Why Swim?

Why Swim?

If swimming laps is of interest to you, then you should do it, and here are just some reasons why:

Stress relief – Yes, all exercise will help with this. However, it is shown that being in the water helps reduce sensory overload and this has a calming influence on the body (like taking a bath). This is also due to the constant stretching and rhythmic breathing which can be meditative, similar to yoga.

Total body workout – in addition to achieving your cardio goals, you are also getting in your strength training due to the resistance of the water. Combine this with the flexibility necessary to adapt to the water and the engagement of muscles that often go underutilized and swimming becomes a one stop exercise shop!

Cross training – Swimming will help improve your overall fitness level and also eliminates the pounding your body takes on land.

Swimming makes you smarter – Blood flow to the brain is increased when the body is submerged in the water. Your body also learns to use oxygen more efficiently due to restricted breathing when you swim which can result in a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure.

Swimmers may actually live longer – Researchers at the University of South Carolina looked at 40,547 men aged 20 to 90, for over 32 years. The results showed that those who swam had a 50 percent lower death rate that runners, walkers, or men who didn’t exercise.

If these aren’t good enough reasons to get in the water and swim some laps, then just think about how much more confident you’ll be on your next tropical vacation if you take advantage of the Aquatics facilities at Columbia Athletic Clubs.

For questions about our specific club Aquatics facilities, contact the following:

For Juanita Bay, email us at jbcswim@columbiaathletic.com.
For Pine Lake, email us at vincentc@columbiaathletic.com.
For Silver Lake, email us at slcswim@columbiaathletic.com.

Steps to a Better Tennis Game

How Good Do You Want To Be In Tennis? It Depends On How Many Steps You Take.

How do the pros we watch on television make it look so easy and effortless? Try to notice how they move; smooth and organized. Their constant flow creates energy and when organized with purpose it translates into incredible power. Over 20 years ago I attended a Tennis convention led by USPTA Master Professional Ken DeHart, one of our best teaching pros in the business and a mentor of mine. It was Ken who back in the 90’s related the number of steps in between tennis shots with level of play. It was simple, if you wanted to get better, take more steps. His equation looked something like this:

  • 3.0 players generally take 2 to 4 steps between shots
  • 3.5 players generally take 4 to 6 steps between shots
  • 4.0 players generally take 6 to 8 steps between shots
  • College level players take 8 to 10 steps between shots
  • Professional players take 10 to 12+ steps between shots.

Keep in mind that these step counts are an average, which means things fluctuate. These steps can be broken up into Recovery steps, Split-steps and Positioning/Adjustment steps. Recovery steps are those steps that should immediately follow any shot you just hit to help you prepare for the anticipation of your opponents next shot. Try not to stand still and watch your shot; you should be recovering and anticipating what your opponent is about to do.

The Split-step is meant to prepare you to change direction in order to go get the next ball. So up to this point after you hit your shot, you’re recovering to a good position on court based on where you think your opponent is going to hit the ball and when they are about to hit the ball you split step. The Split-step should leave you balanced and ready to take off for the ball that is now on its way back to you.

On your way to the ball, you have Positioning or Adjustment steps, often times referred to as the little steps as you get closer to the ball to put yourself in better position to hit the ball. This is hard for the Recreational player who often times arrives to the ball not prepared to hit or they overrun the ball or miscalculate the incoming shot trajectory or bounce. This struggle often occurs because the player didn’t recover very well and they are now scrambling to get to the next shot.

You want to improve your level of play, improve how you move and what you focus on in between shots and the game will slow down for you and you’ll find you’ll be in better position for your next shots. Start with your Recovery steps, create a good flow leading up to your Split-step and once you’re on the move to the ball make sure you have a plan before you arrive to the ball (where, why & how) your Positioning or Adjustments steps will be more decisive and precise and your shots more accurate. Get better, take more steps, but understand which steps YOU need to improve!

