Written on August 13, 2013 at 10:44 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Emily Mitamura, editorial intern
A million miles is a lot. It’s 38,000+ marathons. It’s two whole trips to the moon and back. But according to Jay Scott, Co-Executive Director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and everyone else at the foundation, a million miles is “just how far parents of children with cancer would go to find a cure for their child.”
This September, Alex’s Lemonade Stand is proving that, and asking you to help. In honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, they’re enlisting runners and walkers to collectively log one million miles. Your mission: Sign up to be one of 10,000 participants who each pledge to walk 100 miles over the course of 30 days, and help raise awareness about a disease that affects 720 new children in the United States every single day.
To easily track your daily miles, Alex’s Lemonade Stand has teamed up with the free MapMyRun app. Participants who want to do their part solo will need to average 3 to 4 miles a day, but folks who need something more manageable can split the 100 miles among a group of friends or coworkers.
Need another reason to get involved? Let us provide some back story to the inspiring Philadelphia-based organization. Back in 2000, four-year-old Alexandra Scott set up a lemonade stand to single-handedly raise money and hopefully fund the cure for cancer that affected all children like her. And though the effort has been far from single-handed (if only because Alex wasn’t then tall enough to even reach the phone), the accomplishments that have and will continue to stem from a child’s simple wish are boundless. Alex raised over $1 million to fight the disease from which she passed away in August of 2004, and her friends and family continue on in her honor. Today, supporters all over the world have their own lemonade stands for Alex. Now, the Million Mile Run will help push the charity’s progress.
So get running. And jogging. And walking. Every step counts toward the goal, and getting involved could help save a life. Visit their website for more details on how to get started today.
Now You Tell Us: How do you support causes you’re passionate about?
Written on August 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm , by Guest Blogger
Rock climber Paige Claassen recaps her first stop on the Marmot Lead Now Tour, a global tour to inspire people through rock climbing and raise $120,000 for charity organizations.
By Paige Claassen
Our car flies down the N-1, South Africa’s primary highway, but my mind races even faster. After traveling 48 hours from the United States to Johannesburg, I have no idea what to expect from this country of which I’ve heard only about lions and muggings. I’m here to rock climb, so I assume I’m in for an adventure, but as we exit left (South Africans drive on the opposite side) onto a dirt road, I’m immediately immersed in a culture outside the realm of my dreams.
A few hours after landing, I’m welcomed into the home of a friend I’d met only through emails and loaded into the car for a safari. Forget jetlag—there are wild giraffe and zebra waiting in the backyard. Within a week, I’ve learned some local lingo (‘sawubona’ means ‘hello’ in Zulu), the difference between an American BBQ and a South African braai (namely patience, because the braai requires hours of fire preparation to cook tender ostrich meat and traditional spiced beef sausage), and most notably, the kindness and generosity of the South African people, regardless of color. Much of the country is poor, but less violent than portrayed in American media, so awareness and forethought are the best safety tools for travellers. Folks wave on the street as they walk home with wood for the evening’s fire piled on their head. Friends share tasty meals in their homes. And the local climbers invited us to “develop” a new climbing area by making “first ascents”, or being the first person to ever climb a route.
While in South Africa, I had the opportunity to make the first ascent of a route called Digital Warfare, graded 5.14, one of the top grades among female climbers. This was a special opportunity because I’d never been the first person to complete a route, especially one at my physical limit. Digital Warfare required strong fingers, endurance, and a steady mind. To prepare, I climbed as many easier routes as I could to build confidence and went on runs through the tall African grasses to improve my endurance.
By completing this climb, I hope to bring awareness to an organization that has grown very dear to my heart. Room to Read provides school libraries in developing countries with resources and reading materials so that young students can receive an education. Upon visiting one of Room to Read’s libraries in the rural countryside, I learned that 50% of the elementary age students have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. When a little girl named Angel, who had moments ago asked me how she could overcome her fear of climbing to the top of a mountain, asked “when are you coming back?” I knew that this would not be my last time in South Africa. I will certainly be back, hopefully with new knowledge about how I can help enthusiastic children like Angel, who dream of lifting their own communities out of poverty.
