To Do: Philly Beer Run

Looking for a way to spice up your daily runs? Next Saturday, August 13th, City Running Tours will host Philly’s Beer and Irish History Group Run. Fall back in love with Philly or experience a side of the city you never knew on this five-mile run through downtown.

Led by a trained guide at City Running Tours, this casual-paced circuit is perfect for all types of runners. Making stops along the way to take in the landmarks, you’ll learn about Philly’s history of thirst from Washington’s time through today. You’ll swing by Philadelphia’s oldest tavern plus find out where and how Philadelphians made it through Prohibition.

Best part: All group tour participants will receive a 15-percent discount on all regularly priced items at Philadelphia Runner on the day of the tour.

$25 per runner. 8:30 a.m. start at Philadelphia Runner, 1601 Sansom Street. Register online at active.com.

To Do: Sun, Sand and lots of Sweat

Looking for a challenge? Need a change of pace? This is the run for you.

This Saturday, August 6th, the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol will host the 41st Annual Captain Bill Gallagher 10-mile Island Run. The course is sure to be a unique experience, with 2.5 miles on the broadwalk and the remaining 7.5 miles on nothing but sand. Runners will start at SICBP headquarters, located at 44th Street & the Boardwalk at 5:45p.m., rain or shine. And lest the thought of soft, squishy sand keep you away, know that you’ll be running at low-tide, which means your feet will hitting hard-packed beach.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers, plus prizes for the first police officer, firefighter, and SICBP alumni finishers.

SICBP partnered up with For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation, a local organization dedicated to providing vacations for adult cancer patients and their families. Since 1999, For Pete’s Sake has been sending families on weeklong respites to donated homes at the Jersey Shore and other vacation spots along the East Coast. The SICBP Lifeguards Association donated $10.00 to the foundation for every runner or team who raised $250 or more.

The race-day entry fee is $30.

To Do: Salsa Party at Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is turning up the heat at this week’s special Art After 5 event. Catch a set, have a drink, stroll the galleries, and oh yeah, dance your butt off!

This Friday, August 5th, PMA will host a salsa party to the rhythms and sounds of North Philly-native the Johnny Cruz Latin Ensemble. And get this—not only is Salsa super fun, but it can double as a great workout, too. New to salsa? No problem. Dance instructors will be on hand to help you find your rhythm.

After you’ve worked up an appetite from all that dancing, you can chow down on some delicious sharable bites and sip martinis on the portico served by STARR Events.

The fun starts at 5.

Try This: Yoga for Runners

Hey runners, we know how hard you train, logging countless hours pounding the pavement until your legs are ready to fall off. And right about now, we’d bet you’re looking for a way to restore and lengthen those aching muscles.

Every Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m., Enlightened Yoga Studio of South Jersey hosts a yoga for runners class. Yoga can be a great compliment to your running regimen, with stretches for loosening super-tight hamstrings, quads and hips. This class will teach you simple breathing techniques, plus how to build core strength to help you gain stamina and endurance for those extra-long distances.

Interested? You can try your first class for free. Once you’re hooked (because we know you will be), you can drop in anytime for only $12 or sign up for a four-class package for $40. Mats are available at the studio, so all you need is comfortable clothing and a bottle of water. Pre-registration is required; call the studio at 856-881-2653 or email kati@enlightenedyogastudio.com

139 East Atlantic Avenue, Haddon Heights, NJ

For Women, Taller Is Not Always Better

News flash to all you leggy ladies out there: A recent Oxford University study found that the taller a woman is, the greater her risk of developing one of 10 different cancers.

Researchers of this UK-based study followed 1.3 million middle-aged women over a period of several years and concluded that cancer risk increased by about 16-percent for every four inches of increased height.

According to a study published in the Lancet Oncology journal, “The tallest group (women five-foot-nine or taller) were 37-percent more likely to develop cancer than the shortest group (women five-feet and shorter) regardless of factors such as age, socioeconomic status, body-mass index and amount of physical activity.”

We know you’re wondering why (so are we), but underlying reasons for the risk are unknown. Speculations have been raised: The authors of the study think it could lie in the fact that taller people have more cells in their bodies, “thus creating a greater opportunity for mutations leading to malignant transformation.”

As girl who stands at a meager five-foot-three (in heels!), I’ve always been jealous of those lucky legs-for-days ladies. But now? I’m just sayin’—I finally have a reason to be grateful for being short.

Fat Means Happy?