-By: Mark Bergman, CAC – Silver Lake Tennis Director

The Nutrition Top 5

The trends of health and wellness can be very confusing at times. Nutrition is often one of the most confusing aspects of wellness. Nutrition advice changes very frequently and controversy is common even among professionals. In my health coaching, I have found it is most productive to ensure the food you eat is simply clean. The following are my five guidelines for making healthy food choices. I have found these guidelines are effective in providing a healthy foundation for food consumption. These guidelines along with routine exercise have been shown to lead to weight management.

Drink more Water. Proper hydration is one of the most effective ways to increase your overall wellness. Drinking adequate daily volumes of water will lead to higher energy levels and help to increase your time spent asleep. Furthermore, drinking more water has been proven to increase metabolic activity. This metabolic increase ultimately will lead to burning more calories each day. My favorite tip is to establish a habit of drinking three glasses of water an hour before each meal.

Eat Whole Clean Foods. Look for foods that have not been processed and contain minimal ingredient lists. You should start to make a habit of reading ingredient lists on all food labels. I like to ask myself, can the food be found on a farm? Has the food undergone multiple changes to reach an edible state? Not all your food will go straight from harvest to table but you want a high percentage of your food consumption to be clean.

Fresh is Best. There is no denying the importance of fruits and vegetables in a balanced diet. Did you know not every vegetable is created equal? Look to select vibrant colored vegetables as they hold more vitamins and minerals. I always encourage my clients to be creative in the way they eat vegetables. Trying new combinations and fun ways of cooking vegetables can bring new rich flavors to your old favorites.

Do not fear Fats. Healthy fats are an important and vital part of balanced nutrition. Healthy fats help to curb appetite and provide essential physiological function. Avoid foods that are branded as low fat options. Often foods marketed to be low in fat are high in sugar and processed ingredients. I like to include healthy fats from legumes and fish in every diet plan.

Don’t Fall for a Fad. The nutrition industry is fueled by constantly changing diets and tricks. Be sure to avoid any nutrition information that has not been researched and proven. Keep in mind that foods can be marketed as a healthy food and still lack nutritional content. Every time you consider starting a diet talk to a healthcare professional first.

Were you successful with your fitness New Year resolution? Have you become burnt out with dieting and restricted eating? Traditional dieting adds an additional life stress. This additional stress results in detrimental cycles of weight loss and gain. Here is the good news – You can lose weight by making proven and sustainable lifestyle changes. Following a nutritional sound diet and bringing awareness to your eating patterns will drive sustained body transformation.

Be sure to sign up with our nutritionist Joshua today to start your journey to fuller health.


Summer Hiking Tips

Summer is here and if you prefer to stay local here are a few fitness tips that you can use out on the trail while hiking. Following these will help keep you active and pain free.

Listen to your thirst. Starting to feel thirsty is the first sign of dehydration. Be sure to pack a water bottle or hydration pack regardless of the hike length.

Choose your shoes wisely. Hiking trails often include uneven terrain. This can be very fatiguing on the muscles and fascia of your foot if you lack proper footwear. During long hikes, I recommend having a shoe that provides ankle support and a rigid bottom.

Keep your skin dry. Moisture wicking clothing can be helpful while exercising outside. This is especially imperative for your feet. I recommend a wool or synthetic blend sock. At times it can be helpful to have a change of clothes just in case.

Protect your shoulders. While carrying a backpack hiking you want to keep the weight off your shoulders and on your back. This can be done by choosing a backpack that fits properly and includes a waist strap. To fit the straps properly you will want the lower straps resting on your hips and 90% of the weight sitting on your hips. Always make sure the backpack doesn’t place any weight on your neck and will not slide as you move.

If you have further questions please reach out and I look forward to seeing you on the trails!


Camps, Classes and Programs for Your Kids

Camps, classes and programs are an opportunity for growth for all ages! CAC participants experience new adventures, opportunities and challenged both mentally and physically. Our programs include games, both indoors and out, obstacle courses, team-building, arts and crafts, science experiments, family fun nights, swimming, tennis, golfing and much, much more. All departments strive to offer a wide variety of programming to meet the needs of our members and non-members within our community.

