I recently found myself in the market for some Trekking poles and started to do my research. I had no clue what I was looking and therefore, I started this research blind. I knew nothing about trekking poles, it had just come as a bright idea that it may help my hiking abilities. I read some articles and I talked to the sales representatives at my local trail outfitter. Eventually, I decided to purchase a pair of LEKI trekking poles.
Researching Trekking Poles
I started my research online. I had only a vague idea that trekking poles would help me with a problem that I had recently developed while hiking. The problem? I had been stumbling more frequently and while hiking was occasionally unable to catch myself from falling. (I had first checked for other health issues, but everything appeared to be fine, I was just falling….a LOT!) That is where I started my research. Immediately I looked for guidance. Would trekking poles help me with my stability? The resounding answer was yes! I was ready to really start shopping! But then my eye caught some other things that Trekking poles are noted to help. Trekking poles were supposed to help with balance and stability for those suffering with arthritis in the knees! Perfect! But, the clincher for me? It also has been helpful for people who have hands that swell while hiking! Oh my word. I was totally hooked now!
There are a ton of different brands out there. I am an Amazon shopper so I immediately turned to Amazon. I found trekking poles for as low as $20! Awesome, it wasn’t going to break the bank! But then I started to look at the reviews. Hmmmm, flimsy and break after the first use. I was not impressed. I knew that I was going to be using these to help give me stability and a trekking pole that broke while I was using it was NOT going to keep me upright! In fact, that sounded downright disastrous! I went back to the research table and started to look at the top trekking poles. I was so confused and didn’t know what way to turn!
Visiting a Trail Outfitter Store
We decided to stop into our locally owned trail outfitter to check out their options for trekking poles. I was excited to see what they had in the store. I was hoping that they had something in stock! They were easy to find and we made our way right over to their selection. I immediately grabbed a pair or women’s poles. They looked snazzy. I extended them and did a few steps. Hmmm. They seemed to bow a bit with very little pressure. That didn’t seem safe to me. I grabbed a pair of LEKI poles and we extended them to the proper height. They were stiff and solid and seemed to have no bend or bow in them when I put a bit of pressure onto them.
The sales representative came over and started to talk to us about the different brands and styles of poles. They did not push one way or the other. HOWEVER, they did talk about the warranty of each product. They talked about the superior customer service of LEKI products and the ease of receiving replacement parts for anything that wears out or gets broken. LEKI is a company that specializes and manufactures two types of products, trekking poles and camp chairs. Their R&R is not spread thin, all of their attention is centered on these two products and they stand behind their products. LEKI seemed like a great company that stood behind their products! I was sold! It wasn’t until I got my trekking poles home that I read the documents to realize that these trekking poles have a lifetime warranty on defective material and product. Furthermore, warranty parts are available for up to 10 years after the product is manufactured. EVEN BETTER!
Using the Trekking Poles
We immediately took my new LEKI trekking poles to an easy trail so that I could experiment with them. Getting the motion down is actually more awkward then you would think, but after a bit it became more natural. But the real test occurred when we headed to a portion of the Appalachian Trail that is uphill and rocky.
I headed out with some apprehension due to my recent falls and right off the bat we encountered our first rocky climb up some steps that have no handholds/trees. I put those poles to use and marched right up those uneven rocky steps. The poles gave me the stability I needed and helped my arthritic knees by taking the pressure off of them. Oh my word, they work perfectly!
I used the poles with the glove type strap. I wasn’t sure if I would like a glove instead of a strap, but when my hand was in the glove, it correctly positioned my hands on the grips of the poles. The design allowed me to now have to grip the poles tightly and it helped to spread any weight or pressure in an ergonomically and efficient way. We hiked for 3 hours that first trip where I really put the poles to the test and my hands and arms felt as comfortable at the end of the hike as they did at the beginning. It was a painless learning experience!
The grips are great! We were hiking on a day when the temperatures was 95 degrees Fahrenheit with a super high humidity. I was wondering how the grips would handle a hot day. I shouldn’t have been worried. I never once had any issue where my hands felt slick. The grips worked fabulously and even after 3 hours of a sweaty hike, felt dry and new.
