Get Running!

posted by the hanging out team - Monday, July 15, 2013
So! Last week it was cycling. I love the idea of cycling and encourage you to do it. However, if like me when armed with anything with wheels (including a shopping trolley) you become a weapon of mass destruction, you may want to keep fit another way. Enter jogging, hurrah! All you need is decent joints, perseverance and (I stress) good trainers. My sister passed on to me her old cheerleading trainers so I got lucky, but they aren’t too expensive and some of them are pretty. I had a sneaky look at the Puma website and a lot of their sportswear is bright and fun. Since neon’s are a big part of spring you can look on trend. I tend to go for the whole sweaty mess look while jogging but whatever.

Overall, I would suggest not worrying about what you look like. It can be daunting jogging in public spaces and it’s easy to think that overall people are staring and/or mocking you. Chances are they aren’t. A passing glance is as intense as the attention gets. Even if some idiot chooses to snigger, you should be too absorbed in trying to breathe to even notice. Doesn’t it sound fun yet? Well at first it isn’t. It’s grueling and hard going, but once you get into it you really get into it. The exercise keeps your body and your mind healthy. Talk to anyone who has been running to and they will regale you with the therapeutic benefits of the exercise. It focuses the mind and fine tunes the body, toning up calves and thighs and improving physical performance.

Usain Bolt receiving his winners medal. Copyright Tuareg Productions Ltd.

Speaking of performance, let’s think of two more Olympians that did amazingly well in the Olympic Games; Mo Farah long distance legend and the Mac Daddy of cool Usain ‘Lightning’ Bolt. No one is promising that you’ll be the fastest human in the world. In fact, when you start jogging it’s best to figure out your route first and work your way up to a steady run.

Perhaps then Mo is our man. His sport is about perseverance and as a novice jogger your aim is to build up stamina. And that’s why starting off slow is integral to your development. The whole point of jogging is to get your body used to it. Don’t be surprised or disappointed if you shoot off like a bullet and half way down the road your panting with your hand on your knees. When you get good by all means mix a sprint into your route and do a bit of a Bolt. It’s totally worth it.

Olympic hero Mo Farah. Image courtesy of  Tab59

Motivate yourself and get out there, you’ll improve your mental health, your sleep, your heart condition, your skin, stress levels and improve the circulation of your brain so its runs more smoothly. For those of you who lack motivation read a book called ‘Run Fat Bitch Run’ by Ruth Field. Yes, it is as harsh as it sounds and if you are of a sensitive disposition steer clear. For those of you with a thick skin and a sense of humour this book is great for getting you one the move.
Well, go on then!

By Natasha Dujon

Never had It so Good

posted by the hanging out team - Saturday, March 30, 2013
There are a number of attributes that we can learn from our heritage, most of all perseverance and dedication. Athletes of today almost need to be ‘spoon fed’.

Joe Parkinson looks at the life and running career of George Blackburn and makes a comparison to his present day counterparts

Read More >>>> 

George Blackburn - Second from Right with members of the Fern's Athletics Club

Celebrity Sport Stars and The Average Joe

posted by the hanging out team - Monday, March 18, 2013
In today’s society celebrity sport stars earn millions of pounds through sponsorship deals and endorsements. Such global stars like Tiger Woods and David Beckham are majorly influential to young people and importantly are seen as role models. But how can the success of the celebrity stars effect normal people’s aspirations? Is there too much pressure on children today to live up to their heroes? Are normal people feeling under valued because they don’t have a contract with Nike or Adidas worth extortionate amounts of money?

George Best use to play football for Manchester United in the 1960’s; he was regarded as one of the first football fashion icons. At an incredibly young age he was a great footballer, style icon, a sex symbol and a pop star all rolled into one. Some people even dubbed him the fifth Beatle. For a country that has had its fair share of rich and famous footballers over the last couple of decades that is still some achievement. George was seen as one of the first sportsman to be branded as a sex symbol to teenage girls and an artist of his trade to teenage boys. He was considered the first British footballer to genuinely contend to be the world’s best, a modal for future players to aspire to in both football and fashion.