To get involved and donate online to Paige’s Room to Read fundraiser, visit http://www.crowdrise.com/SouthAfrica-RoomtoRead
Check back next month for a video and update about Location #2: RUSSIA.
Stay tuned for the inspiring video of Paige’s time in South Africa. FitnessMagazine.com, with thanks to Marmot and Louder Than 11, will have the first-look exclusive video later this week. Check back soon!
Written on July 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm , by Karla Walsh
How many people do you know who have been affected by cancer? A shocking 41 percent of people will be diagnosed with some form of the disease during his or her lifetime, according to research by the National Cancer Institute.
Another surprising stat: One-third of cancer cases are caused by poor diet and lack of activity. A group of ambitious athletes, many of then cancer survivors themselves, are seeking to inspire others to affect that statistic, all while raising money to support more research about the disease.
For the past month, the Million Dollar Marathon (and a baton stuffed with prayer flags which honor those who have fought/are fighting cancer) has been making its way from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. About 160 people signed on to run or walk a marathon along the route while raising money for cancer-related charities, with an overall goal of fundraising $1 million. To date, the team has raised nearly $500,000 and has its sights set on Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on August 1.
Yesterday, FITNESS hopped in along the course in Illinois as Ames, Iowa resident Ashley Poppe ran her first marathon in honor of her friend Kerri. Despite struggling with tendinitis all through training, Poppe completed all of her miles (and finished with a smile). She has raised more than $6,000 for the cause, too. The “magic” baton has inspired participants to power through rain, 100°+ heat, injuries and the longest runs of their lives.
“Each time you think you’ve found your favorite moment from the trip, another even more amazing one happens four hours later,” said Steve Cannon, who dreamt up the 4,000-mile coast-to-coast relay after running 40 marathons in 40 days (solo) around Lake Michigan last summer. Recently, the event has taken on even greater meaning for Cannon, as his sister is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Inspired to take part in this epic journey? It’s not too late—and you can carry the baton for as many miles as you want (26.2 miles is not a requirement). The Million Dollar Marathon is still looking to fill slots in West Virginia on July 26 and 27, so if you’re ready for a challenge, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written on July 19, 2013 at 11:04 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Jennie Garth is the definition of a supermom: She’s a mother of three and manages to juggle her career as an actress and director with family time. And don’t think a swamped schedule ever stands in this gal’s way of a good sweat—it’s obviously not a problem! The 40-year-old, notoriously known for her role as Kelly Taylor on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, has been flaunting a slim bod this summer and (holy teeny bikini) she’s never looked better. Sneaking in jogs and maintaining a healthy cuisine regime is key, Jennie told us this week when we chatted about her new passion project, Eye Saw Good. Read on to find out how you can donate and help kids’ eye care without ever whipping out your checkbook—plus Jennie’s must-do move for those six-pack abs!
What inspired you to connect with Alcon and Eye Saw Good?
I have three girls. Two of them are in glasses already and one of them wants glasses! It was startling to me to find out that one in four kids in America need vision correction and they don’t have access to it. So this is an opportunity for me to bring awareness to a campaign called Eye Saw Good. It’s a really interactive, fun way for everybody out there to get involved and feel good about something that they’re doing: Just take photos of something you consider to be good and positive and share them on Twitter with #eyesawgood. The hashtag triggers a donation to Kids Vision for Life, an organization that provides kids in need with glasses, eye care and exams. It’s a cool, sort of artistic, way for people to be a part of something. They just have to share their pictures; they don’t have to share their money!
Staying fit as a busy, working mom must be tough. How do you make time to keep up with fitness and a balanced diet?
It’s definitely challenging—I’ve been traveling so much lately. I do what I can wherever I am. I love running outside or just fast walking. All you need are sneakers! That’s how I do it—just mindful eating and continuing to stay active.
OK, spill. What’s your bikini body secret? Your abs are fab!