These poles are easy to adjust for different heights. When we started our hike, it only took me a minute or two to extend and adjust the poles to the proper position for comfort and safety. After hiking up the mountain we turned around for our descent. After just one or two steps down a steep part of the trail I stopped and quickly adjusted the height of the poles for downhill trekking. All in all, that adjustment took less than a minute. There is no long adjustment or worry. It is quick and easy. SO easy in fact that when we were done with our hike, I returned the poles to their small carrying size while I walked across the parking lot toward my car. It really is that easy and quick!
I am totally in love with these trekking poles! They will be going with me on all of my hikes. I am planning on getting some carabiner clips for my backpack so that even when I am choosing to not use them, that they are there with me. I felt myself stumble and trip once or twice during this hike but the added stability of these poles made the stumbles just that, a stumble.
I wanted an exercise bike. I wanted an exercise bike bad! I had just spent the whole summer trying to get myself into shape on my bicycle. The mountain bike trails had just started to seem fun and then winter arrived. Winter with its long hours of darkness and infernal cold, both of which would keep me off the Mountain bike trails. I needed to find a solution. My idea was to purchase an exercise bike.
Researching what exercise bike to buy
I started to research exercise bikes. I knew the big names! There were two of them. They were the first ones that I went to! I loved the features! They each had accompanying collections of classes, personal trainers and videos to utilize while on the bike??? Awesome! It came with a set of hand weights? Even better! The features seemed quite nice! I was ready to sign up immediately! Oh wait! The price is how much???
I didn’t have a couple thousand dollars to spend on a bike! Sure they sounded like great bikes with amazing features. But, I am a budget girl and I just couldn’t see spending that much money. I was quite disappointed and honestly gave up for a few days. After all, I couldn’t afford an exercise bike so I may as well even look any more. But then I remembered reading an article written by someone that had found a decently priced bike on Amazon. I was back in the research business!
Finding exercise bikes within my budget
I started to look for bikes that were in my specific price range. There were surprisingly quite a few. I scrolled through bikes constantly online and I visited stores in order to try a variety of stles. The numbers and specifications started to run together in my mind. I made a list with prices, features and specifications listed for each bike. I even included the high priced bikes. I wanted to know what the extra money really bought! Slowly I started to whittle down my list as I learned more and more about exercise bikes.
The first and easiest thing that I did to narrow the list a bit was too look at each bike's flywheel. Heavier flywheels seemed to be a more solid and sturdy bike, especially if I wanted a bike that would allow me to comfortably and safely ride out of the saddle on my indoor rides. I eliminated all of the bikes with a lighter flywheel.
There were two features pertaining to our physical features that were important. One important feature was the ability for a bike that would be comfortable for myself, a 5’6” female and for Jason who is a 6’ male. We needed a bike that would allow us both to easily ride the bike with just minimal adjustments. The other physical feature that had to be taken into account was the physical limitations of the bike. I was 240 pounds. I needed a bike that could handle someone of that weight! A few more bikes were knocked off the list.
The next thing I looked at when I was working to eliminate bikes from my list was the type of drive train the bike had. The two options were chair driven or belt driven. From my research I decided that I wanted to have a belt driven. It appeared that they were a bit more quiet and less apt to have mechanical issues. I was able to knock quite a few of the bikes off my list.
From there it was simply a thing of deciding how much I wanted to spend and what features I found important enough to spend an extra dollar or two to have on my exercise. I chose the schwinn IC3 as my bike. It gave me the biggest bang for the buck!
Putting the Schwerin IC3 together
The Schwinn IC3 comes in a large flat box. It does have some weight to it and it took both of us to carry it up the steps to our apartment. We laid it on the living room floor and I couldn’t wait to put it together! We didn’t delay and opened the box immediately. The instructions clear and concise. The parts easily were identifiable. We literally had this bike put together within 5-10 minutes. While we worked together, it could easily be put together by just one person. Even a person with minimal skills!
