Most Popular Form of Exercise
Follow these tips getting started and learn more about fitness walking
When it comes to simple ways to be healthy, walking is all the rage. Follow these tips getting started and learn more about fitness walking.
You can get active in lots of ways, but walking is one of the easiest! For most people, it’s safe, easy to stick with, and low- or no-cost. It doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. For such a simple activity, it has so many benefits.
For every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy for some people may increase by two hours. Research has shown that walking at least 150 minutes a week can help you:
- Reduce your risk of serious diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
- Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.
- Increase your energy and stamina.
- Improve your mental and emotional well-being.
- Boost bone strength and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
- Prevent weight gain.
If 150 minutes sounds like a lot, remember that even short 10-minute activity sessions can be added up over the week to reach this goal. And it’s easy to fit in 10 minutes of walking a few times a day.
Walking vs. Running
Did you know more Americans walk for fitness than run? Maybe you’re not that into running. Or maybe you’ve had an injury and can’t run anymore. Then just walk — every step counts. In fact, walking briskly can help your health as much as running, according to a 2013 research study.
How To Walk For Fitness
- Gear up. All you need to get started are comfortable clothes and supportive shoes. Keep your cool by layering clothing, because exercise raises your body’s temperature. Shoes designed for walking or running are best, but not required. Just make sure you have a little wiggle room (about half an inch) between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Avoid cotton socks because they retain moisture and can lead to blisters. (Who knew?!)
- Easy does it. If you’re out of shape, begin with short distances. Start with a stroll that feels comfortable (perhaps 10-15 minutes) and gradually increase your time or distance. If it’s easier on your body and your schedule, stick with a couple of 10- to 20-minute walks a day instead of one long walk.
- Focus on form. Keep your head lifted (no texting!), abs engaged and shoulders relaxed. Swing your arms naturally. Avoid carrying heavy items or hand weights because they can put extra stress on your elbows and shoulders – try a backpack instead. Stick to a comfortable, natural stride.
- Breathe. If you can’t talk or catch your breath while walking, slow down. At first, forget about speed. Just get out there and walk!
- Pick up the pace. To warm up, walk at an easy pace for the first several minutes. Then gradually increase your speed.
- Add variety and challenge. Try brisk intervals. For example, walk one block fast, two blocks slow and repeat several times. Over time you’ll be able to add more fast intervals with shorter recovery periods. Walking hills or stairs is a great way to increase muscle tone and burn more calories.
- Stretch. The end of your walk is a great time to stretch since your body is warmed up. Stretch your hamstrings, calves, chest, shoulders and back. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Track your progress. Fit walking into your schedule whenever you can. That may mean three 10-minute walks a day. When you can fit it in, longer walks will help you improve your stamina. Just remember your overall goal is at least 150 minutes each week.
Stay Safe While Walking
- Be alert. Listening to music while you walk can help keep you energized. And making phone calls is a good way to multitask. But if you use headphones, keep the volume low and watch out for traffic that you may not hear. Don’t text or stare at your device while walking, so you can keep your eyes on the road.
- Stand out. Wear light colors or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight or glow stick (it adds to the fun!) if you walk when visibility is low.
- Be street smart. Walking on sidewalks is best, but if you have to walk on the street, stick to streets with lower speed limits and make sure drivers can see you.
- Know the neighborhood. Note which businesses are open when you’ll be walking and the location of emergency telephones. Walk on well-traveled streets rather than taking shortcuts through alleys or parking lots.
- Stick together. Walk with a partner or in a group. Or bring your dog along -- you’ll both get healthier.
- Listen to your body. If you have foot, knee, hip or back pain when walking, STOP and check with your doctor to find out the cause. You may need different shoes or another form of activity like cycling or water exercise. But don’t give up! Find the activity that’s right for you.
Maybe you haven’t been active for a while. No problem! Just get started. It’s not all or nothing… it’s step by step. Even if you’re already active, here are some easy ways you can add more steps into your day:
- Grab the leash and take the dog out for a walk.
- Walk the kids to the park or playground.
- Forget about rock star parking. Park a bit farther from the entrance to your workplace, school, grocery store, restaurants, etc.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator, even if just for one or two floors.
- Walk to a nearby restaurant for lunch or dinner instead of driving.
- Catch up with a friend by walking around the block while you chat on the phone.
Just Move! One Step at a Time.
Mike Campbell | 05/29/2018
The furthest thing from TheFatGuy's mind was establishing a exercise program, riding a bike, going to the gym, anything that in...
