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Play Nice with Mother Nature: When you're tramping where the wild things are, it's best to practice this do-not-disturb policy.
How to Pimp Your Backpack: If you're trimming a fat pack for a simple day hike, here are 10 key items that you don't want to leave lying on your living room floor, according to outdoor pro Bear.
How Not to Look Like a Poseur: In the woods, what separates the women from the girls is who can make it home using an old-school compass when the reception on her GPS gadget goes poof. Grab a map and practice how to be the former, Bear advises.
For more detailed how-to videos, go to rei.com and click the Learn tab.
Get Going: Check out trails.com for hikes near you. Don't have a hiking buddy but are reluctant to go solo? Alltrails.com offers group trips nationwide that you can join to make your adventure more social; the service also allows you to filter routes by location and difficulty. Get extra familiar with your chosen trail by cross-referencing it at nwf.org/naturefind, which also provides info on the best and most popular paths near you.
Bring Your A-Game: Venus Williams reveals how you can rule the court.
Dodge Tennis Elbow: Surprise -- despite its name, this bummer strain begins with the wrist. We consulted Jennifer Solomon, MD, a team physician for the United States Tennis Association (USTA), on how to save your game.
How Not to Look Like a Poseur: When it comes to courtside fashion, white minis have given way to everything from capris to catsuits. And sweatbands? You won't catch many in-the-know pros wearing the 1970s Bjorn Borg variety; Williams opts for a visor from her Eleven by Venus line. But there's one accessory a true player would never toss. "I wear wristbands to keep the sweat off my hands," Williams says. Yours can double as something to dab your brow with.
Get Going: Whether you're a novice or the next Serena, you can easily find your ideal opponent at tennisround.com. This website helps connect players of all levels (the site has 16,000-plus registered members) and find courts in more than 2,200 U.S. cities. If you need a hand with selecting the right partner, let the site's new Flex League program suggest a suitable player for you. Looking for a league? Find one near you on the USTA website, usta.com/adult-tennis/usta-league.
Ride Without Getting Saddle Sore: Carmen Small, a road-cycling pro with Team Specialized-Lululemon, will save your butt.
Be Queen of the Hill: Yes, there's a science to getting over the hump without huffing and puffing.
How Not to Look Like a Poseur: Beware the chain-ring tattoo -- the grease marks that you can get when your front gears rub up against your right calf. "It's not only a dead giveaway that you're a novice, but the rubbing can easily cut you," says Emmett. Play it safe by always putting your left foot, which is farthest from the chain ring, down to stop, leaving your right foot on the pedal. And tight-and-bright spandex with the allover logos can scream "I'm trying too hard." Stick with a cute "kit" -- cyclist lingo for "outfit" -- that's understated.
Get Going: Pick your desired distance, then find a course at mapmyride.com or download the app to have your cell phone's GPS act as your copilot. Looking to pick up speed or bike-handling skills? Ride in a group. Inquire at your local bike shop or consider joining a chapter of Team Luna Chix (teamlunachix.com). The girl-power program, sponsored by Luna Bar, helps connect active women of all ages and fitness levels who love to road or mountain bike, so that they never have to train alone and can learn from and encourage one another -- all while raising money for a good cause, the Breast Cancer Fund.
Avoid Catching a Crab: Pro paddler Emily Jackson shares how to stroke, not choke, in a canoe.
Get a Grip: Seasoned paddlers have calluses on their palms, making them semi-impervious to blisters. Here's help for the rest of us to avoid this collateral damage.
How Not to Look Like a Poseur: So you don't have calluses -- that's not a sign that you're a newbie. But the running sneakers? Real boaters know better than to choose shoes that soak up water and go all slippery when wet. Boat shoes are called boat shoes for a reason, people! Jackson wears Sperry Top-Sider SON-R Sounders ($90, sperrytopsider.com) because they have the telltale zigzag treads that funnel away water when you step on soggy surfaces.
Get Going: Go to paddling.net/launches for a listing of all the nearby places (almost 20,000 are in the database) where you can push off in your kayak or canoe. No boat of your own? Call the location -- a lake marina, say -- ahead of time to see if you can rent equipment. Or take an intro class at the REI Outdoor School (rei.com/outdoorschool), which offers paddling courses in 14 cities nationwide.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2013.