Columbia Athletic Clubs provides a gateway for participants to unplug from technology. Kids and adults engage and contribute in real world interactions, build friendships through physical activity and share goals, while leaving the tablets, phones, and computers at home.

Need a creative outlet? Our summer camps offer experiences to design, build, and decorate their own projects using blocks, Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and other household items. Camps offer participants an opportunity to be unique, and be creative all the while engaging with one another and working together. We do everything from building Minecraft worlds with cardboard boxes, making friendship bracelets made with yarn or training like Star Wars Jedi’s.

Everyone has an open door to learn something new. Whether it’s a new game (Geezer ball, anyone?) a dance like hula and Tahitian dancing, an exercise class like boot camp, or a science experiment during summer camps, swimming lessons, all CAC Programs help develop lifelong skills. We are dedicated to creating a learning environment for adults and youths to learn how to play tennis, swim, golf, take a fitness class and basketball.

We encourage kids and parents to participate, move and learn together! Family fun nights are a great way to interact with your kids and enjoy playing a game like dodgeball, pickle ball, badminton, or swim and watch a movie in the pool. Every month we change the activity, our most popular family fun night is Nerf Wars!

For information about our summer camps, classes and programs, please check out our Summer Camp Page. We look forward to seeing you and your family!

-Bari Dockens, Program Director, CAC-Silver Lake, barid@columbiaathletic.com.

How You can Battle Plantar Fasciitis

If you’re active, you’ve probably experienced foot pain at some point. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of foot pain, affecting 1 out of 10 Americans at some point in their lives. I have experienced it myself a couple of times. If you have pain in your heel or arch that’s worse in the morning, following long periods of sitting or standing, or feels better during activity and worse after, you might have a case of plantar fasciitis.

What is plantar fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that attaches at your heel and runs to your toes. It provides structure to the arch of your foot and acts like a shock-absorbing sling when you walk. Repetitive stretching and trauma to the tissue can cause microtears to develop, resulting in pain. The most common causes are:

  • Certain types of exercise, typically high-impact like running, jumping, or dancing
  • Poor foot mechanics (flat-footed or high arches)
  • Obesity
  • Standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time

The most common symptom is sharp pain under the heel, most often felt first thing in the morning when you step out of bed. Your plantar fascia has just spent hours in a shortened position (toes pointed under the covers) trying to heal overnight, and then you step out of bed, abruptly stretching it as your foot hits the floor. The microtears keep recurring.

What can you do about it?

For active people, runners especially, plantar fasciitis can really throw a wrench in the works. But there are several things you can do to keep yourself on your feet:

  • Catch it early. Don’t let yourself be lulled into ignoring your plantar fasciitis because you only feel it in the morning. Chronic heel pain can lead to compensation in your gait and create even more issues up the kinetic chain into your knee, hip, or low back.
  • Wear a plantar fasciitis splint to bed. You can find these at most drug stores, and they’re not uncomfortable to sleep in. The splint keeps your ankle flexed so your plantar fascia isn’t in a shortened position all night. When the microtears heal, they heal with the fascia at a proper length. It also avoids the abrupt stretch as your foot hits the floor. If you’re opposed to sleeping in the splint, this simple trick can help: before getting out of bed, roll your ankle around and point and flex your toes to stretch the plantar fascia before bearing any weight on it.
  • Ice after workouts or long days on your feet. Freeze a water bottle and roll it around under your foot for an ice massage.
  • Strengthen your calves and feet. Calf raises, toe walking, and toe scrunches will help build stability in your arch and reduce the stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Wear shoes with proper support for your foot. Visit a reputable running store (like our local Plateau Runner) where they do a basic gait analysis before making shoe recommendations. If you have structural issues like flat feet or high arches, you may need additional corrective support from inserts or orthotics.

You can implement these strategies as soon as you notice symptoms, but as with any chronic pain, it’s still important to see your doctor to rule out other conditions.