The first rides on my Schwinn IC3
This bike is a dream! I immediately hopped on and it worked perfectly. The simple computer/monitor fired up and worked with no problems. I was able to easily adjust the bike to make it fit my body. It was quiet and smooth! It was everything I wanted!
The only issue that I have encountered after a few months of riding is that the seat seems to slide, even whilst tightened down as tightly as is humanly possible. Luckily for me, I feel comfortable with the seat far back so I just leave it in the back position and let the metal lip hold it in place. In fairness, I am a 240 pound rider. That could be affecting the hold of that seat.
Overall review of the Schwinn IC3
I would highly recommend the Schwinn IC3 exercise bike. . I did test ride some of the higher prices bikes at various stores. This bike performs exactly as they did. The sacrifice is in the bells and whistles. The ‘computer’ is quite basic but gives exactly what you need! I have spent quite a bit of time on this bike (and more to come as we are in the middle of a heat wave) and I love this bike just as much now as I did when I first bought the Schwinn IC3!
For tips and ideas to workout when the weather is not cooperating, check out this post about exercising during a heat wave.
It is widely accepted that the average person should be taking 10,000 steps a day. Almost every healthy lifestyle organization promotes this number. But, do you know how many steps you take There are quite a few devices and gadgets out there to help you with the task of monitoring your steps. The fitbit is one of the biggest names in step counters, with multiple devices aimed to please any user.
The Alta (Amazon Affiliate Link) was released in March of 2016. It was just another trend setting device for this health minded company. The Alta was slim and operated as not only a step counter but it could also be used as a watch. I wanted one! I pondered this fitbit for quite some time. Would I even use it? Were there enough features for my lifestyles needs. Were there too many features for my needs? I debated back and forth for months. One minute I was ready to buy the Alta, the next minute I was saying "NO", Not yet.
Finally, during a celebration I was given some gifts. One of my gifts was the Fitbit Alta. I got the Plum colored arm band. I was so excited. I couldn't wait to try it out! The opinions listed below are solely my own and are totally unsolicited. I have received no compensation for choosing to write this review.
Easy to Use
Straight out of the box, this device worked perfectly! I did have to set up an account and download the application for my phone. But that took only a minute or two. Even better, the Bluetooth paired up with my phone immediately with no issues! The set up really was only a few minutes from start to finish! Before I knew it I was prancing around the room ecstatically counting my steps! The Alta is easy to use. The steps count automatically without having to reset the device each and every day, which really does make this a device that you put on your arm and forget about.
Syncing your Alta
The Alta is designed to automatically sync up with the online profile. (If you have it set to all day Sync.). I found this process to be a bit hit or miss. I could never find a rhyme or reason to when my Alta would automatically send the information over to my profile versus when I would need to onto my phone app to manually sync the device. Luckily, syncing the two together to upload the stored data is as simple as opening up the fitbit app on my phone. Whenever the application is opened, it prompts an automatic upload. If it hasn't been done in a few days it may take a bit longer, but usually it's only a matter of seconds for this information to be transferred. From me this is no inconvenience and has no effect on the usage of either the app of the Alta.
The Fitbit Alta Battery
I had absolutely no problem with the battery life when I first started using the Alta. It held it's charge for a week and a half. It wasn't until the Alta went over the two year old mark that I had to charge it more often. But even then, it only needed charged every 4-5 days. I definitely give the battery life two thumbs up!
The Phone App and Website
The phone app interface in which a user can interact with the gathered statistics is very easy to navigate. The stats that are gathered are informative and helpful. The sleep cycle is particularly interesting as it notes your sleep patterns....usually quite accurately! Navigation through the phone app is easy and very intuitive. The website allows for more information and details. Admittedly, I rarely went onto the website, simply because the phone app had everything I needed right at my fingertips!
