Your October Resolution

Your October Resolution

Did you know that many consider October to be the new New Year’s resolution month for parents?

It’s true. Think about it, you just spent the last 3 months caring for your kids, finding a ton of things to do to keep them busy so their needle isn’t stuck on the “Mom and Dad… I’m BORED” record. It’s not enough that you took two vacations, spent a third of your annual salary within a month and gave your kids an experience that you would have died for when you were that age. You can see the finish line coming and you’re joyfully shopping for pens, pencils of all colors, various paper pads and folders knowing that fall is on its way. It’s almost like Christmas time when you were a kid… but not quite.

So October is here and now you can barely contain yourself long enough to wave at them as they walk out the door with that huge backpack on. You’ve made up your mind to do something nice for yourself for a change and after the initial day or three where you rush them out the door and go back to bed or finish up that novel you started and stopped 8 times since the first flight in June.

Even if you aren’t a parent, it’s your turn and it’s a new year, as it were, and it is a great opportunity to make a change. You’ve been craving normalcy for weeks now and having a consistent schedule couldn’t be a more perfect time to start a new healthy program for yourself. It might be as simple as cutting carbs in your diet or as extensive as doing exercise classes several times a week or hiring a personal trainer. If you’re having a hard time deciding here are some suggestions:

Learning Meditation: There are scientific studies that show the many benefits of meditating. It’s suggested that meditating can help improve your mood, reduce stress, lessen anxiety and improve your brain’s ability in decision making, self-control and sensory perception. Meditating, once you learn how, can be very easy to do.

Do Planks every day: Doing plank exercises every day is a fantastic way to slim down your mid-section, strengthen your core and improve your posture. There are many resources on how to do them correctly online and at the club. Your results can be amazing even if you only start doing them for as little as 5 minutes per day. As always, start slow to avoid any possible injury and please consult your physician before starting any new workout routine.

Move More: Living a sedentary life tends to have some potentially serious consequences later on in life. It will make you more likely to be overweight and it puts you at a higher risk of health issues. It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as you’re raising your heart rate. Take a walk, get up every 20 minutes and move around or stretch, join a dance class, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park further away when you do your errands. All of these help get your blood moving, create oxygen flow and generally will help make you feel better.

Eat fewer calories: For the most part, people use resolution times to make changes in their appearance and most will opt to get smaller. Consuming fewer calories will more likely set you in that direction. Carrying excess weight puts us at a greater risk for a lot of different health problems that include diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. If you gained weight over your vacation I recommend that you eat smaller portions moving forward and keep your body moving.

Let’s have a great rest of the year!

-Dan Engle

10 Reasons why your Kids should Golf

Make no mistake about it, when you introduce your kids to the game of golf, you are providing them with one of the most valuable gifts of developing skills and abilities that will last a lifetime. Here are 10 reasons why golf is good for kids:

1. Anyone Can Play: Golfers come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be particularly strong, tall, lean or fast to succeed in this sport. You will learn how to take care of your body through this sport to perform at the level you desire.

2. Minimal Risk: Unlike many other sports like soccer, football, baseball theses are physically involved and the chances of injury – even series injury are always possible.
In golf – this is a non-contact sport, and serious injuries are almost non-existent.

3. Positive and Safe Environment: The golf course and driving range are safe places that facilitate instruction of sportsmanship, manners, courtesy, respect, honesty and integrity, to name a few. When you are involved in golf you learn more than a sport.

4. Lifelong Friendships: You never know who you will meet on the golf course, but it’s one of the easiest places to make friends. People who play golf are by in large very successful. Best of all – golf creates a unique bond so those friendships can be developed all over the world and last a lifetime!

5. Prepare for Business: It’s hard to think about it now, but kids grow up and the people they meet as children can play a huge part in their success later in life. Golf is a sport that helps prepare kids and teens for careers in business and other professional arenas. 

6. Time spent OUTDOORS: In today’s world of video games, smart phones, and childhood obesity, it can be hard to drag your daughter or son off the couch to play outside. Golf is the perfect excuse to spend an entire day enjoying nature and presents the opportunity to develop healthy lifelong exercise habits!