I like this ab move: Hold something behind your head (we suggest a weight, ball or your buddy’s ankles) and lift your legs up and down, like a straight pike. Just keep your abs tight the whole time! My other favorite is a handstand. Against a tree, a wall, or a person. It comes from yoga—I used to do yoga but haven’t been lately because I just can’t commit to a class schedule. It is one of my favorite yoga moves because it’s an arm wonder, too.
You rocked Dancing with the Stars a few seasons back. Do you still dance?
I don’t! I recently danced at a wedding and it was clear that I lost all my moves. I need a dancing partner; that’s my problem. Those are hard to find.
Best pump-up song on your workout playlist?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Macklemore, and Dubstep is something that keeps me going. It’s funny to think that I’m running up the canyon listening to Dubstep!
What’s a healthy dish you whip up for a family dinner?
I’ve converted my kids to brown rice now, which I think is a great start if they’re going to eat a complex carb or starch. We drink a lot of coconut water at our house, and for oils, we love light olive or coconut oil.
Want to get involved with Jennie’s project? Do good with what you see. Simply “donate” a dollar by uploading your picture on Instagram or Twitter with #eyesawgood and help make a difference in children’s vision services, provided by Alcon’s The EyeSolution program and the Kids Vision for Life charity. Curious about what else Jennie has in the works? Be on the lookout for a forthcoming book and television show!
Written on July 12, 2013 at 9:39 am , by Guest Blogger
Paige Claassen is a professional rock climber and the creator of the Lead Now program. FITNESS is kinda obsessed with her and will be following her journey for the next year. This intro video is worth watching because it will make you want to follow her journey, too!
By Paige Claassen
A few weeks ago, I packed up my life in the United States and hopped on a plane to the other side of the globe. As a professional rock climber and recent college graduate, I was ready to explore, learn and push my athletic goals.
My objective is a project I designed myself, called Marmot’s Lead Now Tour , in which I’ll rock climb around the world to raise money for charity. I’ll attempt climbs that push not only my personal limits, but also the standards of women in my sport—with hopes of raising $120,000 (in total) for twelve different non-profit organizations in the twelve different countries I’ll visit. Each of these organizations supports women and children who suffer from physical abuse, lack of education, hunger, sexual oppression, or natural disasters.
My motivation is to inspire other people through rock climbing. I began climbing at the age of nine, and this hobby-turned-lifestyle has kept me out of trouble, taught me the importance of hard work, and shaped my confidence and personality. I want children and young women of all backgrounds to experience the joy and motivation that comes from an activity that inspires them to get out of bed each day, and pursue something with all their heart. Each of us spends our life searching for that one thing we’re passionate about. Whether it’s the ability to attend school, run our own business, support our family or play a sport, every person deserves that hope.
I want you to be involved! I’ll be documenting my adventure here on The Fit Stop each month, so feel free to virtually join me in my adventure. This month, I’m climbing next to waterfalls in South Africa while giraffe and zebra watch from below. While I’m here, I’m raising money for Room to Read, an organization that builds schools and libraries and provides reading materials to children in South Africa’s 11 native languages. Help me meet my $10,000 goal by donating online at www.crowdrise.com/leadnowtour. Any amount will help provide these children with an education and the ability to enjoy the activities that we so often take for granted.
Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you!
Written on June 13, 2013 at 2:52 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern
We like to think that each and every one of you exercises regularly, eats five servings of fruits and veggies daily, and gets adequate amounts of sleep at night (right?!). But how many of you regularly donate blood? Maybe not quite as many.
During the summer months, the nation’s blood supply often dips dangerously low as vacation and travel plans soar. So in celebration of tomorrow’s World Blood Donor Day, Nexcare give has partnered with the American Red Cross spokesperson and actress Soleil Moon Frye to launch a season-inspired collection of Nexcare give bandages, reminding you that “it’s always in season to give blood.” This week only, anyone who donates blood at participating American Red Cross locations can score free samples of the bandage collection, and of course, save a few lives at the same time.
Not a bad way to end the week, huh?
To find a blood center near you, check out the Nexcare give Facebook page and donate ASAP. Just this one time, your workout can wait.