A Fitbit comes with a ready made community. There are people, even random strangers that are willing to accept a challenge to step more. You can participate in a weekend step challenge, a daily step challenge or a work week step challenge in order to motivate you to walk a bit more. I was also pleased to see quite a few of my friends already within the FitBit community when I joined.
If you are more of the solo challenge type of person, there are adventures that you can embark upon. With each step you take counting as you virtually tour a location Fitbit will also reward you with a badge for each achievement you make as you progress through various predetermined goals. (I.E. your first time stepping more than 25000 steps in a day, etc.....) I never paid much attention to these......but they can be found on the online portal
The community and challenge area is very much designed to keep any and every type of person motivated to move more and to achieve step goals.
The Arm Band
I found that the arm band that arrived in the box with my FitBit Alta lasted about 6-8 months before needing to be replaced. It was fine but then the latch that holds the band on to the face of the Alta would not stay attached any longer. I purchased a replacement band. That one also only lasted about 6 -8 months. I switched to an after market (non Fitbit name brand) band....simply because I didn't want to be without my Alta (I do love it that much). The after market bands were the only ones I could find in stock at my local stores. They lasted about the same amount of time before they needed to be replaced. The cost was so much more affordable that from that point on, I used after market bands! (In fairness, I did take a tumble at one point..ok maybe two....over the handle bars of my bike and the wrist that I had the fitbit on took the brunt of the fall, so that could have affect one...or two of the bands!)
The Alta as a Watch
This fitbit doubles as a watch. The watch face actually remains dark for most of the day. To ccess the time or your steps, it requires a light tap on either end of te face of the device or a certain movement that will wake up the face. The movement is described as just turning your wrist toward you to wake it up.
After a while I was an expert at awakening my Alta. However, when I first started to ear this fitbit, I could be seen tapping the watch rather uncontrollably and with increasing frustration. OR I would be moving my arm up and down trying to awaken it...to no avail. But as I said, with time, I did become adept. I find that it takes a bit more of a swooping motion to get the Alta to awaken and as for the tapping...well, it just took some time to learn the quirkiness needed in my 'tap tap'. Once again, minor issues and honestly, mostly user issues and not any issue with the Alta.
I didn't think I would like this feature. Oh, I thought I would have fun with it as a novelty. But I didn't think it would ever be a huge feature that I would never want to live without. Boy was I wrong! This became my most favored feature about this fitbit. I LOVE that I can see y incoming texts and phone calls without having to find and pick up my phone. It very quickly became something I relied on All. The. Time! In fact THAT is the reason that I was also so desperate to get a new arm band when they broke....sadly not because I was desperate to count my steps. But no, I was desperate for the convenience of my smart notifications! Is this a necessary feature? Of course not. Is it a totally convenient and much appreciated feature? Absolutely! I'm hooked!
Overally, the Fitbit Alta (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a great purchase. You get a lot of bang for your buck! It is the perfect purchase for someone interested in taking steps to more closely monitor and improve their fitness. The quality of the product has been amazing! I have absolutely no complaints and I have actually recommended this product to quite a few of my friends.
If you are interested in my other reviews of fitness watches, you can check out the Sportline Duo review or the Garmin Instinct Review.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for details.
A few years ago I decided to take up the hobby of running. I dedicated a lot of time to it and found some really neat accessories to make the hobby even more fun and convenient. Life took up residence and I stopped running for a while. It wasn't until I decided to begin running again a month or two ago that I realized how important one of these little accessories is to me! I didn't realize how much I liked it until I couldn't find it and absolutely panicked at the loss. I wanted my Run Buddy!
When I started to run I used the method that most people use to carry their cell phones. I purchased an arm band. It worked and did the job. However, my arm was larger and I had to practically cut off the circulation in my arm in order to use it. When I pumped my arms as I ran I could feel the arm band rubbing. It just wasn't comfortable for me. Added to that discomfort is the fact that it is unwieldy to remove your cell phone if you want to adjust your music or take a selfie. I tried numerous arm bands with the same results. This just wasn't working for me...but what other choice did I have???