You know those days when you’re feeling a little blue and you reach for a slice of chocolate cake for a pick-me-up? New research by a team in Belgium found that you could switch that slice for, say, a tub of pure lard, and still feel happier afterwards.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that it’s the fatty-acids in foods that enhance your mood—meaning flavor’s, well, moot.

Using 12 healthy volunteers, researchers tested the mood-altering effects of a saline solution against one made with fatty-acids. After being injected with one or the other, individuals were then subjected to sad or neutral music and images, and were asked to share their emotions. At the end of the study, the subjects who received the fatty-acid solution reported feeling happier than those who got the saline.

Now, before you run to the nearest pint of Ben & Jerry’s, I have something I’d like to point out: Remember those things you learned about in science class called endorphins? Those funny little hormones that, when released, help you feel happier and less stressed? And remember when you learned that a good ol’ fashioned run or bike ride or swim will actually cause your body to produce and release endorphins? Which is why you feel better and—dare I say it—happier after a session at the gym?

Yeah. I think you can see where I’m going with this.

Night Market: Mount Airy Edition

Check out the Food Trust’s third installment of the Philadelphia Night Market series in Mount Airy this Thursday, August 4th, from 6 to 10 p.m. The Night Market is a roving outdoor street fair which celebrates and showcases Philly’s diverse food culture. On Thursday, local restaurant booths and gourmet food trucks will line two blocks of Germantown Avenue between Sedgwick and Mt. Airy Avenues.

You’ll find many of your favorite trucks from previous markets as well as some local Mount Airy flavor, like Avenida Restaurant, which will be offering tostadas and homemade sangria to wash it all down. There will also be special food truck appearances by Vendy Cup award-winners Gigi & Big R Caribbean and Sweetbox Cupcakes, as well as local brews from Earth Bread + Brewery and McMenamins.

Read more »

Happy Meal loses weight

Last week McDonald’s USA president Jan Fields announced the company’s new long-term plan, Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices.

Starting in September, the Happy Meal will be getting a makeover in an effort to encourage kids to make nutritionally balanced choices. Smaller French fry portions plus apple slices (sans dipping caramel) will be included in every meal. If you’re really trying to get your kids to stay healthy, you can opt for two bags of apples instead of the fry portion. Kids will also be given a new drink option of one-percent low-fat milk, alongside the usual soda and juice offerings. These changes are part of the chain’s effort to reduce the overall calorie count by 20 percent.

Read more »

Poll Finds Consumers Prefer to Go Organic

Check out the Fairmount Farmers Market for colorful organic veggies.

Organic farmers, rejoice! A recent health poll [PDF] by NPR and Thomson Reuters found that, when given a choice, more consumers prefer to eat organic foods rather than nonorganic. Let’s go to the score board: Organic food-1, Conventionally-processed food-0.

Of the 3,000 participants interviewed in the national telephone poll, 58 percent said they side with organic food in the ongoing battle against those way-too-long-of-a-shelf-life wannabes. The numbers of organic supporters rise even more among young adults and those with higher educations: Sixty-four percent of voters with a bachelor’s degree prefer organic food, as well as 63 percent of voters under the age of 35. (And they think we’re still shoveling Twinkies down our throats at night—this will teach ‘em!)

But the big win here lies in why people choose to go organic. Thirty-six percent said they do so to support local farmers’ markets. And when asked where they prefer to obtain produce, 43 percent said farmers’ markets, 20 percent cited their own gardens, and 5 percent said CSA programs. I’d bet if you asked residents of the Greater Philadelphia Area, that CSA number would be considerably higher—we’ve got a whole slew of farmers’ markets and CSAs right in our own backyard.

Chalk it up to a win, farmers. Looks like you have the upper hand now.

So tell us, Philly, where do you turn for all of your organic needs?

Kids Get Hands-on at PHS Garden

Looking for ways to encourage your kids to enjoy the sunshine? Bring them to the PHS Pop-Up Garden on 20th and Market for a free gardening workshop. Philadelphia Horticultural Society partnered with the Franklin Institute to host a series of kid-friendly special events called “Science in the Garden.” These free workshops offer kids the chance to learn how fresh, healthy food from the garden makes your body strong with fun and interactive demonstrations.

Bonus: Kids 12 and under receive a passport that will be stamped at each workshop they attend. Collect five stamps and kids get a free general admission ticket to the Franklin Institute. The family-friendly series runs on Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m.

For more info check out the PHS Pop-Up Garden events calendar here.

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