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Written on June 7, 2013 at 11:17 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
As an actress, singer, dancer, author, model and mother, Vanessa Williams puts a triple-threat to shame. No wonder she looks so darn good at 50! Since being crowned the first African American to be crowned Miss America back in 1983, Vanessa has conquered television (Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives and 666 Park Avenue, to name a few) and the big screen. Most recently, she returned to the Broadway stage in “The Trip to Bountiful.” But a busy life of fame and fortune doesn’t stand in Vanessa’s way for one of her biggest passion projects: spreading heart health awareness. With loved ones affected by heart disease, she turned to Bayer and WomenHeart to make a difference. We sat down with the starlet to learn more about how a simple handbag item can save lives and—of course—found out her age defying secrets. Read on for the full interview.
What inspired you to connect with Bayer aspirin in this whole initiative of the Handbags and Hearts?
I’ve been involved with heart issues for probably 10 years now. My grandmother died at 28 of a heart attack, my other grandmother died at 64 of a heart attack and so I’ve always been pretty vocal about women’s health issues—especially heart disease. They approached me about starting the campaign for Handbags and Hearts to increase the awareness of the correlation, being the number one killer for women, but also to have people—especially women—carry aspirin in their handbags, their purse, their pocketbooks. That’s important. And also to have women know that our symptoms are different than men’s. We want to drive people to the website so they can see what the symptoms are, be aware of them. Obviously if there is an issue, the first thing they need to do is call 911, but go in their bag and grab an aspirin because it’s shown that it helps to reduce further damage to the heart once a heart attack actually happens to you. It helps save lives. It’s been a fantastic partnership with WomenHeart and Bayer. Every person that pledges and every woman that goes online to pledge at the site, they’re going to donate up to $200,000.
Besides aspirin, how do you personally boost your heart health?
Cardio—I work out all the time. I mix it up, whether its treadmill at my house, or riding bikes. Recently, I’ve been doing in LA a gym called Body Theory, and there’s a class called “Drench.” You are literally drenched by the time you finish it! It’s an hour and a half of pure cardio and weights, which is fantastic and I’m obsessed with. In NY, I do at Westchester MMA a heavy bag fit class, which is everything from jumping rope to a lot of boot camp exercises. But then you tape up your hands—you do wraps—put your boxing gloves on and you fight a heavy bag, one of those big six-foot bags. You do combinations of that—kicks and punches. I like to mix it up.
So staying fit as a busy mother on four, killing it on Broadway…that must be really tough. How do you keep up with fitness and healthy food on-the-go?
You make time for it. Sometimes, you can’t. If you cant make it to the gym, try to get on a treadmill. If you cant get into the gym or to a treadmill, try walking. Try to do something for at least (for me) 45 minutes to an hour in a day, just to feel energized, and feel like my body is woken up, that I’ve felt all the endorphins, then start my day. And I like to work out in the morning—I can’t do afternoon or evening workouts. I need to do it in the morning. Get it done, start my day, feel the adrenaline. But you have to make time. Same thing with food. You have to make an effort. My biggest tip is to not have anything that I don’t want to eat in my house. It’s one thing when you know there are cookies that are calling your name and you know that every time you walk by the cupboard, they’re there and you’re battling with yourself—should I open it, should I not, should I have one…you’re going to torture yourself. So don’t have them in your house. As soon as, if I get a basket or gift bag filled with something delicious that I know I don’t want to wipe out the entire thing, I’ll bring it to the cast and say, “Put it on the green room table, enjoy!” I’ll have one and walk out of the room so I don’t have to wrestle with should I or should I not. Because food is good! It’s easy to make healthy choices, too. Living in this country, there are so many opportunities for anything, anything online, for sure. I fast, I do juice cleanses maybe three times a year. I’ve done BluePrint for probably five years. But that’s always great to kind of reboot your system, especially if you feel sluggish or a bit toxic like after holidays—you just want to clean yourself out and start fresh.
Written on June 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern
If you’re like many of us over here at FITNESS, you probably don’t need to be poked or prodded to lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement. Running is what gets many of us up in the morning to sweat; the thing that keeps us (relatively) sane during our hectic weeks. We do it because we want to—and on Wednesday, June 5th, we’ll celebrate National Running Day as we do most days: with running.