I honestly don't remember how I found out about the Run Buddy. (Amazon Affiliate Link) But I saw it and decided that it would be a fabulous purchase for me. I ordered one immediately and waited anxiously for it to arrive. Honestly, I was skeptical but hopeful at the same time. It sounded like it would work...in theory. But would it work in a real life situation?
When I got my package from Amazon I couldn't wait to try out the Run Buddy. I checked out the purchase. It seemed simple. It is a heavy duty fabric flat pouch that will hold your cell phone (you can buy different sizes to fit whatever you need is). Built into the pouch are heavy duty magnets. There is also a flat flap that folds down behind the pocket. The flap also has magnets that are perfectly aligned to the magnets in the pouch. The concept for use? Slip the flat flap into the waistband of your pants and allow the pouch to rest on the outside of your pants. The magnets will align and hold everything in place.
I couldn't wait to try the Run Buddy so I threw on running clothes and I headed out. I slipped the flap into my pants and felt gratified to feel the magnets grab hold. I did a shimmy and a shake. My eyes widened. The run buddy was holding steady as solid as a rock! It wasnt' slipping or moving! Undaunted I headed out for a run to really test it. Yeah, it's one thing to shimmy and shake but I wanted to see how it really handled running!
OH MY WORD! This thing didn't budge! It was fabulous! I could barely feel it. In fact, I was afraid that It was going to fall off and I wouldn't know it. I calmed myself because I was listening to music and knew that if I got too far from my cell phone that my Bluetooth connection would die off and I would know that the cellphone/run buddy was somewhere behind me! But that NEVER happened. This thing was attached, and attached well! I was sold! It is easy to remove and replace for those moments that you need a mid-run selfie. It is painless. It is fabulous!
I have gone running with other people and they have showed interest in my Run Buddy. I have let each of them use the Run Buddy for a mile or so. (It really is that easy to switch and move). In each and every case, they have gone online to purchase their own Run Buddy!
The ONLY issue I ever had with the Run Buddy? I had one pair of pants that were a bit......loose. The weight of the Run Buddy combined with a very loose pair of pants was not a good combination while I was running. I had to keep my hand on my waistband the whole time! It was either that or risk scaring the Squirrels (and whoever else may have been looking) with my bare bottom as I ran that day! But even that problem was NOT the fault of the Run Buddy......I promptly threw those pants away!
As I decided to re-enter the world of running I went to get my Run Buddy. I had used it for hiking only a month or two earlier so I know it was around. But I looked EVERYWHERE! I was in a state of panic! I couldn't go running without the Run Buddy could I? Well, of course I could. But after a few days of continual searches, I finally just bit the bullet and went online and purchased a second one. I know the first one will eventually show up, but a girl can't have too many Run Buddy's! I did buy the new Run Buddy with the pink trim (Amazon Affiliate Link), so it was a bit different from the one that was lost!
I have used the Run Buddy while hiking in pants that didn't have pockets. I have used it on vacation while wearing clothes that didn't have a place to put my cell phone. This thing is a life changer! Yes, it is perfect for running....but in reality it is perfect for ANY activity where you have no place to tuck your cell phone! I can guarantee that while I own two that if they are every both missing at the same time and I am unable to find them that I will promptly go out and purchase a third one. This thing is that awesome!
For another review of sporting equipment, check out my review of the Aftershox Bone Conducting Headphones.
This review originally appeared on www.beliefinmyself.com.
I had long been using a Fitbit to count my steps...but it was slowly starting to wither away and die out. In less dramatic terms, the fitbit battery was starting to slowly die. It still worked but I was having to charge it more and more often. I knew that it was only a matter of time before it needed to be replaced. I knew that I didn't want to be without a watch/step counter so I started to shop.
I seriously considered another fitbit. The fitbit is a great watch and step counter. But I didn't know if it would have enough features for the lifestyle that I live. I seriously considered buying an Apple Watch. But once again, while the features are great, I didn't know if it had the features that I needed for an active lifestyle.