Although in the later years of George’s career he became more interested in women and partying, he once famously said “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.” Evidently he had completely lost his way and in 2005 he sadly lost his fight against alcohol dependency.

12 October 1976 NL-HaNA, ANEFO/ neg. stroken

It just goes to show that effects of fame and wealth can have dangerous consequences as well as a glamorous lifestyle. This may be the reason why young people look up to sporting icons as heroes. Simply because they can see the glitz and the glamour. But what they don’t see is what goes on behind closed doors. It’s true that looking to an inspirational figure is great for young people to aspire too however young people should not have to feel the pressure of trying to become the next David Beckham or George Best. In no way should people feel undervalued if their dream does not work out the way they wanted it to. There is a lot of pressure in today’s society to make something of yourself and for self-recognition however the Hanging Out Project believe that if you are happy and contempt with what you are doing then there is no reason to feel inadequate when comparing yourself to a mega rich sports athlete.

It’s important to recognise the people around you because they are what is driving us to strive and succeed. Our heritage is real and although celebrity sports stars talent can not be doubted, they are no way going to personally help you to strive to where you want to be or pick you up when you fall down. The people sat in your living rooms; our family and friends will always be there for you and love you unconditionally. That is one thing you cannot get from watching your favourite sports stars. Former Liverpool manager of the 1960’s, Bill Shankly one said, “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Joe Parkinson
Hanging Out writer

Sacrifices and Success

posted by the hanging out team - Monday, March 04, 2013

To become a top level sportsman today takes more than dedication and talent. Most people can see the glamorous lifestyle of playing for Barcelona or running in the 100m final of the Olympics. But what most people don’t see is the decades of sacrifices top-level sportsmen and women had to make to achieve their dreams. For most young people playing for their boyhood favourite club is a distant dream, for a lucky small minority of us the chance is actually within touching grasp, but what are these sacrifices the likes of Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo or Muhammad Ali had to make? Was it worth it?

Barcelona winger and four times Balloon D’or champion Lionel Messi is regarded as one of the best players in world football. He once said “I made a lot of sacrifices by leaving Argentina, leaving my family to start a new life. But everything I did, I did for football, to achieve my dream. That's why I didn't go out partying, or do a lot of other things.”

We here at Hanging Out Project believe it’s so crucial to take notice of what people have sacrificed to make their dreams come true. It’s an inspiration to us all and a reminder that in this world if you want to achieve something, passion, devotion, perseverance are the fundamental elements for success, everything else comes down to talent. It would be easily mistakable to think that top level sportsmen and women only give up their time and energy levels to perform on the world’s highest level. Some people gave up so much more than that. In some cases people had to sacrifice their principles to become global stars. So, in the history of sport who has sacrificed the most?

For me, there can only be one stand out candidate, In 1967 he refused induction into the US army for religious reasons and as a consequence was stripped of his Heavyweight title, not only was he stripped of everything he had worked towards but also his freedom. Sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for standing up for something he believed in, fined more than $10,000 and exiled from the one of the few things he got pleasure from in this world. Of course I’m talking about the very instrumental three-time Heavyweight champion of the world Muhammad Ali the Great!

Bust portrait of Muhammad Ali, World Journal Tribune photo by Ira Rosenberg
Muhammad Ali, World Journal Tribune photo copyright© by Ira Rosenberg 1967

In an era defined by endless war we should recognise a day that wasn’t celebrated on Capitol Hill or in the White House. On June 20th 1967, Ali was convicted in Houston for draft evasion of the Vietnam War with a harsh sentence of 5 years. Ali saw the war in Vietnam as an exercise in genocide and said at the time “ Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs?"

Eventually justice did prevail and the Supreme Court overturned Ali’s conviction in 1971. Three years after that he was back in the ring and boxing George Foreman for the Heavyweight title. He successfully used his “rope-a-dope” strategy to defeat Foreman in one of the most tactical boxing matches the world has even seen. Ali allowed Foreman to get him against the ropes and swing away until he got tired. Then, like Panther he pounced and the fight was over in a matter of moments.

