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Give Back With the K-Swiss Stand Up To Cancer Line

Written on May 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm , by

Personalize your sneaks for an extra dose of motivation. (Photo courtesy of K-Swiss)

Many of us have been there: One of our family members or loved ones have been diagnosed with a chronic disease and given a grim prognosis. We feel an urgent desire to assist them, but can feel helpless against the powerful disease. Enter cause-based races, events and products, which offer an opportunity to support research and education so that future generations will hopefully experience fewer of these moments than we do.

One of our recent favorites? The K-Swiss/ Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) partnership. The new SU2C line from the brand is about more than cute gear (although that is surely included)—it focuses on accelerating research projects that hope to bring a cure. K-Swiss is donating $5 for each SU2C product purchased through the end of 2013. And if your spiffy sneakers have you ready for a new challenge, you can join Team SU2C, which helps individuals or groups raise money for the charity by participating in sporting events around the country, like Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathons and Ironman triathlon events.

To learn more, click here or watch the video below.

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FCancer: Not Your Average Non-Profit

Written on May 7, 2012 at 11:28 am , by

Yael (right) and her mom (left), spreading the foundation's mission statement. (Photo courtesy of FCancer)

Warning: Once you hear about Yael Cohen, 25, you’re probably going to feel a little lazy. In 2009, after watching her mother recover from breast cancer surgery Cohen heard the phrase “F Cancer” in passing, except it really stuck with her. “It’s just a sentence, but the sentiment is so natural and brave at the same time,” she told us at a visit to the FITNESS offices last week. In witnessing her mother’s experience with cancer she was shocked to find out that 90 percent of cancers are curable if caught in Stage 1. So she set out to found FCancer, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating Generation Y to learn and teach their parents about early detection. You read that right, the kids teach the parents this time around. “All kids think they know more than their parents,” said Cohen, “and with our site we give them the tools so that in this instance, they actually do.”

Cohen’s site, letsfcancer.com uses social media (which 99.9 percent of Gen-Yers are already on) to spread their digital campaigns like The Cancer Talk, where celebrities from Sophia Bush to Adrian Grenier made YouTube videos of their experiences of having The Sex Talk with their parents, how to give your parents The Cancer Talk and the importance of early detection.

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Don’t Throw Out Those Used Sneaks! How to Recycle Old Fitness Gear

Written on April 10, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

Save your sneaks for a good cause. (Photo courtesy of Brian Maranan Pineda)

Exercising regularly means going through lots of fitness gear. Instead of just tossing out old kicks or a worn-out yoga mat, do something good for the Earth. Here are ways to recycle or reuse old workout gear.

Sneakers

  • Donate: You can toss them in a Goodwill bin, or send them to an organization that’ll put them to good use. Soles4Souls‘s tag line is “Saving the world — one pair at a time.” This organization takes your tired, but “gently worn,” sneakers and finds needy feet to fill them. They strongly suggest organizing shoe drives and mailing all the pairs to one of their three warehouse locations. Another organization, One World Running, has been serving runners around the world since 1986. Through collection programs, they are able to provide shoes for needy runners across the world. Check here for drop-off locations.
  • Recycle: Turn your old shoes into something new. Nike Reuse-A-Shoe takes all brands of sneakers that are beyond “gently worn” and turns them into a recycled product known as Nike Grind, which is used to make tracks, indoor basketball courts, fields, and playgrounds. Just drop off your retired sneakers at any Nike store, or check here for drop-off locations.
  • Reuse: Keep an old pair of sneakers around for days when you’re running or walking in the rain or on muddy trails. Some people even use old shoes as plant potters. Fill a disinfected shoe with soil and grow some basil or cilantro on your deck or windowsill.

Clothes

  • Donate: When you buy newer gear, pass on your old gear to friends or siblings, or donate them to Goodwill, a homeless shelter, or other charity store.
  • Recycle: Patagonia accepts all its products back for recycling. Either mail them to Patagonia or drop them off at a retail store.
  • Reuse: Used fitness clothes make excellent old rags for cleaning. Cut them up and store them in a bag under the kitchen sink.

Keep reading to find out what you can do with your old fitness equipment and yoga mats.

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One Child Dies Every 20 Seconds From This—And How You Can Help

Written on March 15, 2012 at 11:37 am , by

Walkers can choose to carry buckets to experience a bit of what it's really like to make the trek. (Photo courtesy of Walk for Water)

Every 20 seconds, one child dies from consuming contaminated water. It’s easy to forget—with such easy access to bottled H2O and clean water flowing from the tap—that more than one billion people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water. But the startling facts remain:

  • Unclean water leads to more deaths each year than war and causes 80 percent of the world’s diseases
  • Those in regions without clean water may need to walk as many as six miles each day to obtain the 40 to 80 pounds of water needed for their family
  • All of this water-gathering time, which adds up to about 10 years of life, can’t be spent at work, school or caring for family

This weekend, Positive Community Impact (PCI) is hosting their fourth annual 5K Walk for Water in San Diego, California to help raise money for this important cause. Free on Sunday at 10 a.m.? Register to spend a bit of time walking in the footsteps of all of those in water-deprived regions—money from the student-run event supports important projects in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa. (One PCI staff member traveled to Tanzania last year to help build a well for residents.)