7. Important Life Lessons: Golf closely parallels real life as one experiences highs and lows of the game. The range of experience, from birdies to bogeys, rewards a young person’s ability to keep each shot in perspective, manage one’s emotions, maintain a positive outlook and focus on the shot at hand. Golf is a sport that will teach your child things like integrity, discipline and respect. As they learn to conduct themselves on the golf course, these lessons will translate directly into everyday life (See

8. College Scholarships: Avid golfers have a lot of opportunities when it comes to college funding. The earlier your child starts, the greater his or her chance is of gaining access to scholarship funds – and as the price of college education continues to soar, wouldn’t it be grand to have this as a potential carrot for any parent? 

9. Spend time with Family: Golf is a game that encourages family participation. When children are young, they enjoy doing just about anything with you. Golf is an opportunity for quality bonding time and it’s one that can last a lifetime!

10. It’s FUN: This should probably be at the top of the list, but one of the best reasons to get your daughter or son involved with golf is that they’ll have an absolute blast. They’ll have a chance to learn new skills both physical and mental, make new friends and discover new opportunities. There are a million things you can buy your kids or gift your kids in the hope that it helps them learn and grow, only a few make a real impact.  Encouraging them to play golf is one!

-Excerpted from Golf Range “10 ten reasons” – Published by Andrew Wood, Colleague in Golf, Author, #1 Marketing support  person to Golf Professionals all around the world.

Next Steps:

Get your kids into a camp or program here at the range or anywhere you live. Get them a Youth on Course Membership at Washington State Golf Association This program saves money at many facilities in the state of Washington, where kids play for reduced fees.

Call the Range at 425.338.2424 and ask what camp, class or program is best for your daughter or son. 

8 Yoga Benefits for Kids

Yoga has become main stream for adults in recent years, but have we ever considered sharing the practice with our children? Yoga can benefit kids significantly, and in some ways, possibly even more so than it nourishes adults. Here are just some of these benefits:

(1) Yoga is non-competitive.
In today’s world, we hear so much about being the best and achieving the most. Yoga teaches kids that their bodies are different; different bodies do different things and all of them are okay. There is no one better or worse at yoga than anyone else; we are all just exploring our bodies and learning from them in our own way. Yoga is truly for everybody.

(2) Yoga teaches self-acceptance.
In the same way that it provides children an opportunity to learn something that is non-competitive, it also teaches kids to accept and cherish themselves as they are. Again, with society sending so many messages of inadequacy, yoga teaches kids to love themselves.
Learned young, this incredibly valuable lesson arms kids with the tools to fight off the increasing feelings of self-doubt that come during the teen years and beyond.

(3) Namaste: The light in me sees the light in you.
Yoga teaches acceptance and tolerance of others. In practicing yoga, kids learn early in life that all living beings are to be cherished and respected as they are, thus helping to create more peaceful local communities and a more peaceful world in our future.

(4) Yoga encourages healthy habits.
Any exercise program begun in childhood helps kids to remain physically active and healthy as a lifestyle. However, yoga takes that further by teaching not only the healthy habits mentioned above, but also a healthy approach to eating and the ability to calm oneself and focus the mind.

(5) Focus. Focus. Focus.
We live in a world of distractions. More and more these days, kids seem unable to focus on anything for any decent length of time. Yoga can help with that. It teaches kids to be present, and to concentrate and focus on their breathing. They learn how the breath can help them throughout the day, in any situation. They learn to focus on the pose by learning correct body alignment, and in so doing, learn to focus on their bodies and how they function – guiding each limb or part of the body through the nuances of the pose.

(6) Yoga teaches calming techniques.
Young kids deal with frustration most typically by crying and throwing tantrums. When they learn proper, healthy breathing techniques and tools to focus the mind, they begin to learn how to apply those tools in their everyday lives and to react appropriately to any situation. I know as an adult, I see improvements in this area in myself. Just imagine if I had learned more of these techniques as a child!

(7) Children learn self-awareness through yoga.
Again, in guiding their bodies through the poses, children learn more about their bodies and what they are capable of. They learn more about their minds, and how they can affect not only their own attitudes and approaches to life, but also the attitudes of others.

