Tag - Waterbury Sports

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Prepping for the Dark Season
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Electric Bikes- The Wave of the Future
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Spring Caution
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Pickleball
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Activity Diversity
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How to Stay Active During the Winter

Prepping for the Dark Season

By: Caleb Magoon

It’s getting dark and it’s a tough time of year to stay fit and healthy. “Stick season” (as it’s known here in Vermont), brings tough weather and limited daylight, making it harder to compel ourselves to get out and stay active.

That said, this is the perfect time to make a plan to stay active during the dark season, now through the winter. Here are a few thoughts on planning for the winter and staying safe in the dark.

Don’t let the dark get you down! Some of us will be driven inside, but others will continue activities outside and simply change how we do them. If your goal is to stay outdoors, safety and visibility need to be your number one priority. Safety vests and reflective material have gotten way better in recent years, and you need to own some. LED headlamps and lights have become more efficient, and red light and strobe options help make you super visible. The same is true for bike lights, which have gotten much nicer in recent years. Many options are rechargeable now so you don’t have to keep inserting new batteries. Reflective material and lights are worthy investments so you can walk, run, or bike safely during this time of year.

Stick season is a good time of year to see if working out at a gym is “for you.” Many gyms offer free trial periods, making it affordable to try out a new space. Try a few gyms and find one that fits you! Make sure it’s a place that fits your attitude towards staying fit (very serious vs. casual) and offers the equipment you need.

It is also worth considering the many alternative indoor fitness options that our area has to offer. Indoor pools are available at Johnson State College and The Swimming Hole in Stowe. Some resorts like the Golden Eagle in Stowe or Smugglers Notch offer open swim times. Other indoor activities include pickup games of soccer, volleyball, and racketball at places like Johnson State College, the Cambridge Community Center, Smugglers Notch, and more. There is also a local men’s basketball league, pickup soccer in the People’s Academy Gym, and our local pickleball club is seeking out an indoor play space. There are always games being played, just ask around!

Perhaps you don’t enjoy team sports? Well, it’s a great time to outfit your spare room, basement, or garage with some free weights, a bike trainer, or maybe an elliptical. Prepare now before you really need it.

In a month or so we will hopefully have enough snow and cold to enjoy some skating and snow activities, but a diverse fitness routine is always ideal. Be prepared with at least one indoor activity that isn’t dependent on the weather.

Now is the time to line up your plans for staying active this winter – there’s no need to wait for the really cold temperatures. Start looking for local groups you can plan with and locations where you can work out or stay fit; or come up with your winter outdoor safety plan including lights, warm clothes, and routes you can safely run or bike. Beware of hunting season which is now on.

The more prepared we are and the better the plan, the more likely you are to stick to it. So use stick season as your excuse to prepare. After all, winter is coming!


Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.

Electric Bikes- The Wave of the Future

By: Caleb Magoon 

It seems like electric bikes have been coming for a loooong time. Although I can’t say for certain that they have arrived, they are as close as they’ve ever been. I won’t claim that they are the perfect fitness and transportation product for everyone, but the cost continues to come down and they are an excellent option for folks looking to get a good, safe workout. Yes, you heard me correctly. While you might think that an electric motor on a bike makes it just an electric vehicle, they remain excellent for fitness as well. Yet this fitness vehicle is much safer for many folks who can’t take some of the risks associated with traditional biking.

Many older people and those recovering from injury fear getting far away from help on a bike. Fear of an accident, injury or other issue limiting the rider’s abilities is legitimate. It’s true, compared to being at a gym or other controlled environment, a bike offers a hair more danger. That said, bikes are also transportation, freedom, fun, and fitness.

E-bikes level the playing field for those who fear the dangers of cycling. Most E-bikes offer both pedal assist and throttle-only options. Pedal assist is simply riding the bike with the motor giving you a little boost, making hills much easier and flats a little faster. But should the worst happen, the rider has the ability to use the throttle (not pedaling at all if necessary) to get back to home, help, or safety depending on the urgency of the issue. Thus, they offer a safe option for many riders who have concerns about their physical ability to ride.

That said, these bikes are just as good for an enthusiast, too. Many think that they don’t need an electric motor and that may indeed be the case. I can ride many miles comfortably in a day. Yet all that a motor does is expand your potential mileage. Most motor systems allow you to input how much help you want from the motor. You can add a little help or a lot. Most experienced riders add a small amount of help and ride faster than their average and for many more miles. Plus, if you ever get tired, there is always more help at the push of a button.

One important thing to note here is that you are still getting a workout. At a low level of help, you’re still pedaling hard (if that is what you want). Biking has always been a great workout because of the low impact and great variability in doing “what you can handle”. E-bikes simply expand the possibilities.

As I said, price remains a challenge and obstacle for some. E-bike setups do start over $1,000 and many still remain over $2,000. That said, they all started above $2,000 not that long ago and most have come down. Used E-bikes are also becoming available. My suspicion is that the price will continue to come down and financial assistance will become available for those who can most benefit from an E-bike. Vermont State Employees Credit Union does offer loans for bikes at this time.

