Summer can be a challenging month in Bakersfield to maintain your fitness program. Getting in your run or ride may mean rising before dawn to take advantage of the slightly cooler temperatures. However, a few local events are worth getting out for a sweat:
Summer run series
This series of six evening runs at the California Living Museum takes place every other Tuesday. July's dates are July 2, 16 and 30. This run is open to walkers, joggers and serious runners of all ages and is a 5K; it traces the edge of the Kern River and loops back uphill to the CALM parking lot. Watermelon, served after, will never taste so sweet. More than 500 runners attended the first event on June 4, and it was a fun, friendly, dusty and hot! This is a handicap event, so after the first run of the series, everyone will take off at their handicapped time. Visit the Bakersfield Track Club for more details. It's $3 for students
Edamame are fresh green soybeans gaining popularity due to its health benefits, availability and versatility. They have become more readily available in the grocery store, in shelled and "in the pod" forms. They are extremely versatile, easy to throw in salads and soups, or just a great snack on from the pod. Just a half-cup serving packs a powerful nutritional punch, including 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and numerous vitamins and minerals with only 100 calories, zero cholesterol and very little sodium.
Edamame is the perfect meat alternative because they are a "complete protein," containing all of the amino acids necessary for a healthy diet. Try them out this summer, they really are delicious.
-- Sally Baker
Safe summer in the pool
Its summertime in Bakersfield and that means it's time to escape the heat. When the mercury hits triple digits, a refreshing dip in the pool is fun way to find relief from the summer swelter.
And swimming can be delightfully beneficial for children. Not only is swimming a fun refuge from the heat, it's fantastic exercise as well. Hours of splashing in the pool are also hours of quality family time.
Whether you are enjoying one of Bakersfield's many public pools or your own backyard pool, it is extremely important to be safe while having fun in the sun. Drowning is the second most common cause of death and injury among children under the age of 14.
The best way to prevent an accident is to make sure your child can swim and is comfortable in and around the water. Introducing water safety early is smart. Swim lessons can begin as early as 6 weeks of age. At 9 months old, my little chickadees are just now beginning swim lessons with certified swim instructor, Sarah Baker.
Baker's "Mommy and Me" baby swim classes have become more accessible and popular in recent years. There are numerous classes available for participation and plenty of private instructors for hire. These classes require active in-water participation from both parent and baby.
If your little one already knows how to swim, don't assume he or she is safe in the water alone. Often, many parents overestimate their children's swimming capabilities. Always vigilantly supervise your children in the pool. It is important to remember: if you are not looking, then you are not watching. So, put the phone down and be alert. It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen.
It's always a good idea to enroll your experienced swimmer in refresher classes to strengthen his or her abilities.
5 tips for pool safety:
1. Always, always, always supervise! This holds true even if you are enjoying a public pool with a lifeguard on duty, and even if your kids are older, more proficient swimmers. Adult supervision is a must. Put your phone down but keep it nearby in case there is an accident.
2. An oldie but a goodie: no running! Pool decks are slippery and usually concrete -- not a good combination for little noggins.
3. If your child is just learning how to swim, make sure that flotation devices are U.S. Coast Guard approved.
4. No diving! Diving accidents can result in lifelong injuries.
5. When the pool is not in use, make sure it is barricaded. A minimum 4-foot fence with a self-locking, self-latching gate is recommended. Install a gate alarm inside of the house so you can hear if the pool is being raided. An in-pool alarm isn't a bad idea either. Pool alarms alert if someone jumps, falls or is pushed into the pool.
Local swim resources:
* McMurtrey Aquatic Center: A wide range of classes available, for babies to adults. "Water Babies" class for ages 6 months to 3 years. 852-7430
* Bakersfield College Summer Swim and Sports Camps: BC offers swimming lessons for all ages and other swimming activities. The contact is Tina Cummings. 395-4663
* American Kids Sports Center: Baby and toddler swim classes, and free infant swim class designed for infants 6 weeks to 6 months. Call for information. This class fills up quickly. 589-2100
* Bakersfield Swim Academy: Founded by a bronze medal-winning Olympian, the academy provides instruction for the beginner to expert. "Parent and Me" class. Minimum age: 6 months. 615-6530
-- Katie Kirschenmann
Exercise of the month: bench dips, triceps
Find a sturdy bench or chair. With your back to the bench, bend your legs and place your hands on the front edge of the bench. Place your feet in front of you, so most of your body weight is resting on your arms. Bend your arms and slowly lower your body until your upper arms are parallel with the floor, dropping your hips straight down. Straighten your arms to return to the starting position. Begin with two sets of 10, and build up to three sets of 15. Even better, incorporate your dips within your morning walk or run, using benches along the bike trail or park.
-- Sally Baker