Nikki Brown, CSCS

The Family that Plays Together Stays Together!

With winter coming to an end, spring is the perfect time to start getting outside with the kiddos to start a new family adventure. To some, the idea of packing up the entire family to go in search of a good time can be a little overwhelming; we have narrowed it down to (what we think) are some pretty awesome escapes sure to please everyone in your family! Lucky for us, the greater Seattle area has countless outdoor recreation activities for all ages and levels of fitness. Whether you are looking for parks, hiking, trails, water play, or anything in between, the Puget Sound has it!

For the water lovers…

This one is for you Silver Lakers! Willis Tucker Park in Everett features a totally fun and interactive splash pad. Water domes, ‘aqua jumpers’, a volcano, and The Silverflow Cannon are just some of the things you can expect to enjoy! Do note that from 2:30 to 3:30pm, the water is shut off for daily maintenance – just in time for a nap!

If you’re in search of a great spot for younger kiddos, the Sammamish Commons Park has an awesome button-operated splash park in the lower commons area. It also has a playground, swings, and a sand pit! Venture up to the upper commons area and there is a popular skate park for the older kids and teens. Added bonus – if you hit this park on a Wednesday, you can catch the farmers market that runs from 4 to 8pm!

Crossroads Spray Park in Bellevue is an easy place to love! This spray park is a celebration of aquatic wonders, complete with a life-sized orca to climb on, sea anemones who squirt water, and spitting frogs. Hang out in the spray park or head off to the awesome playground for even more summer fun. Try hitting this place on a weekday as this beloved park gets busy on the weekends.

For the outdoorsy types…

For a well-manicured park and beach right in the city, try Clyde Beach Park in Bellevue. The sloping lawn ends in a mini-amphitheater where you’ll find a pirate ship-themed playground with the beach just below. With tons of great (and some shaded) picnic spots, this park gets busy quickly, so venture out early!

Discovery Park is a 534 acre natural park in Seattle (Magnolia) that has 11.80 miles of trails, a play area, basketball courts, and tennis courts – there is quite literally something for everyone in the family here. You can enjoy a self-guided Salmon Bay Walking Tour or head over to Daybreak Star Center which is host to beautiful permanent exhibits as well as regularly changing galleries of local Native American artists. Discovery Park is also home to West Point Lighthouse. From the lighthouse you can enjoy stunning views of the Puget Sound, sit on the rocks, and watch the sailboats passing by.

If you think of going to the park as something you can only do during the day, you have not been to Golden Gardens Park in Seattle (Ballard)! This public park comes alive in the evenings and is a great way to end the day. Start your afternoon off on the sandy beaches or play a family game of volleyball or basketball. Getting exhausted? Head over to the to the designated fire pit areas where you can spend the night roasting hotdogs and making gooey s’mores.

For the adventurers…

Looking for something different to do with the kids but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Go climb the REI Rock Climbing Pinnacle (Seattle). This 65 foot tall rock has a variety of different routes one can take based on their own ability. Whether this is your first time climbing or you are a climbing guru, Pinnacle has got a route for you! Starting at $15 you can make a single climb reservation in 15-minute or 30-minute increments. Times are Fridays 1:30 to 6:30pm (walk-ins only), Saturdays 11am to 7pm, and Sundays 11am to 7pm.

One of the best kept secrets is the Center for Wooden Boats (South Lake Union) which offers free boat rides on Sundays! There is no better way to spend your Sunday afternoon taking a nice leisurely sail around Lake Union. In the spring and summer spots do fill up so get there a little bit early because it is based on first-come, first-serve basis starting at 10am.

There’s no cheaper way to cruise Elliott Bay than the Seattle Water Taxi! $4.75 buys you a 15-minute ride from Pier 50 on the downtown waterfront to Seacrest Park in West Seattle. From there, take one of two free shuttle buses offered. Either head up the hill to check out the shops and restaurants at the West Seattle Junction, or over to explore West Seattle’s beautiful Alki Beach. Once at Alki, you can rent bikes or kayaks at an affordable price. The Water taxi runs all week long from April through October, and on weekdays in the off-season.