They learn that they can achieve this through their own thoughts and how they choose to react to any given situation. This awareness of the body, mind and spirit, and of what can be achieved when all three work together, helps children develop into more confident, kind, responsible adults.

(8) Yoga supports positive mental health in children.
All of the above benefits tie together. When children learn to accept and love themselves for who they are, to see the good in others, to focus and calm their minds, and to be aware of their innate capabilities, they learn tools for resilience.

They are more likely to be positive and optimistic about life and their abilities, and will hopefully be less likely to succumb to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that are so prevalent today.

Maybe most importantly, yoga teaches children that relaxation is not only allowed; it is encouraged. Relaxing is not easy and learning to relax takes practice. Yoga provides space for the mind to slow down and settle.

Children are always told that they need to be engaged and productive. Their little minds are leaping from one activity to another all day long, often right up until they crash at bedtime. Yoga teaches kids that it doesn’t have to always be like that.

If children can learn how to relax and be still, they will be able to handle better the stressors and pressures that will begin to hit them as they get older.

Children are actually natural yogis. Their innate trust in others, combined with their lack of inhibitions, allows them to receive the teachings of yoga and grow from them in inspiring ways. Adults have a lot to learn from the way children receive yoga! If we can lead them there, they will not only benefit, but they will enjoy it immensely.

Reprinted from Do You Yoga website.

Summer Camps at CAC

Ah spring, the days grow longer, the temperatures start to rise (maybe?) and you can finally turn your attention to not just getting through winter but planning for the coming months. Maybe a garden, maybe a spring trip, perhaps a weekday round of golf, and of course your families’ plans for the summer.

However, summer, while lots of fun, can be a trial for a lot of families as well. With no school or sports scheduled, it can be challenging to find activities that not only allow parents time to work, but also provide important physical and mental engagement for children. While there are many options to combat days of video games and TV time, one you may want to consider is a week or two (or three or four!) of camp at CAC.

CAC Camps are a great way for children to spend their summer, and provide a number of key elements to healthy growth and stimulation in the following months, including the following:

Peer engagement:

Camps provide a platform for social interaction between children from different communities, schools, ages, and groups, all under the engaging and watchful eyes of Program staff and supervisors. This interaction builds social skills and helps develop friendships and experiences that are so important to childhood experience and development.

Physical activity:

The CDC recommends children of all ages engage in a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity a day. At CAC camps, kids will get much more than that, in a wide variety of formats including free play, organized sports, swimming, and even specialty activities like tennis, golf, hiking, and more.

Mental stimulation:

CAC camps are learning environments where children engage in a variety of artistic and problem-saving scenarios. It’s the perfect balance between learning and fun, and can serve as an academic bridge between the school year.

As you plan your summer months consider Camps at CAC for your little ones. Camps are available for children age 4-12 at all CAC facilities, and more information can be found by contacting the Programs Department at your Club. We hope to see you and your family this summer!

Check out our 2019 selection of Summer Camps here.

Celebrate the Month of Love

Remember, 2019 is your year. I can feel it! This is the year of no excuses and the year to be good to you.

February is typically the month where many tend to focus on your special relationship. Whatever the relationship you choose to celebrate you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of that someone special. So let’s celebrate the month of love by showing some love to our own selves by taking care of our mind and body. You can incorporate taking care of yourself with the love you show to your significant other and your family.

There are a lot of us that sacrifice a lot for our family or our significant other that takes its toll on our body and mind. For most of us this is a choice out of love and goodness of our heart so we need to prepared to do it well.

Some of us work a lot of hours (guilty here) and by the time you get home you’re not able or willing to take time to take care of yourself. It’s the family or significant other first then dinner then bed. If you’re like me you go a million miles an hour during the day and very actively do not sit down too quickly once you get home because you’re absolutely done for the night if you do. If this is your situation you can take some steps during the day to help out.

