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Friday, Jan 25 2013 12:02 AM

Fit and Fresh: Cycle through blossoms, run in town throughout March

By Sally Baker and Katie Kirschenmann

Cycling through the blossoms

Sally Baker: The 24th annual Kings River Blossom Bike Ride will take place on March 2 at Reedley College, hosted by Reedley Lions Club. The ride starts and finishes at the college, rain or shine. There are several rides to choose, from the 10-mile family ride, or a 20-mile, 40-mile, or the more challenging 63-mile route. All routes will pass through fragrant pink and white fruit blossoms and end with lunch, included with registration. Cost is $40 for pre-registration, or $50 on the day of the event. More information: blossombikeride.com.

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The 24th annual Kings River Blossom Bike Ride will take place on March 2 at Reedley College, hosted by Reedley Lions Club

Sitting on a hard bike seat can cause intense pain and discomfort for both men and women, and it is really worthwhile purchasing a gender specific saddle.

Finding the time to exercise with small children is a challenge, but finding the time to exercise and eat right it is truly important.

Sitting pretty

Baker: For those girls who have spent any time in the bike saddle, they will know that it can be a pain in the butt -- literally. A few of my friends have even been deterred from the sport because of the pain until they discovered it could be much more pleasant with the right bike seat. Sitting on a hard saddle can cause intense pain and discomfort for both men and women, and it is really worthwhile purchasing a gender specific saddle to allow for correct body weight distribution between the glutei and the lower section of the pelvis, providing ventilation and blood flow promotion while minimizing pressure. Saddles vary in design, size and price -- from $30 to $300 or more. Talk to an informed cyclist salesman in a local bike store and find one that fits your frame and weight.

Thin Mint 5K

Baker: Support our local Girl Scouts by attending the Thin Mint 5K on March 2 at Sole to Soul Sports in The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave. Cost is $25 for adults, $30 on race day. More information: thinmintrun.com.

Kern River Trail Run

Baker: This year, this great race will take place on March 16 in Hart Park and offers 5K, 10K, and 10-mile races. All courses take you along beautiful trails close to the Kern River with nice views of surrounding mountains. More information: bakersfieldtrackclub.com.

Exercise and diverticulitis

Baker: Diverticulitis affects 50 percent of people older than 60 and many younger than that. In the last couple of decades, within the running and cycling community, it is a word I have heard often, especially with my female running friends. There have been many concerns voiced as to whether there is a bathroom on our running routes, and occasionally we have had to take detours in search of one. Usually a result of insufficient fiber in the diet, marble size pouches can form in the inner lining of the intestinal tract, trapping fragments of stool, which may become infected or inflamed.

The good news is that exercise, particularly the aerobic type, such as running or hiking hills, helps reduce pressure inside your colon responsible for constipation. So, ladies, make sure your diet is high in fiber, low in fat and processed foods, and get out there and perform at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day to keep your colon in good shape. Also, getting up a little earlier in the morning before you run is a great idea to take care of the "important business."

Finding time

Katie Kirschenmann: Oh momma! Finding the time to exercise with small children is a challenge. Juggling babies, your household and work is no small task. More often than not we moms put our lives on the back burner to manage our families. Sometimes the most exercise we get is running after the toddler, or lifting the baby out of the crib. It is important to remember that we are our children's first role models for health and a wellness. Though it is a challenge, finding the time to exercise and eat right it is truly important. The easiest way to get fit with small children is to incorporate your tots into your workout regime. What is important to you should be important to your children, and at the top of that list is your family's health. Sally has taught me a great deal about family exercise. More often than not, you can find one -- if not all three -- of Sally's beautiful daughters on a long run with her. Exercise is a wonderful way to build family strength. Here are few fun ideas to fit exercise into your family's schedule:

* Stroller derby: Plop your little one, or little ones, in a stroller. If you have a small baby, she needs to have good control of her head and neck before you can do this safely. Start with a half an hour walk and ramp up your time and speed as you gain strength. Take a friend. Exercise is always easier with the support and conversation of good friends. Make sure you bring plenty of water and diapers. Your baby will get used to the stroller and really enjoy the time outside.

* Take a hike: For more of a challenge, put your baby in a baby carrier and find an easy trail. There are so many wonderful and safe baby carriers on the market now. Even dad can get in on the action; encourage dad to wear baby on a hike with you. If you have an older child, take the opportunity to introduce nature hikes to your family. Big kids love outdoor adventures, and you will love the calorie burn.

* Take it to the mats: While your baby is in between feeding and naps, play with her. Roll out your yoga mat or a blanket, and exercise with your bundle of joy. If your baby has good head and neck control, prop her up on your tummy and legs and try some easy crunches. Lie down and lift your baby up. While socializing and bonding with your baby, you will also get a little strength training. If you are a yoga veteran, practice some easy positions and poses while your baby enjoys tummy time. My two baby girls love this. They smile and coo as I attempt to get a little tone back in my arms. Always remember, safety first. Make sure baby is secure and comfortable, and you are physically able to resume mat exercise.

* Comeback kid: Don't be hard on yourself. Getting your pre-baby body back does not happen overnight. Set realistic and attainable goals that are measurable without being too strict. I am comfortable with the fact that I am not going to run a marathon this month. That would not be a realistic goal. Take it easy and always talk to your doctor and pediatrician before starting a diet and exercise regime. Sally and I are just beginning to run together again after getting the OK from my doctor. Starting slowly and working my way toward a half marathon is a goal I can measure and enjoy accomplishing without stress.

And incorporating your family into your health and wellness creates doubled rewards. You will benefit from their support and encouragement, and they will benefit from your happiness and increased self-esteem.

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