One question I get from a lot of people is "What exercises did you do when you started, and what was the first thing you did to exercise?"
Well, when I started my journey, at almost 360 pounds, I did not want to do anything. I had not really been doing anything active, it just was too much to consider. I avoided steps with a passion. I had a bike in the garage that I would not ride because it was too uncomfortable. I felt I had no energy for moving and exercise. I was exhausted all of the time, taking 7 different medications, using a CPAP machine at night, and just plain felt horrible. The furthest thing from TheFatGuy's mind was establishing a exercise program, riding a bike, going to the gym, anything that involved lugging my 360 pound body from point A to point B.
So what did I do? For the first 6 weeks of my journey to ME, MY journey to fitness, I concentrated on researching my diet and how I could work toward something that would work for me. I concentrated on developing my log and my mental plan. I knew I needed to incorporate exercise into my plan, but I was determined to get my eating on track (under control) and dedicate myself to researching my diet and evaluating me.
The only thought that was in my head about exercise the first 6 weeks was JUST MOVE! Yep, that is it. I did it in digestible chunks one minute at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time, always moving forward. I did a lot of little things. I walked the dogs which was a huge deal to me. I picked up the dumbbells I had around the house and just did simple routines of no more than 30 minutes. I started walking up and down steps more which was a big deal for someone that avoided one flight of steps. By Day 29 I got on my bike for the first time in years. On Day 30 I walked 12 holes of golf before a blister got the best of me. On Day 34 I walked 1.5 miles at my in-laws house in Pickens on a hilly road. I kept it simple (KISS) and JUST MOVED.
Day 43 was my first day in a gym. I felt I was comfortable with the progress I had made with my diet and log. I had lost 27 pounds and was ready to challenge myself. I was ready to take those next steps. I figured out the path that worked for me. I knew I needed to start moving more at the beginning and that lead me to the gym and more structure in my exercise.
So now TheFatGuy that couldn't climb one flight of steps can do 122 straight reps of going up 17 bleachers and down 34 steps. I did it one step at a time!
Note to YOU and ME: JUST MOVE! Take that first step and then do it one step at a time!
This post was originally published at FatGuyDiary.com.
The Weirdest Workouts Across South Carolina
Heather Cooper Curtis | 05/29/2018
We're all a little weird, and so are these workouts. You won’t regret giving one of these offbeat sweat sessions in South Carol...
We’re all a little weird and so are these workouts:
Options range from Dance Trapeze Basics to Dance Trapeze 1 and 2, allowing for level advancement and a continued fitness challenge. Maya Movement Arts students start with basic trapeze entrances and exit, conditioning, transitioning, and balancing on and around the carbon bar. Approval is required by the studio owner, Kelly VanLeeuwen, to progress to the next level where inversions are addressed, endurance is focused on, and technique is refined. The website advises adhering to a strict dress code. Covering the armpits with a t-shirt and the back of knees with capris or pants are recommended. Clothing should be tight or form-fitting as to avoid getting caught or tangled in the apparatus. Layers are a good idea too, helping minimize bruising and scraping.
As the Gravitopia website quotes, “20 minutes of rebounding is equal to 1 hour of running, from a cardiovascular perspective…rebounding burns up to 1,000 calories per hour.” GravityFit is a style workout that puts less impact and strain on the joints.
Engage your abs, arms, shoulders, legs, and feet...yep, feet. An intimate, sensual, and empowering workout, pole sculpting mixes tricks and sits for a full-body conditioning workout. Improve flexibility and confidence in a zero-judgment environment. Consider Wicked Cycle-Boxing as the weird-workout runner-up at Wicked Fitness. You may have heard, seen, and/or experienced CycleRow or some variation of cycling and yoga but Cycle-Boxing is a new combination coming soon to the studio.
With five available plans to pick from (Personal Training, Antagonist Training for climbing, Pull-up Progression, Finger Strength Training, and Endurance Blast), Coastal Climbing provides a workout option for every fitness goal and level. Beginners should take a Quick Class or beginning climbing lesson before purchasing a Train package. Clients can expect to train independently 2-4 times per work for 10-12 weeks with occasional meetings (as needed) led by a qualified instructor. In the words of Miley Cyrus, “There's always gonna be another mountain, I'm always gonna wanna make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I'm gonna have to lose. Ain't about how fast I get there, ain't about what's waiting on the other side, it's the climb.”
If you live a fairly sedentary lifestyle, sitting for extended periods of time at a desk and/or computer then this is the workout for you. Go back to the basics and relearn how to use your body without unnatural compensation. Think crawling-variations and proper breathing exercises. This class will improve mobility, core strength and posture in a purposeful and playful method. All fitness levels are welcome.