Here are a few ways you can help feel great in your body and your mind while you’re away from your family:

  • Stay Hydrated – keep a bottle of water with you at your desk and in your car.
  • Avoid Sugar – Limit the trips to the candy bowls scattered throughout the office.
  • Avoid complacency – Stand while you take that phone call go take a walk while you’re on your break.
  • Go the extra mile – Park further away in the parking lot and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

When you’re with your significant other or your family try to do some things during that time that are healthy in mind and body for all of you:

  • Go to the park – spring is coming and taking a walk or playing a ball game outside is great exercise and a great way to bond with your family and get some air.
  • Take a group exercise class – CAC - Silver Lake caters to families and offer classes for everyone.
  • Get the bikes out – A family bike ride on some of the trails of our beautiful state is a fantastic way to stay healthy and bond with one another.
  • Family Fun Nights – Many places have these programs. Our club has one every month that includes activities such as Movies in the pool, family yoga, family badminton, family dodgeball and Nerf wars.

Some of us might find ourselves spending this month alone. Many of us make this an active choice but many of us don’t and it can potentially cause some real health issues. If you find yourself alone or just feeling that way during the month of love, do your best to find ways to help reduce the stress that it inevitably leads to:

  • Exercise – Do it because it’s good for your soul and not so much your outward appearance. Do it not as trying to reach a specific goal. Do it because it makes you feel good.
  • Try not to compare yourself to others – They’re not you and you’re not them. Besides, deep down they may want to be you if they really knew you.
  • Treat yourself – If you can afford it, treat yourself to something you don’t necessarily need. A plane ticket to your dream destination, tickets to a concert or play… How about a cruise?
  • Be good to others – no matter your situation it’s so important to treat others well despite how you may have been treated. Do this because it makes you feel good in the end and not because it’s expected of you.

You really do deserve love in your life. We all do.

– Dan Engle

New Years Resolutions… Done Right

New Years resolutions this year? Most of us have them with the goal to improve health, fitness and athletic performance. So, here are some tips to help you stay focused and on target this season.

• Make realistic goals. Your resolution doesn’t always need to be about weight loss. It can be about adding more variety or value to your workouts. Here are some ideas from current members who have shared ideas:
Have a number of visits to the Club in mind. “I used to be at the Club about twice per week, but this year I have committed to be there 3 days per week. Even if it is not a workout, I sit in the hot tub, stretch, or just have a sauna, but this forces me to be more disciplined and in a routine”
Add in a Mind Body class one day per week. “I spend most of my workout time in the weight room and cardio machines. This year I will add in a Yoga or Pilates class one day per week. I will commit to this for 6 weeks then re-evaluate my progress and make adjustments if needed. I expect to see increase flexibility and will view this as my body’s reward for hard work”.
“Adding 15 to 20 minutes of cardio in before or after my Training session or class has not only allowed me be more focused and ready for my session, but helped me burn a few more calories each day. Added together, this has made a big difference in my progress”.

• Accountability: Write down your goals in a place you see every day and check it off weekly to stay focused and reminded.

• Network: find a workout buddy or tell a friend, family member or staff at the Club! You know we will help you stay on track.

• Set yourself up to succeed: Plan ahead and prepare snacks, lunch or grab and go breakfasts. It’s OK to have a treat now and then but make it an effort to find it in the cupboard or refrigerator. Place the healthy snacks in the forefront and the treats away from sight.

• Count your calories: Portion control is one of the best ways to succeed. Avoid cooking too much or adding too much to your plate. Know what your daily intake should be for your age, body, and activity level. Ask this question to any of our Trainers. They will help you!
A good rule of thumb is 3 oz of Protein is roughly the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. ½ cup of vegetables is roughly the size of a clenched hand

• Eat slowly and without distractions such as a computer, TV or phone. If you are dining out, skip the appetizers and bread.

• Watch the sugar! Protein Carbs and Fat are all essential elements in a balanced diet, but added sugars and sugar substitutes can quickly derail your quest. Avoid sodas, sugary coffee drinks and desserts. Get to know your habits. Is an afternoon coffee drink a habit, a reward, a treat or your body craving a sugar fix. Try something different and then limit these habits to once or just twice a week instead of daily.

• Mix it up! Keep your body guessing. Keep the internal machine working hard to keep up. Whether you are on the elliptical, treadmill or doing laps in the pool once per week change up the routine and add in 2 minutes of speed with 4 minutes of moderate pace. Remember to add in stretching or foam rolling. This is an important part of your recovery and your body’s reward.