One note of caution- buyers should beware of the many options available on the market. Because these bikes are a burgeoning market there are many companies now jumping in; some are making quality products and some are not. There are big differences between the brand-name bike shop versions, the conversion kits, and off-brand electric bikes. Talk with your local bike shop or someone whom you know is riding an E-Bike (many people are already enthusiasts).

The benefit of a crowded market is that there is an option for everyone. Between conversion kits for most bikes to purpose build E-bikes, with the right advice, you can get on the road or trails you want. Plus, these bikes make much better commuters and long ride bikes. So look into an E-bike today! They are the wave of the…present!


Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.

Spring Caution

By: Caleb Magoon

spring sports_Live Well Lamoille

It’s spring and boy is it nice to have some wonderful sunny days, even if it’s only a few. Our inkling is generally to get right out there and get after our favorite activities. The bike comes out, we lace up the running shoes or hiking boots or put the kayak in the water. Tough to resist, right?

Yes, go out and do those things. But I encourage you to exercise some caution. This is a dangerous and injury-prone time of year for several reasons and it’s important we slip into spring activities slowly. Few of us get the same activity level through the winter and spring as we get through the summer. Spring is probably the worst for me because once the snow goes, my ability to cross-country ski, snowshoe or do other winter-based fitness activities goes away. My fitness level, in general, is low.

That said, I sure do want to jump on a bike. I’ll want to bike like I did in the fall, though physically my body has changed quite a bit in the last few months. It’s important that you go easy during those first couple of rides, runs or activities. The last thing you want is an injury to stifle your spring and set you back well into June or later. Make sure your first activities are shorter and easier than your max or even your average. Ease your way into activity and be ginger while finding your limits.

Make sure you are making healthy choices leading up to your first activities. Ensure your fuel levels match the activity you have chosen. Eat enough before the workout and drink more water than you think is needed.

You may not be much for stretching, but if you ever took a swing at it, this is the time of year. Look up a few Youtube videos of dynamic stretches. They’re super easy and only take a few minutes. Post workout, you should also stretch or use a foam roller to roll out your muscles. This will speed your recovery.

Lastly, be aware of your body and if you feel pain or discomfort, stop activity immediately and take a couple days off. If it feels like a bonafide injury, consult a doctor or physical therapist. Above and beyond all else, go slow and easy!

One more note about easing into spring: We need to not only protect our bodies, but also our recreation assets. Roads and trails are particularly tender this time of year and can be damaged quite easily. This applies not only to mountain biking and hiking trails, but also access roads to bodies of water etc. This time of year is when we can do the most damage to trails. Please don’t hike or mountain bike until local experts give the “all clear”. Consult the Green Mountain Club for hiking trails and the Vermont Mountain Bike Association to find your local chapter if you don’t know them. I know the wait is tough, but it’s essential to ensuring these recreation assets don’t need repairs, taking them offline during the best parts of the year.

Have a great spring!


Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.

Pickleball

By: Caleb Magoon

There is a fitness craze sweeping the nation and it’s not crossfit, plyometrics or anything else. It’s a game being played mostly by seniors but also by everyone else out to have fun and stay fit. You still may not have heard of Pickleball, but it’s huge!

Pickleball is a game merging tennis, badmitton, and table tennis. While it hasn’t yet gained wide popularity in all of Vermont, we’re seeing it pop up everywhere else. It’s gaining popularity because it’s a fun and reasonably easy way to stay active.

The basics: The court is quite like a tennis court, though a smaller version similar to tennis without the “side alleys.” You play on the same court for singles or doubles. The rules are similar to tennis or table tennis, starting with a serve to the opposite court, a volley, and someone racking up some points.

Here is where things are a bit different: the equipment. The “racket” is actually a wooden or composite paddle bigger than one for table tennis and smaller than a tennis racket. The ball is essentially a whiffle ball. The result of this paddle/ball combo is that you can only hit it so hard. A whiffle ball loses speed rapidly so even a big smash will die before it gets back to the court. This slows the game down and makes it more manageable, a slower speed with less running than traditional tennis. That said, you can put a lot of spin on that little ball, keeping the game very interesting.

I learned pickleball right at Lamoille Union High School and hadn’t heard of the game until fairly recently. While it has been around since the 60’s, it’s only now gaining popularity. The game took hold especially with senior citizens. The draw is simple- the small court and slightly slower pace make it much more manageable than tennis, yet you still get a workout hustling around the court.

In our area, Waterbury was the first community I know of where the sport gained popularity. It’s played on the tennis courts and paddles are available at the Recreation department. It has spread a bit more recently and you can now find games at the People’s Academy and Hazen Union Tennis Courts. Folks are starting to clammer for more courts and more people are learning about the game.

This is a fun, easy game that anyone can play. Rest assured, there will be a game near you soon enough. Have you played Pickleball yet?


Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.

