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How You Can Run One Million Miles to Fight Childhood Cancer

Written on August 13, 2013 at 10:44 am , by

 

It’s time to get moving for a cause! (Photo courtesy of Alex’s Lemonade Stand)

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?

Location #1: SOUTH AFRICA

Written on August 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm , by

Paige Claassen goes on a run through Africa

A morning run above the valley where Paige climbs each day. Photo credit Jon Glassberg (LT11)

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.

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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.

Paige climbs next to Boven’s iconic waterfall. Photo credit Jon Glassberg (LT11)

Paige climbs next to Boven’s iconic waterfall. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

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.

During a visit to Room to Read, children of all ages displayed their reading skills in both English and native South African languages. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

During a visit to Room to Read, children of all ages displayed their reading skills in both English and native South African languages. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

 

Paige coaches under privileged children in one of the roughest suburbs of Johannesburg. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

Paige coaches under privileged children in one of the roughest suburbs of Johannesburg. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

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!

Update: WATCH the amazing video of Paige in South Africa!

Jennie Garth Sees Good in New Charity Campaign

Written on July 19, 2013 at 11:04 am , by

Jennie’s latest project, ahem, behind writing a new book and television show? Promoting vision wellness in children. (Photo courtesy of Michael Murphree)

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.

Snap a photo of something good—it’s as easy as that! (Photo courtesy of Michael Murphree)

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!

An Intro from Paige Claassen: “Every Person Deserves That Hope.”

Written on July 12, 2013 at 9:39 am , by

Paige Claassen is a professional rock climber who will spend the next year raising money for charities across the globe. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11.com).

Paige Claassen is a professional rock climber who will spend the next year raising money for charities across the globe. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11.com).

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!

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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!

 

A Sweet Way to Support Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Written on April 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm , by

The Michael J. Fox Foundation has given more than $304 million to Parkinson’s research so far. This is an easy (and cheap!) way to help them give more.

The next time you get the itch for a sweet treat, cave in for a good cause. In honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month (FYI: One American is diagnosed every nine minutes), Magnolia Bakery has teamed up with the Michael J. Fox Foundation on a limited-edition cupcake, available online and sold in stores throughout April. For $1.75, you can support the MJFF and Parkinson’s disease research for new treatments and ultimately–a cure.

To purchase a cupcake, visit magnoliabakery.com or stop by a Magnolia Bakery near you. To learn more about the MJFF, visit michaeljfox.org.

More from FITNESS: A New Way to Get Inspired to Race This Spring

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SoulCycle on the High Line to Benefit Friends of the High Line!

Written on April 8, 2013 at 10:09 am , by

Spring has sprung! New York City is finally seeing some sunlight and warm temps this week—and what better way to celebrate than with SoulCycle and Friends of the High Line on Thursday night. If you’ve ever visited Manhattan, you know that one of the must-see stops on the tourist to-do list is checking out the new and improved High Line. Quick history lesson: Back in the mid-1800′s the High Line was a railway that ran on the lower west side of the city delivering meat, produce and raw goods throughout the Meatpacking District. But over time as trucking became the more widely used mode of transportation for manufacturers the High Line stopped running as frequently and was overcome by grass, weeds, shrubs and trees. During Manhattan’s reformative years of the 1990′s, many lobbied for the High Line to be demolished as it was becoming an overgrown sight for sore eyes. Thankfully, Friends of the High Line saw this 1-mile stretch as an opportunity for an unique urban project that could one day become a linear park—a walking greenway for locals to enjoy and hopefully add to the many charms of New York City.

SoulCycle on the High Line! (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

Friends of the High Line advocated for preservation of the land and in June 2011 the 1-mile redesign of the High Line as we know it today was complete. This Thursday, April 11, Soul Cycle and Friends of the High Line have teamed up for a once-in-a-lifetime event to honor this rare beauty in our bustling city. Tickets start at a hefty $500 but all proceeds will be donated back to the Friends of the High Line to help keep the park clean, plants beautiful, and continue the widespread free activities that go on throughout the year. The 6:30 PM class is taught by master instructors Laurie Cole and Stacey Griffith, so you’re in for a double treat.

I can’t remember what it was like before the High Line, when on nice days my husband and I would read the paper and drink coffee on the many lounge chairs Friends of the High Line have provided us. Or when I have visitors in town and the High Line isn’t the first stop on our must-see trip—it always is. Spots like the beautiful High Line in New York City are hidden gems and bring so much happiness to anyone who has an opportunity to visit.

For more info and to register for a bike, visit SoulCycle on the High Line to Benefit Friends of the High Line! See you there!