• Rest and Sleep is also an essential part of your success. Take time for yourself, relax, visualize, internally reward your efforts and get a restful night’s sleep.

• Drink Water

Stay committed to your goals for 4 to 6 weeks. This is how long it will take before you really see the results! But it will happen! Good luck and remember we are here to support your goals and help you achieve results.

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
For Pine Lake, email us at
For Silver Lake, email us at

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,

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

Winter-Proof Your Workout

The winter months provide enough challenges with shorter days and stressful commutes in the rain, ice and snow; do not let your fitness goals become victim to the dreary weather. Here are 3 steps for winter-proofing your workout.

1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

S.M.A.R.T. = Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Timely.

As you embark on, or continue on, your fitness journey- it is imperative that you set goals. Whether they are short term or long term, these goals should follow some simple parameters. The S.M.A.R.T. system was established by Paul J. Meyer in his book, Attitude is Everything, and it is a wonderful guideline for helping you to choose your own personal fitness goals.

Let’s look at an example of a well thought out goal that uses the S.M.A.R.T. system: “I will be able to do 30 pushups in 60 seconds by my 30th birthday.” First and second, is it Specific and Measurable? Yes, this goal is clear and unambiguous. There are a specific number of pushups that you will be able to execute in a particular amount of time. Third, is it Achievable? Yes, as long as your birthday is not next week and the number of pushups that you can do right now is zero! If you can already do 10 pushups or so and your birthday is a few months away – you can achieve this goal with a proper training schedule. Do not go to extremes because you set yourself up to fail – choose something that is within reach. Fourth, is the goal Relevant? Determine if it is worthwhile to you. If you have been wanting to improve your upper body and core strength, this goal may be a way to help get you there. If you can already do 25 pushups in 30 seconds, maybe you want to reassess this goal or the timing for it. Finally, is this goal Timely? Giving your goal a target date or deadline helps to keep you focused and allows for you to plan. If your goal starts off with, “Someday I might be able to…” You are setting yourself up for failure.

2. Be Held Accountable

Once your goals are set for the winter – share those aspirations with others. If you tell someone else your goal, it increases your chance of successfully completing it. Family, friends, and co-workers are all wonderful catalysts to keep you moving and hold you accountable to your goals. One of them might even want to join you on your quest. These people can also help you to eliminate excuses. Excuses can be crippling to a goal can and destroy any chance you have of achieving success. It is easy to make excuses to yourself, but when you have to give an excuse out loud to someone else- it often sounds silly.

3. Branch out

Try something new. One of the worst things you can do during the winter is get too comfortable with your habits. Enjoying your soy latte from Starbucks™ and performing the same old routine at the gym may not be enough. Find a class or small group training you have not tried before. Sign-up for a session with a personal trainer. Get in the pool for a few laps. Tap into your inner Federer or Williams’ sister and take a tennis lesson. Register for Pilates and find your center. Use a new piece of equipment that you have been curious about, like the TRX. Whatever you choose- challenge yourself. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone and the results just might amaze you.

Bobby Sorensen, Fitness Director, CAC- Silver Lake

Wellness and Thanksgiving

Most of us already know the health risks we all have around Thanksgiving. Even though we all recognize these health risks we seem unable to resist. Face it. It’s nearly impossible to scroll through social media and food websites showing you photos of the most delicious (and possibly the most evil) desserts and comfort food meals you’ve ever seen and not make them.

The cycle starts around Halloween:

  • We increase our calorie intake and, perhaps, gain some weight.
  • We eat foods that we know will not make us feel very good.
  • We increase our consumption of sugars and processed foods…Thank you Aunt Mary and your office co-workers for all the cookies and fudge.
  • Our dinners may lean more toward more comforting foods that may contain a higher fat and calorie count.
  • We over-schedule ourselves and can’t take a walk or go to the gym

According to the Calorie Control Council, the association that’s been around since the 60’s to study calorie intake for the diet food industry, they estimate that the average caloric intake on Thanksgiving Day is 4,500 calories. The average caloric intake on every other day is 2,000.

On Thanksgiving most of us older folks have figured out that we are definitely going to overeat and try to plan our day based on how much LESS uncomfortable we can be this year over previous years.