If you can’t make it to the walk, here are five “steps” you can take today to start conserving water:

  1. Shorten your shower…Save 2.5 gallons/minute
  2. Wash only full loads of laundry…Save 15-50 gallons/load
  3. Replace your old toilet with a low-flow model…Save 2.2-3.8 gallons/flush
  4. Install flow-restricting aerators on faucets…Save 4.7 gallons/day
  5. Turn off the faucet while washing dishes or brushing teeth…Save 2.5 gallons/minute

New to Racing? Try Team Challenge for Training Advice and Motivation

Written on March 14, 2012 at 10:43 am , by

Training with a group can help make crossing the finish line easier. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Ali Feller, the amazing running and fundraising superstar in our April I Did It! section (“I Conquered Crohn’s”), crossed her first endurance event finish line with the help of Team Challenge. In fact, she enjoyed the experience so much, she later became a Team Challenge mentor to help others rock their races too.

If you’re new to participating in triathlons, half or full marathons or cycling races, organizations like Team Challenge can be beneficial not only for the accountability factor (teammates are waiting for you at the track each week), but also for the educational clinics about sports nutrition, injury prevention and hydration. And since you’re raising money for a good cause at the same time, in this case, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, you’ll be able to chalk up one more reason why you shouldn’t quit—during training or during the race.

Interested in trying out Team Challenge? They are currently “recruiting” participants for the following events:

  • June 2: Virginia Wine Country Half-Marathon, Loudoun, Virginia
  • June 24: Centurion Cycling, Lake George, New York
  • June 24: Kona Half-Marathon, 10K and 5K, Big Island, Hawaii
  • July 15: Wine Country Half-Marathon Napa to Sonoma, Sonoma, California
  • September 9: Trirock San Diego, San Diego, California

To learn more about Team Challenge and these races, click here.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Now tell us: Have you participated in any team training events or charity races? Fill us in about them in the comments.

Kicking and Cleaning with Kelly Ripa and Soccer Star Brandi Chastain

Written on March 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm , by

Kelly Ripa And Brandi Chastain kick off spring with a soccer clinic promoting the Electrolux Perfect Steam Washer. (Photo courtesy of Electrolux).

For everyone who spent this weekend running around in the springy weather, you probably now have a pile of dirty clothes to show for it. And while doing laundry may not be on your top ten favorite things to do in life, Kelly Ripa and World Cup Champ Brandi Chastain made it look fun hosting a soccer clinic on behalf of Electrolux’s Kicking and Cleaning campaign at Chelsea Piers in NYC last week. We got the chance to sit down with both of the busy moms to steal some of their time-saving tips, fitness routines and healthy eating tricks.

Read below to become a professional multitasker like these two and then do something good today! When you share your kids’ proudest moments on the Electrolux Facebook page, Electrolux will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Tell us about Electrolux’s Kicking and Cleaning initiative. Why is this program so important?

Brandi Chastain: The clinic is about getting kids active and involved, both boys and girls. When you have a boy you assume he will play sports, but it’s just as important for girls to get started in sports at a young age too. And with the Electrolux partnership it is a perfect fit. Helping keep kids clean and confident is an important part of being a mom. I can relate even as an athlete. As a player walking onto a field with a white U.S. jersey, you take pride in representing your country and it just looks better if it isn’t dingy and dirty!

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Eat Chocolate for a Good Cause

Written on March 7, 2012 at 9:00 am , by

Buy a bunny and help raise autism awareness this month. (Photo courtesy of Lindt Chocolate)

There are lots of reasons you should be eating chocolate, even if you are on a diet. Just an ounce a day helps your skin, prevents heart disease and can instantly boost your mood. But now there is another reason to let yourself indulge a little bit, for charity. Just in time for Easter basket purchases, Lindt Chocolate is teaming up with Autism Speaks to help raise awareness of the developmental disability that affects 1 in 110 American children. Here’s how you can help:

  • Between now and Easter, April 8, buy a Lindt Gold Bunny, and Lindt will donate 10 cents for every purchase to Autism Speaks.
  • For every Easter e-card sent from lindtgoldbunny.com, Lindt will donate $1.
  • Cast your bid at the Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction, where 70 porcelain bunnies signed by celebs like Jennifer Garner, Julie Bowen, Katherine Heigl and other A-listers will be auctioned off at lindtgoldbunnyauction.com from March 8 to 18.
  • Repin any of Lindt’s Easter-related pins on Pinterest (and follow us on Pinterest too while you’re at it!) and Lindt will donate up to $10,000 for your pinning efforts.

So there you have it, eating chocolate can not only help you, but also give back at the same time. Plus, can you really resist the cuteness of those little gold bunnies?