Jennie Garth on Giving Back, Weight Loss Secrets and Staying in Shape

Written on March 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm , by

No Jock Jams here! Jennie Garth listens to mellow music to stay in the zone during a sweat session. (Photo courtesy Lindt)

Have you ever walked into a Lindt store before? I had not, until this week when I went to go see actress Jennie Garth kick off the Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction to raise funds for Autism Speaks. Let me tell you, it is a deliciously terrifying place if you have a sweet tooth. The walls are covered with chocolate, not to mention the gold bunnies that basically spoke to you as soon as you walked in the door. (I swear one of them whispered to me that I could take all their chocolate ears and no one would care). But luckily, watching Garth sign her bunny and looking more in shape than ever was enough motivation to keep me from ransacking the walls. Below, Garth chats with us on her latest fitness routine, weight loss tricks and how she stays in shape.

What made you decide to get involved in the Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction this year?
I have three daughters and Easter is a big family time holiday for us. It’s also a valuable time to tell them about the importance of giving back, so partnering up with Lindt for this is just something I can really feel good about.

What’s your fitness routine like these days?
I’m really into hiking and jogging with my dog right now. I recently got a really big dog and he needs exercise all the time, so that is something that is new for me. I work out in a gym with a trainer two to three days a week on top of that. Read more

A New Way to Get Inspired to Race This Spring

Written on March 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm , by

Sign up for a race and help run the world–literally! (Photo courtesy Laura Doss)

Brr! It might be the first week of March, but it feels more like December. One way FITNESS editors stay motivated through the winter is to sign up for a spring race (or races, for that matter!). On top of beating our seasonal blues, a new campaign started by She’s the First, a not-for-profit that sponsors girls’ educations in developing nations has got us more fired up than ever.

From March 1 to June 30, sign up at shesthefirst.org/RunSTF and get placed on a virtual “Run the World” map and create an online fundraising page. Then, ask your friends and family to match your miles or minutes for your race (for example, $13.10 if you’re running the MORE/FITNESS Magazine Half-Marathon!). You can also connect to the She’s the First Trailblazers Facebook page, so you can cheer and be cheered on as you all train for your races and raise money for a good cause! Don’t want to go at it alone? Grab some friends and start a team, plus tweet your progress with the hashtag #RunSTF for some social support. Once you finish training for your marathon, half-marathon, or bevy of spring 5Ks, you’ll be able to check back at the site and see how much your training and charity efforts helped school-aged girls all around the world. Oh yeah, and your body will be beach-ready, too. That’s a win-win in our book!

More from FITNESS: Find a Race in Your Area to Sign Up For!

Fitness Gala 2013: Sweating for a Good Cause

Written on February 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm , by

Editor in Chief Betty, Smash star Megan Hilty and Web Editor Colleen hang out before Dasha Libin’s Kettlebell Kickboxing workout.

Sure, we love dressing up as much as the next gal–but when we’re asked to go to a red carpet event in our spandex and sneakers, it’s pretty much a fitness editor’s dream come true. And that’s exactly what we did this weekend at the Fitness Gala 2013, benefitting Mariska Hargitay’s charity, the Joyful Hearts Foundation.

Between mingling with stars like Smash‘s Megan Hilty, who hosted the event, celebrity bartender Ryan Serhant of Million Dollar Listing (and yup, he’s as hunky off-screen as he is on) and noshing on healthy and delicious bites from celebrity chef and author of Cook Yourself Sexy Candice Kumai, we were in healthy living heaven.

But let’s not forget about the workout! Dasha Libin, creator of Kettlebell Kickboxing led a 45-minute master class for over 100 women who were excited to squat and swing to take a stand against sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. True story: There was even a Gangnam Style-inspired move. Check out some pictures from the event below.

 

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Jane Krakowski Talks Giving Back, Busy Holidays and Exercise

Written on December 20, 2012 at 10:00 am , by

Jane’s workouts these days consist of chasing her son and fitness classes on the fly. Clearly it’s working for her! (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern

With everything going on this time of year, we can sometimes forget the most important part of the holidays–giving back. That’s what 30 Rock‘s Jane Krakowski is doing with the help of Bank of America, who will be donating this season to Feeding America, which supports hunger relief in the U.S. Jane made the first donation using the mobile transfer function on Bank of America’s mobile banking app, while chatting with us about her holiday plans and her post-baby fitness secrets!

How do you stay organized during the busy holiday season?

I’m still trying to figure that all out. I do a lot of multitasking and things at odd hours of the day and night. I’ll take a nap then wake up at midnight to write Christmas cards. It’s a lot but it’s also a fun time of the year and we’re looking forward to making Christmas special this year.

We heard that you’re hosting your first Christmas, what are you doing to prepare for it?

I haven’t gotten to the preparing part yet. My fiancé and I are going to be those people at the stores shopping on Christmas Eve because of the 30 Rock finale. We’re shooting around the clock right now. So there will be many last minute preparations, but that’s fine because it’s just family members. He’ll be doing most of the cooking so my relatives are in good hands, they won’t have to eat my cooking. Read more