Enter the Garmin line of watches. The first Garmin watch that I looked at was the Garmin Fenix. This looked to be an amazing watch! But it comes with a pretty hefty price tag. Unfortunately, I just didn't want to spend that kind of money. I looked at other Garmin watches and came across the Garmin Instinct. Ohhh yeah!
This watch is priced at $299.99 and is a great deal. (however I do see it on sale on Amazon for $199 at the time of writing this review) It has many of the features that the Fenix has. The main difference that I found was the maps. With this watch I will not be able to use my watch to help me if I am lost in the woods. Well.....I have never been lost in the woods yet! I pretty much stick to the trails! I didn't see this as a huge selling point anyway....so to knock the price by more than $300 was a no brainer for me! Sure there are a few other features that the instinct doesn't have. But once again, all of them are negatable when I compared the price!
I couldn't' wait to get my watch! I ordered it and waited! It arrived and I pulled it out of the box.
It was easy to set up. It seamlessly paired with my phone and I had it on my arm in mere moments!
I loved the watch! It was everything I needed. Until a few weeks later when the watch stopped holding a charge. It is supposed to hold a charge for 14 days and I was having to charge it every other day! I turned off every extra feature and only used it as a watch and it made no difference! I called Garmin Support and I couldn't have been happier. They answered the phone immediately and took care of my issues. They did a return on the old watch and sent me a new watch! Voila! Easy peasy!
The new watch arrived and I never had another problem with the battery.. The new watch only has to be charged every other week (unless I am using the activity tracker a lot...then it's every week which is exactly how the watch is supposed to work!)
This watch monitors my heart rate and can track my exercise. I have used it to monitor my runs. I have used it to monitor mountain bike rides. I have actually also used it to monitor time swimming in a pool! It really has worked wonderfully in each setting.
I wear the watch 24 hours a day. For this reason I chose a more neutral colored band. But they have amazingly fun colors to chose from! I was so tempted to get a colorful one! But I just didn't think that would look good when I was wearing somber clothes at work!
The band is comfortable. The watch face is easy to read at a glance. The step count feature works perfectly. This watch is everything that Garmin claims it to be. It is the perfect addition to any active life! Garmin hit the nail on the head when they developed the Garmin Instinct! The lower price point makes it a watch that anyone can strap on their arm and use with pride and consistency!
I know I can't be the only person in the world that doesn't like ear buds! My problem is that they just do not stay in my ears! If I go for a run with earbuds I am constantly having to reinsert the earbud into my ears as they constantly fall out. Different pairs of headphones and alternating ears, it doesn't matter, they do not work for me! Enter the Aftershox Bone conducting headphones!
These headphones work wonderfully. They wrap around your head and they earpiece rests right in front of your ear. Your ears will NEVER be covered. There will never be anything stuck into your ear? This means that when you are out in public using your headphones that you will still be able to hear what is happening around you. For me, this is a HUGE safety issue that I appreciate! The added bonus is that they just sit there, they do not slip out of my ears! They band that wraps around your head stays in place and this whole contraption does not slip or move while out running.
The sound quality is superb. I have used these while using a loud mower and I had no problem with the sound quality or being unable to hear. This was a spur of the moment purchase and it turned out to be a product that I feel in love with.
My only negative is that they are a bit fragile. They are made of plastic and it doesn't take much for the plastic to snap. Once the plastic on the arm snaps they still worked but they no longer will remain on your head when you wear them. I had this happen a few months after I purchased my first pair. I already knew that I loved these headphones so I quickly replaced them and vowed to be more careful with the headphones. The second pair lasted for about 2 years before the same thing happened. My quick thinking boyfriend pulled out some tape and spent a few minutes taping them up. The tape did the trick to bring the rigidity needed back to the device. They were back to perfect! This fix has held for over a year and these headphones are still going strong!
The Aftershox Bone Conducting Headphones will be in my arsenal of technical gadgets for a long time. These things are really that great. Great sound and comfortable to wear... a perfect combination.
If you are interested in pairing these headphones with a great sport watch, check out my review for the Garmin Instinct.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.