More from FITNESS: The Secret Health Benefits of Chocolate

4 Charity Races On Our Bucket Lists

Written on March 6, 2012 at 10:50 am , by

Wacky costumes for a very worthy cause! Runners take on The Lemon Run course. (Photo courtesy of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation)

I’m currently in training mode for my first half-marathon and am enjoying the experience so much that I’m already looking ahead to find more events to keep me motivated all year long! Having upcoming races on the calendar gives you a goal to work toward. Plus, visualizing yourself crossing the finish line with a personal best will inspire you to lace up your shoes (or clip into your pedals, slip on some goggles, etc.) when you’re feeling less-than-inspired. Bonus points if you’re raising money for a good cause at the same time!

With that in mind, we found four unique events held across the U.S. that we can’t wait to try.

Four Courts Four Miler

  • When and where: March 10 in Arlington, Virginia
  • Why: It’s a little late notice, but if you’re free this Saturday, try to beat the leprechaun in this fun run! The man in green begins 10 minutes after the gun goes off and tries to pass as many walkers and joggers as he can on the way to the finish. Snag a prize if you beat him, but don’t feel bad if you see him run on by. For every person the leprechaun beats, one dollar is donated to a local police charity.

Urban Assault Ride

  • When and where: March 26 in Tucson, Arizona; April 1 in Charlotte, South Carolina; June 3 in St. Louis, Missouri; June 10 in Minneapolis, Minnesota; June 24 in Austin, Texas; July 15 in Fort Collins, Texas; July 22 in Denver, Colorado; August 12 in Des Moines, Iowa; August 19 in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Why: Bored on your bike? Not during this race! Find a partner and tackle checkpoints around town, pedaling between each stop. Adding to the fun factor: There’s no set route or order to the checkpoints, so it’s up to you to pick what you believe is most efficient. Proceeds from each race benefits two or three charities in the host town.

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Fit For a Cause: Walking For Healthier Babies

Written on March 5, 2012 at 10:49 am , by

Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern

Crowds converge on a recent March starting line. (Photo courtesy of March of Dimes)

Sometimes it’s just too easy to stay planted on the couch during that Real Housewives marathon—especially during the cold winter months. You know you should fit in at least a little activity for the day, but what will inspire you to get up and go? It’s different for everyone, but a sure-fire way to feel a connection to your active side is picking a cause to be fit for!

The perfect motivation this month can be found in the form of March for Babies, the March of Dimes walks which support research to help all women have healthy, full-term pregnancies. The 3-mile events start (appropriately) in March and continue into the summer, taking place at more than 900 locations across the country. Money raised for the cause funds research and programs that promote healthy youngsters from conception to toddlers.

Each year, March for Babies enlists an ambassador family to spread the word. For 2012, it’s the Witstrucks. Now a healthy 5 year old, Kieran Witstruck was born at 31 weeks and spent the first months of his life in the newborn intensive care. Mom Shalini says she never expected Kieran to be born preterm. “Being healthy and fit is very important to me,” she says. “When I found out I was pregnant I made sure to eat healthy and maintain a good level of fitness to stay healthy during my pregnancy.”

The Witstrucks still don’t know what caused Kieran’s birth to come so early. “Forty percent of preterm births are credited to unknown causes and we fall into that category. It’s one of the things March for Babies is trying to help doctors understand,” Shalini says.

Shalini and her husband Shane are both runners, and have finished many races together. But what sets the March for Babies apart from other races and walks is the super family-friendly mentality. “It’s a great thing to bring your kids to,” she says. “They get to be a part of something to help other children and reaching the finish line gives them a real sense of accomplishment.”

Recalling one of the previous Marches she and Kieran have walked in, Shalini tells us, “I’ll never forget, I met this wonderful woman. Her son and Kieran walked together and held hands the whole way. It’s a magical thing.”

Stay tuned tomorrow for five more active events around the country that are inspiring us to keep up with our training all year long.

Yogis Unite to Help Somaly Mam Foundation

Written on January 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm , by

Taking a yoga class this month will benefit a lot more than your health. (Photo courtesy of Yoga Freedom Project)

If one of your fitness resolutions is to take up yoga this year, we’ve got the perfect opportunity for you to stick to it and do something good in the process. This month Off the Mat NYC is partnering up with Somaly Mam Foundation to create the Yoga Freedom Project, a global initiative to raise awareness and funding against sex trafficking.

By joining the Yoga Freedom Project, you’ll get connected to a global community of studio owners that will allow you to collect donations for the Somaly Mam Foundation throughout the month. To start collecting, you can either host a donation-based class, sell copies of Somaly Mam, founder of the Somaly Mam Foundation and survivor of sex slavery’s book Road to Lost Innocence, sell jewelry made by survivors of trafficking in Cambodia, or set up a donation box at one of the Yoga Freedom Project’s studios during a class.

On Tuesday,  Jan. 31 the project will end with a sun salutation event in NYC featuring Elena Brower, Dana Flynn, Cyndi Lee, Jodie Rufty, Alan Finger, Sri Dharma Mittra, Sierra Bender, Tricia Donegan and Suzanne Sterling. Buy tickets here to attend and help the fight against modern-day slavery.

For more information on the Yoga Freedom Project, and a list of studios involved visit offthematnyc.com.

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