We are so fortunate to live in an area that has more adventures to offer than we could ever accomplish, but it is a great time to start checking a few off this list. Always remember that camps at CAC run during school breaks and all summer long which is ideal when parents want to do an adventure of their own or when they need to show up for their 9-to-5 gig.

Looking for some fun and healthy in-club summer activities for your children? We are offering some amazing camps this summer.

Here are some of the benefits of joining a camp.

Camp Kids will:

  • Spend their day being physically active – Children spend so much time these days inside and mostly sitting down, camp provides a wonderful opportunity to move.
  • Experience success and become more confident
  • Gain resiliency
  • Unplug from technology – When kids take a break from TV, cell phones, and the Internet, they rediscover their creative powers and engage the real world— real people, real activities, and real emotions.
  • Develop life-long skills
  • Grow more independent
  • Have free time for unstructured play
  • Learn social skills
  • Reconnect with nature
  • Make true friends – Camp is the place where kids make their very best friends. Free from the social expectations pressuring them at school, camp encourages kids to relax and make friends easily.

To find your club’s camp information, see our summer camp page.

Put a little Yoga in your New Year!

Workout fads come and go, but virtually no other exercise program is as enduring as yoga. Believe it or not, it’s been around for more than 5,000 years!

Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles. It’s a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation.

The benefits of yoga have been long established and touted through the health and fitness community. Yoga can increase flexibility and strength, improve balance, help manage stress and fine tune mental focus. Those that participate in yoga lose weight, decrease blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol. There is a vast growing body of research that shows yoga can help combat health issues, such as chronic pain, fatigue, asthma, and obesity.

There are more than 100 different forms of yoga. Some are fast-paced and intense, while others are gentle and relaxing. Here at CAC - Silver Lake, we offer variety of classes to appeal to all levels of participant.
Examples of different yoga forms include:

Vinyasa: A series of poses that flow smoothly into one another.

Power: A faster, higher-intensity practice that builds muscle.

Hot Yoga: Also known as Bikram Yoga. A series of 26 challenging poses performed in a room heated to a high temperature.

Yin: A slow steady practice that is often stationary. Using props, postures are held for several minutes allowing body to soften and nourish fascia and joints.

Hatha: The form most often associated with yoga, it combines a series of basic movements with breathing.
The intensity of your yoga workout depends on which form of yoga you choose. Techniques like hatha and yin yoga are gentle and slow. Hot yoga and power yoga are more powerful and intense.

Great news–Yoga is a full-body workout! If you’re hoping to strengthen and define your mid-section, there are yoga poses to target just about every core muscle. With yoga, you don’t build arm strength with free weights or machines, but with the weight of your own body. Some poses, like the plank, spread your weight equally between your arms and legs. Others, like the crane and crow poses, challenge your arms even more by making them support your full body weight. Yoga poses work all sides of the legs, including your quadriceps, hips, and thighs. Yoga squats, bridges, and warrior poses involve deep kneebends, which give you a more sculpted rear. Moves like downward-facing dog, child’s pose, and cat/cow give your back muscles a good stretch. It’s no wonder that research finds yoga may be good for relieving a sore back.

Because yoga poses stretch your muscles and increase your range of motion, with regular practice, they’ll improve your flexibility. Yoga isn’t considered aerobic exercise, but the more athletic varieties, like power yoga, will make you sweat. And even though yoga is not aerobic, some research finds it can be just as good as aerobic exercise for improving health.

Yoga is a “practice” and is non-competitive! As you continue to come to class, you’ll see improvements in the way you look and feel. If you haven’t tried yoga before, now is a great time to attend a class. Bring a friend and introduce yourself to the instructor—they’ll get you started on your way to a successful yoga practice.

For more information on Yoga classes offered at our clubs, visit these pages:

Juanita Bay, Pine Lake, Silver Lake