Here are some suggestions to navigate your Thanksgiving this year:

Start your day active and stay active: You probably don’t have to work today so stretch out and take a brisk walk. Go to CAC in the morning on Thanksgiving. We offer special group classes to prepare you for the day. Don’t sit for long periods of time. Get up and move around if your surroundings allow for it.

Don’t skip breakfast: Eat a normal breakfast and a few snacks before the big meal. You’ll be less likely to consume as many overall calories plus your body will have a much harder time digesting a high calorie meal after skipping your normal meals.

Drink Water: Drinking a large glass of water before your meal can help fill you up and help you feel fuller sooner.

Use a smaller plate: This equals smaller portions in most cases. You can focus on smaller amounts at a time and possibly less calories overall.

Take a walk after your big meal: Many studies suggest that taking a 15 to 30 minute walk after your meal will help aid in digestion and help improve your blood sugar levels

Focus on others: Many organizations and churches need volunteers for helping to feed the less fortunate every Thanksgiving. Putting things in perspective have a way of making your heart fuller than your stomach could ever be.

-Dan Engle, Membership Director, CAC – Silver lake

Tennis for Beginners

How long will it take to learn tennis?

Beginner: “I would very much like to play tennis on a regular basis but, I’ve never played any sports outside of gym class. I don’t expect to ever be a professional. But I’d like to play competitively some day. Just wondering how much I should play per day, how many times per week. Approximately, how long will an average person take to get the hang of the game?”

Former UW baseball star, a NASCAR driver’s dad: “I win – I don’t lose. If I am not first – I am last. What kind of training should I start with? What types of abilities and physical assets should a tennis player have to win?”

The questions are fair – get ready, here are the facts… Tennis is a SKILL-BASED sport. This puts it in the same category as learning other skills like typing, reading, or driving a car. It is true that the more you practice, the better you get, and the faster you›ll learn. However, you want to really stress QUALITY of instruction at the beginning. Tennis lessons are expensive, but you want to get put on the best path possible, because bad habits in tennis are close to impossible to break. You don’t want a friend, who might be a good player, but has no teaching experience, teaching you how to hit like they do. You want to find a teaching pro who specializes in PLAYER DEVELOPMENT. This person can put you on track to maximizing your inherent ability, and can assure that you will become the best player you physically are capable of becoming.

Also, remember that there are really only SIX shots in tennis. Once you are taking lessons and have good fundamental strokes in place, play as much as you can! Experiment and try to play matches and compete. Every ball you hit increases your sensitivity to the ball (your “feel”), and this will give your fundamental stroke more power, spin, depth, and accuracy, as you continue to play.

Something about the “next level”… Do not try to progress to the “next level” until you get the basics down really well: proper, uncompromised stroke technique, how to judge the ball, how to play with an arc, how to vary the speed of the ball, etc. I would very highly recommend attending one of the Bollettieri, Macci, Newcomb, or similar tennis camps, that are available in all regions of the U.S. They typically run in single week sessions and amount to about 9 hours of tennis per day. They are expensive and intense, but the benefits of attending one are tremendous for new or already semi-competitive players. This is where you will learn to be a more competitive player in a relatively short amount of time.

So to answer the question, ”How long will it take?”, you will never master tennis to your satisfaction! Even Federer misses shots, and that is the essence of the challenge in this sport. You will feel satisfied and happy with your playing level, when your technique and skill level will allow you to maximize your athletic ability, in order to win matches. Whatever level that happens to be, depends on your athletic ability, your competitive spirit, and your talent level.

I have played both at the local, low competitive level, and against excellent players from different parts of the world, and nowadays I teach others how to play. Whether as a player or as a tennis teaching pro, I have never shown up to court and felt like I didn’t have something to learn that day!

Enjoy the process of learning the game the best you can be.