The running community is a tight-knit one (how else could anyone stay motivated to finish a 26.2-mile marathon?), but we’re not the only ones who are excited about tomorrow—Timex is in on the fun, too. The watch company launched its “I Am A Runner” campaign last month to celebrate runners of all levels and to provide a place for people to share their most inspirational and motivational reasons for why they run.
To get in on the conversation, tweet your tale or Instagram a picture with the campaign’s #IMARUNNER hashtag by June 5th. Your story will show up on Timex’s Facebook page, and they’ll donate $5 to One Fund Boston, a relief fund for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Bonus: You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win one of the 60 Timex Ironman watches the company is giving away!
To find out more about the “I Am A Runner” campaign, or to directly submit your photo or story, check out the Timex Sports Facebook page. We’ll be reading through the stories for an extra dose of inspiration ourselves, so start tagging those posts!
Now you tell us: How will you celebrate the sporty holiday?
Written on May 24, 2013 at 9:08 am , by Samantha Shelton
You’ve heard her name for years, listened to her hit songs and likely watched her as a mentor on season 4 of The Voice. But when she’s not in the public eye, Sheryl Crow is volunteering at local food banks to help the 50 million Americans trying to make ends meet. For the second year, Crow teamed up with Feeding America and One A Day’s Nutrition Mission to fight hunger. We caught up with the busy star to find out how she eats healthy herself (while feeding her kids!) and how you can score a trip to NYC to hang with the music star.
You’ve teamed up again with One A Day for the Nutrition Mission. What keeps you coming back?
I just think it’s such a good program and the last I heard, there are nearly 50 million people in America challenged by food insecurity. With this mission, everyone gets meals three times a day. It seems like the work is never done, and this is just a great, easy way to be a part of helping your community. You just buy a multivatimin, which many people already take, and two meals are donated with each purchase. And if you have a story about volunteering at a local food bank, you can share it at nutritionmission.com for the chance to win a grant for your area, plus a trip to NYC to come hang out with me.
So do you have any fave spots in NYC you might take the winner to then?
When my kids are with me we almost always go to the Museum of Natural History. And Central Park, of course.
So how else can people get involved with the Nutrition Mission?
I think that volunteering at a local food bank is always helpful and very eye-opening. It leaves its mark when you see the kinds of people that come in. It’s not necessarily just homeless people. Oftentimes it’s a mom who has three or four kids, and she works but just can’t make ends meet. One of the problems that we see with food insecurity is that people don’t talk about it; they’re embarrassed. One day I went to school with my little boy, who’s in Pre-K, and we had to go do a morning program. By 9am I was like, “Where’s the snack?” These kids who are affected by food insecurity walk in and haven’t had a good morning meal and by 9 or 10 they really need something. And out of the 50 million people who are affected, 16 million are kids. It’s a problem we can all help with.
Written on May 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm , by Marianne Magno
In a brave, must-read editorial for The New York Times, Angelina Jolie reveals that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy earlier this year to reduce her risk of breast cancer. Jolie explains that it was her mother, who died of breast cancer at 56, who motivated her to take charge of her health. The actress, director and humanitarian explains that she is a carrier of a “faulty” BRCA1 gene, which puts her at an estimated 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer .
Jolie hopes that sharing her story will encourage others to be proactive about their own health:
“I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.
…For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.”
We here at FITNESS applaud Jolie’s decision to take preventative measures against cancer and to use her celebrity to encourage other women to do the same. We’ve been inspired by other women who also chose to have preemptive mastectomies: our marketing manager, Kristin Guinan, who underwent the same procedure at age 27, and marathoner, soldier and mom Margaret Smith who decided to forgo reconstructive surgery after her mastectomy.
Early detection and action are important, and it is up to us to take control. In Angelina Jolie’s words: “Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”
- How to Do a Breast Self-Exam
- What You Need to Know to Prevent Breast Cancer
- “Why I Gave up My Breasts”
- “My Battle with Breast Cancer”