Whether you go through fitness phases, are a Peloton-aholic, or haven’t found your groove yet, you won’t regret giving one of these offbeat sweat sessions a try.
Stay strong, stay fit + stay fabulous!
Become the Ultimate State Park Outsider
Deanna Anderson | 05/16/2018
Learn more about state park events with guided kayak and canoe tours and guided hikes.
Did you know that South Carolina has 47 state parks? If you love hiking and visit them all, you can become an Ultimate Outsider! Participation in the program is simple. Visit any state park office or website and purchase the Official Guide to South Carolina State Parks for a whopping $2.00.
The guide provides information on each park, its amenities, and popular activities. It also has space on each page to stamp every time you visit a start park. When all 47 have been stamped, ask a park ranger to verify by signing the form included in the guide, and mail it in. The t-shirt may not seem like a big deal, but the bragging rights are!
Studies show that spending time outside in the fresh air and sunshine increases metabolism, self-esteem, and vitality while decreasing fatigue, tension, and depression. Sunshine also provides us with essential Vitamin D, which increases bone health and cell growth and boosts immune systems.
State parks provide opportunities for running, walking, hiking, jogging, and mountain biking. Some offer added challenges such as wind resistance, rugged terrain, and variations of inclines. Visit coastal parks or ones with waterways for kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and stand-up paddle boards. Events are held throughout the year and provide visitors chances to learn how to participate in active competitions.
Learn more about state park events with guided kayak and canoe tours and guided hikes. As you exercise your way across the state, you will adopt a healthier lifestyle, see a lot of amazing natural and historical sights, and achieved the noble title of Ultimate Outsider!
Going for a Walk? Don't Forget your Fitness Tracker!
Meg Stanley | 05/10/2018
If you feel like you’re lacking motivation, a fitness tracker may be just what you need to get you back on track!
How many times have you thought … Monday is the Day! … 30 minutes of exercise? How will I fit that into my schedule between work and taking care of the kids?
Let’s face it: getting (or staying) in shape is intimidating.
The Surgeon General’s recommended thirty minutes of exercise may seem impossible to fit into your already-busy schedule, but you don’t have to do it all at once! Instead of viewing it as one (1) half-hour deviation from your day, break the time into shorter bursts and set a goal for the entire day.
Still can’t manage to incorporate a new fitness program into your routine? That’s okay. You are already doing something that will get you one step closer to being in shape: walking. It may not seem like a heart-pumping exercise, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about the number of steps you take. Ten thousand steps is a rough equivalent to the needed 30–60 minutes of movement each day.
Luckily, we live in a world in which technology exists to help us. Fitness trackers are great tools for helping us count our steps. Most fitness trackers are bracelets or clips that measure steps taken and distance covered in a day. A simple pedometer is a great and affordable option for tracking steps.
However, more advanced fitness trackers analyze more than just steps taken. FitBit, JawBone, Apple, and Garmin are just a few brands that make fitness trackers–there are tons to choose from. These high-tech trackers measure steps, calories in, calories out, sleep quality, and more. Some fitness trackers even have heart rate capabilities to measure calories burned through forms of exercise that don’t involve walking or running.
So which one should you choose? Well, it depends entirely on your needs and your technological savvy. Simple is often best to keep you on target. Don’t overwhelm yourself with extra “bells and whistles” you don’t need.
Most trackers sync with an app on your mobile device or computer and allow you to monitor your progress throughout the day. Not surprisingly, the less expensive trackers are also simpler: the FitBit Zip ($49.95) is a clip-on tracker that monitors steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes. The FitBit Surge ($199.95), however, is the ultimate fitness watch: it tracks distance, pace, heart rate, calories, sleep, and even allows you to sync your music, calls, and texts from your mobile device.
Most trackers also have an interactive feature: you can add friends on the mobile app and challenge one another to fitness face-offs. Not into group fitness? You can also embark on individual challenges and earn badges for your healthy accomplishments.
Before you purchase a fitness tracker, consider what you’ll be using it for. This chart from Dick’s Sporting Goods provides a helpful comparison of some of the different fitness trackers. Find one that feels comfortable on your wrist or clothing–it doesn’t matter how many fancy features a tracker has, you aren’t going to wear it if it’s constantly annoying you.
Wearable technology is moving in the right direction. It has never been easier to set a fitness goal and actually see yourself working toward it each day. If you feel like you’re lacking motivation, a fitness tracker may be just what you need to get you back on track!