Dusko Andreic, Head Tennis Pro, CAC – Pine Lake

Why Triathletes Should Try Masters Swimming

The triathlete may be tempted to avoid a Masters swim group for a number of reasons. Perhaps they feel that Masters groups are for former high school and college swimmers, or perhaps they feel that they should follow their own swim training program, prescribed by a triathlete coach. I’m here to tell you differently, a triathlete in training should absolutely join a masters swim group and here are six reasons why:

1. The Importance of Knowing More Than Freestyle
It’s doubtful that any triathlete will break into butterfly during a triathlon. But, there are actually several benefits to knowing all four strokes. When conditions are rough in the open water, or when an athlete takes in an unexpected gulp of water, swimming backstroke or breaststroke for a minute or two could be a life saver. Getting your head out of the waves for some survival swimming, some sighting or to regain your composure and settle down, could be critical to even completing the event. Another reason to actually swim a few strokes of breaststroke or backstroke during a triathlon is to switch up the muscle groups. If an athlete encounters an unexpected muscle cramp or muscle fatigue during their open water swim, it may be necessary to give those freestyle muscles a rest and switch to breaststroke or backstroke for a portion of the swim. As for butterfly, you probably won’t need this one in the open water, but practicing this stroke in the pool will improve your overall fitness and prepare you for your swim, bike and run.

2. No One Will Push You Harder Than Your Lane Mates
Swimming your triathlon driven workouts in the pool is not only lonely, it is not the best you can do! Even if you follow prescribed intervals, you simply will not push yourself as hard as you would if you were leading a group of 5 swimmers in a set in your lane, or racing the guy next to you in his lane, or trying to keep up with the other 4 swimmers ahead of you in the set in your lane. Bottom line – swim with others and you will train harder!

3. Embrace the Waves
Any triathlete or life-long swimmer enjoys hopping into an empty pool and being the first and only to make waves as you cruise down the lane; no water splashing in the face, no choking, no waves, just you and the clear calm waters. But, in reality, this is not how your triathlon is going to go and it also isn’t how a typical masters swim workout goes. Swimming with others during a masters workout is a great way to embrace the choppy waters and get used to feet in your face and the occasional hand hit.

4. Improve Your Stroke Technique
Swimming speed has been said to be 80% efficiency and 20% fitness. The point here is your stroke technique is critical to your speed. Your swim workouts should focus on improving your efficiency just as much as they focus on improving your strength in the water. Having a masters swim coach to share drills and technique tips is key to your success in the open water.

5. Variety
Let’s face it, swimming laps can be boring. Swimming with a masters program is a great way to keep your swimming interesting. Most programs focus at least 20% of their workouts on drills, utilizing these drills not only helps to improve your technique, it also keeps things fun. Additionally, masters workouts typically include pull buoys, paddles, kick boards, fins and other gizmos. Using these correctly and effectively in a masters workout will add a ton of fun to your swims.

6. Consistency
Be accountable for you swim workouts! Masters programs meet the same times every week, this is one way to help you stick to your workouts and ensure consistency in your training! – Laurie Jones

Please refer to our Pine Lake, or Silver Lake Aquatics Departments for more information on our current Masters Swim Programs.

Exercising Techniques to Ease Joint Pain

It’s hard to describe joint pain to those that don’t know how it feels. Let’s focus on some exercise that may help with easing joint pain and can also help you sleep better at night and feel better the next day.

Rhonda Reininger, associate director of the physical therapy and occupational therapy department at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, tells us that “Exercise can be a key component in keeping joint pain at bay. It can also give you more energy and improve your mood. Walking, cycling, swimming, and light weight training done three times a week for 30 minutes can offer these benefits, but check with your doctor to make sure they are safe for you.”

She also recommends that we start with short exercises, avoiding heavy weights, in order to assess how we will feel when we workout. And that if you experience pain for more than an hour or so after, you may have overdone it.

The most important thing to keep in mind when considering exercise with joint pain is to avoid strenuous exercise if it is painful. Try a short walk or easy peddle on a stationary bike instead. Additionally, if you start to feel joint pain during your workout, try changing your position or activity. And, as always, stay hydrated!

Here are some things to consider when exercising with joint pain:

Stretch – Stretching allows your muscles to better take the weight and strain of your workout. Otherwise, they may pass it on to your joints. Here are three easy stretches to get you started (remember — don’t bounce):

Hips – Lying on your back, bend your knees upward then cross one leg over another. Pull them toward your chest for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

Knees and Quads – Kneeling on your right knee, place your left foot ahead of you. Keep that left knee over your left ankle. Hold that position for up 30 seconds and feel the stretch in your right quadriceps. Switch legs and repeat.

