Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feet First Maps Kirkland

Feet First a non-profit organization serving Washington State to “promote the rights and interests of pedestrians and encourage walking” has mapped the City of Kirkland.

“Neighborhoods on Foot series” as the maps are called are “periodicals” and include current events, schools, parks, transits, trails, civil buildings and more. The maps are easy to use and include radius markers that give walkers a general idea how long it will take to walk to a certain location. For example, the Nettleton Commons Community, a new housing community near downtown Kirkland is shown within a 5 minute walk of Peter Kirk Park, Kirkland Transit Center, Kirkland Library, Performance Center, Lee Johnson Field and many other popular destinations.

The maps can be found online (not all maps are available) or free from and many shops, cafes, libraries, and community centers.

Walking towards better health

Most of us can definitely use more exercise in our daily routine. Let’s face it, without your health, what do you have? So, every year we set out with lofty goals to go to the gym, run, swim, bike and so on. By March gym attendance drops, motivation wanes and we set aside our goals because getting to the gym or pool was time consuming, traffic and parking was stressful, the gym was crowded, expensive and quite frankly we just got bored with the whole thing. So what can we do? A simple answer is walk. Walking is the oldest and least expensive form of exercise and most importantly it works!! About.com reports that “Walkers have less incidence of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other killer diseases. They live longer and get mental health and spiritual benefits.” USA Today reports on a recent study conducted by The Active Living Research Program at San Diego State University, that “People did 40 to 50 minutes more physical activity per week if their neighborhoods were designed for pedestrians…” which ultimately led to the conclusion that these people were healthier and leaner overall.

In addition, walking can be the easy, inexpensive and fun way to get started on a new fitness lifestyle. The Walking Site, a website dedicated to walking, says it best, “The toughest thing about starting a fitness program is developing a habit.” Too many of us rush out in the beginning and push ourselves too hard. This can result in fatigue, possible injury and worse burnout. To combat this, start off slow. Walkingsite.com recommends, “…walk for 10 minutes, and walk back. That's it? Yes, that's it. Do this every day for a week. If this was easy for you, add five minutes to your walks next week (total walking time 25 minutes). Keep adding 5 minutes until you are walking as long as desired.” Not only will this plan get you healthier in the process, it is attainable, and will start to modify your behavior until physical activity becomes a part of your everyday life. Most importantly make sure to do this regularly for at least a month as 21 days of routine behavior is the widely accepted time frame for creating (or changing) a habit. This accomplishment, change in everyday activity and how you feel will no doubt take you on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

As well as being healthy, walking is a peaceful and interesting way to get exercise. As opposed to squeezing into the gym and watching TV while you walk on a device that tries to mimic the natural world, instead get outside and see what your community has to offer. Watching the seasons change, visiting a new business in your community, walking your kids to school are all fun adventures that will surely take your mind off the fact that you are actually getting exercise. Yes, sometimes the weather can be less than perfect, but with the right preparation a brisk walk to a local coffee shop can be a healthy and invigorating adventure during any season. So, gather up your family, friends and neighbors and get out and walk to your health, the rewards tomorrow could Literally change your life.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kirkland Triathlon September 20, 2009

Kirkland will be hosting the Kirkland Triathlon at Carillon Point on September 20th starting at 7:00 AM. The Kirkland Triathlon debuted in 2002 and included over 1300 athletes which made it one of the largest first year sprint Tri’s in US history!!!!

This year will no doubt be full of energy and excitement brining athletes from all around to downtown Kirkland. Even if you have not participated in a Triathlon or even watched one, don’t miss it, it is always exciting and motivating.

Ever thought about competing in a triathlon, marathon or other athletic event? Or maybe you just want to get into the gym more frequently, run a couple days a week? Well where you live matters. Having the right amenities near you is crucial to maintaining your schedule and motivation. There is nothing more frustrating than working late and having to drive in traffic to your gym, pool or lake to get your exercise.

In contrast, downtown Kirkland offers EVERYTHING you need to, recreate, maintain your health and train to the next level. Several gyms are located in Downtown Kirkland including my favorite Kirkland Crossfit. In addition, ball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, skate park and outdoor pool are all centrally located in Peter Kirk Park. Of course Mother Nature provided the most amazing of all training grounds, Lake Washington which is an integral part of downtown Kirkland and provides endless opportunities for exercise including open water swimming, jogging (around) and kayaking. Last but definitely not least is biking. Biking is not only embraced in Kirkland, it is encouraged and many residents preferred mode of transportation. Just recently, The City of Kirkland installed a new sensor system that is used by bikers to activate traffic signals similar to how automobiles do currently. Very Cool!!!!

So considering your health and activities when choosing a home is crucial and will pay “quality of life” dividends everyday. Consider something that is close to everything, easy to maintain and has some room for all your exercise necessities: Mountain Bike, Road Bike, Tri-Bike, Kayak, Roller Blades, Skateboards, Paddleboard, Basketball, Football, Tennis Racket (you get the picture) A perfect example is the Nettleton Commons located a stones throw from downtown Kirkland offering beautiful new (which means very little maintenance) single family homes with garages (to hold all your equipment) and grounds that are maintained by the Homeowners association, so you can focus on having fun!!!! Come check out Nettleton Commons after you watch the finishers accomplish their goals at the Kirkland Triathlon.