Activity Diversity

By: Caleb Magoon

It’s summer! Time to get out and have a little fun. If you aspire to be more active, fit and healthy, what are the best activities to get you there? Turns out, it doesn’t matter much what you do to stay active. What’s far more important is being active consistently and doing a variety of activities.

We all have that one activity we love above all else. For me, it’s mountain biking. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid and love riding more than all other forms of summer fun. During the summer months, I consistently ride the trails in our area 3-4 times a week.

There is nothing wrong with riding a bike to stay fit and healthy. But only riding a bike and not participating in other activities limits fitness progression. Our bodies are built to adapt to different activities and get efficient at them. For me, biking only provides a minimal amount of fitness. My body has figured out how to be really efficient at it over the years.

Diversification is the name of the game. You may love that one activity, but try and sprinkle in some others to raise your fitness level. You don’t have to go crazy. I drop in on an Ultimate Frisbee game once in a while. For me, an hour of that is better than several hours of biking. The fast cuts and sprints my body aren’t used to provide maximum fitness impact. On days where I feel like something low key, I’ll just shoot hoops at the local outdoor court or go for a quick hike. Everything helps!

The point isn’t to kill yourself, but to provide your body with different activities working different muscle groups. These will prevent it from getting too efficient at any one activity. Study after study shows that a variety of fitness activities lead to better calorie burn, all-around fitness and strength.

So get out and try lots of things. Throw a baseball or football or Frisbee in the yard. Join a volleyball or basketball pickup game when time permits. Hike, bike, walk or run. Keep doing those things you love too, but add some twists to your repertoire to keep yourself lean and mean. You will see the results. Plus, do you really need an excuse to enjoy all the different activities a summer in Vermont has to offer? I didn’t think so…


Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.

How to Stay Active During the Winter

By: Caleb Magoon

How to stay active in the winter - Live Well Lamoille

Winter in Vermont is a challenging time to get outside and keep up your physical activity. It’s often cold and snowy, yet sometimes it’s neither of those things. It often seems like only thing you can really count on is the weather not cooperating with what you want to do.

It’s still important to stay active and healthy, even when the weather isn’t ideal. Fresh air, vitamin D and a little exercise are all good for the body, mind and soul – especially during the winter. Here are a few activity suggestions and the gear you will need to help you stay active.

Walk and hike– Many new products have come out in recent years to help you keep

Stabilicers

Stabilicers

your traction on ice and snow. For walking, Yaktrax or Stabilicers can give you traction
on ice or snow. Katoolah makes “Nanospike,” perfect for running or walking, and “Microspikes,” the hot product for hiking and trekking. Katoolah also makes more aggressive crampons for Trekking. All of these products are great options for a snowless or minimal snow winter.

When it snows, snowshoes are very helpful, and plenty of options exist for any price and purpose.

Try Nordic skiing- You can’t beat the bang for your buck when it comes to Nordic, or cross-country, skiing. Once you have the gear, it’s easy to jump on a trail and go. Cross country skiing is low impact, fairly easy and a good mix of cardio and strength exercise. If you’re looking for a bit more of a workout, try Skate skiing. The Stowe Recreation path, the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, People’s Academy Trails and Cricket Hill Trails next to Lamoille Union High School are all great, free options. Check with your neighbor, too. Many locals groom their own trails. They’re everywhere!

Hop on a bike- You may have seen a bike with large tires floating around your town. These are fat bikes, made for ice or snow. While many of these bikes are higher end and made for enthusiasts, the prices have come down in recent years. There are now several models under $1000 and these bikes are a great way to get on the rail trail or a dirt road safely during the winter to get the legs spinning.

Fat Tire Bike - Live Well Lamoille

Ice skating- I know what you’re thinking: “You won’t catch me on those skinny blades!” Many towns maintain public ice rinks, and places like Smugglers’ Notch and Stowe Mountain Resort also have inexpensive or free skating. Plus, in a low snow year, plenty of ponds and lakes are accessible. (But make sure to be safe!) Skates have gotten much better in their performance and are now considerably warmer and more comfortable. Yes, I said comfortable! Finally, if you are leery about the stability of skating, bring something to help balance you. Use an upside-down trashcan, a walker or something similar to hold onto. Kids often use milk crates. This is a great way to maintain stability while getting your “skate legs.”

How to stay warm outside- It’s hard to have fun if you’re cold all the time. Invest in clothing and layers that are not cotton. Natural fibers like wool work best. Polyester is also better than cotton – these fibers help keep you dry and warm. Windstopper is a technology that can help keep you warmer in windy weather and Gortex helps to keep you dry. Lastly, if your face typically gets cold, buy a set of inexpensive goggles. Make sure they have a clear, not tinted lens. For just a few bucks, they help keep your face warm! You can also consult a ski or winter gear shop – they have lots of secrets on staying warm.

Whatever you do, don’t let winter weather keep you inside. Use it as a reason to get out! Try a few different activities to discover what you like best, and invest in the gear you need to stay warm and keep at it. Your physical and mental health will thank you during our long winters.


Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.