Back – Starting on all fours, lift your butt into the air, creating an upside down V with your body. This is a yoga position called “Downward Facing Dog”. Hold this position for up to a minute.

Warm Up – As we get older, our joints and muscles stiffen up and lose some flexibility. After your stretch, go for a short walk of 5-10 minutes.

Cardio – If you’re just starting out, it’s best to first find out where your limits are. Begin with a recumbent stationary bike. If you find that you’re completely comfortable after 10 minutes or so, move to a traditional upright stationary bike. If you start to feel strain in your joints, that’s a good place to stop. Note your progress as you go. Eventually, try moving on to an elliptical or a treadmill.

Yoga and Pilates – The slow, gentle, low-impact activity that Yoga or Pilates provides may be just the thing you need. Yoga and Pilates focuses on, among other things, the mobility, stability and flexibility of joints. Additional benefits include increased body awareness, improved balance and better body alignment. A study by the Arthritis Foundation found that a one hour yoga class, twice each week, helped eased pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Dive In – As well as reducing the perceived weight of your body, the buoyancy of the water takes much of the impact of a workout off of your joints. The deeper the pool, the better support you get. Water provides resistance. This will build and strengthen the muscle, which (as above) supports and protects your joints.

Hiking with Kids

Enjoy the longer Spring and Summer days with your kids enjoying all the beautiful scenery our Pacific Northwest has to offer. There are so many kid friendly hikes in our area that are breathtaking and would be perfect for an adventure with the whole family. We reviewed some websites, blogs and recommendations from local families for a list of favorite hikes. Most are day trips but some are under three hours and right here in our backyards. This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about nature while getting some activity and setting foundations for an active and healthy lifestyle.

Here are some tips when hiking with kids:

  1. Bring a backpack: Having a backpack with you is crucial. Find something lightweight that an adult or older child could carry. You will want it to have straps that cross your chest for good support. It’s also a good place to store all those treasures they might find.
  2. Pack snacks and water: Make sure to fill a water bottle or two to bring along on your adventure. You will also want some snacks; mixed nuts, raisins, granola bars, trail mix, and energy bars are great to take along.
  3. Wear the right shoes: If you’re hiking near water, you want shoes that are sturdy, but can get wet. If you are hiking near mud or on a long hike, you’ll want to wear socks with a good pair of hiking shoes. Another great idea is to bring a second pair of shoes to leave in the car and change into when you’re done hiking.
  4. Find a good stick: You’ll be finding a lot of fun things on a hike, but a good stick is of utmost importance! It can be used for so many things – as a walking stick, for sword fighting, for poking at plants, pointing at things far away, and more!
  5. Keep a look out: There are so many treasures to search for on a hike. We love to keep our eyes out for the following fun things:
    Plants – Ferns, flowers, and trees make for a diverse forest in Washington State, a great teaching opportunity for young ones
    Bugs – Spider webs and creepy crawling things are all over. Make sure to spot them on your hike.
    Holes – There seems to be a lot of holes from trail to trail. We like to find them and guess what might live inside!
    Critters – Keep your eye out for animals on the trail. We’ll often see squirrels and keep our ears open for the sound of birds.
  6. Watch for things on your path: It’s fun to look for the roots that pop up all over the pathway. When you’re on a hike with lots of trees, you’ll be sure to see the tree roots pop up. Make sure you look out for them and try not to get tripped.
  7. Talk about what to do if you see berries or poisonous plants: Get familiar with common poisonous plants. Make sure to point them out and talk to your kids about NOT picking any berries or leaves off trees and bushes.
  8. Look for the unexpected: It’s the best on a hike when you come upon fallen trees or other unusual sights.
  9. Make sure you bring camera: There are always good photo opportunities on a hike. Take a picture at the top to show your view or even create a few fun photos of your own, like pretending to be a bear on a log!
  10. And last but not least, have fun in NATURE! If you come prepared with the above items and hiking ideas, you’ll be on your way to a fun family hike.

-Camila Bomfim, Programs Director CAC - Pine Lake