The Hanging Out Project would like to give praise to Ali, take a moment to consider the risk and sacrifice this individual had to endure….yes it was worth it.

Joe Parkinson
Hanging Out writer

Take the Plunge!

posted by the hanging out team - Thursday, January 17, 2013
For the final in our January health trinity we have another Olympic favourite- Swimming!

Throughout both the Olympics and Paralympics one of the most popular events worldwide was swimming. Especially watching Jacqueline Freney of Australia tear through the water and win eight Paralympic gold medals, or Katie Ledecky to come through so young and grab the Olympic gold for the 800m. Their dedication to their sport made them stand out as human beings who had pushed themselves to excellence. You don’t have to be an Olympian to achieve excellence or go beyond the expected through swimming. Look at David Walliams charity swimming extraordinary, who swam a monstrous 140 miles, the length of the Thames for Sport Relief. Against the cold, the current and the who-knows-what flowing in the water of the Thames, David battled through and raised £2,501,240.

But, it’s January, it’s cold and it’s starting to snow. Exercise maybe something you’ve been beating to the back of your mind with a stick. Jogging is difficult to commit to at this time of year, as is cycling, I get it, they’re both outside. Swimming isn’t! Unless you’re going to try pulling a Walliams, in which case I would strongly advise you reconsider. You would probably die. No, I’m talking about going down to your local swimming baths and doing a few lengths. Remember how fun it was in primary school when you used to go every week with your class? Remember how proud you were getting your Tony the Tiger badges, 5m, 20m, 50m and 200m if you were really hardcore. Whether this nostalgia is before or after your time, everyone has fond memories of either easing themselves in a toe at a time of cannon balling into a swimming pool. Relive it.

Someone who didn’t mind getting their feet wet, and facing the cold, last December were the brave swimmers who raised money for Crisis, swimming a series of races in Brockwell Park Lido. Comedian Jo Brand hosted the event that featured a mass 50 m race and a 1 Km marathon in the outdoor pool, with spectators cheering the contestants on and donating huge sums to the charity coffers, all in aid of Crisis at Christmas, providing homes and care to the London homeless this Christmas.

Brockwell Park,(Brixton Beach) is one of London few remaining Lido’s. These open air pools provided exciting places to visit during the English Summer, before the advent of Package. A visit to the Lido was one of the few ways a resident of inner London could laze by the pool trying to get a Californian tan or even have a swim in the outdoors. I think I’ll be waiting until the summer until I test the water at Brockwell Park however!

Swimming is great for you, mentally and physically. It can reduce the risk of diabetes, lower cholesterol and lessen the severity of asthma symptoms. Like all the other forms of exercise mentioned before it’s great for your mental well being, releasing endorphins to improve your mood and increasing blood flow to the brain causing increased performance.

Swimming will tone and strengthen your muscles like no other form of exercise. It engages your whole body, muscles that you wouldn’t even think about. Water is several times denser than air so every movement is met with more resistance, pushing your body harder. For similar reasons it improves flexibility with its wide range of movements, from wide arm circles to hips working when kicking.

And it improves your hearts health as well. Since the heart is a muscle too, the intensified pumping during aerobic exercise, if done regularly, will improve how strong it is.

So there you have it, the omega to our new year’s health trinity.

Get on your bike, jog on or take the plunge!

By Natasha Dujon

Photography copyright of Tuareg Productions Ltd.

Sporting Hero: Bradley Wiggins

posted by the hanging out team - Thursday, January 10, 2013
If one was asked to describe Bradley Wiggins with a single word, determined would be my choice.

At the age of 12, he reveals to his art teacher his aspirations - he is going to be an Olympic champion and win the Tour de France. The teacher laughs at him and said “You must be crazy.”

The story and quote are now old news but that is not to say the story has lost any of its lustre or fairytale charm. His achievements are in themselves fantastic accomplishments but to actually state at that age that he will win both competitions, knowing full well what his choice entails and actually go on to do so is quite extraordinary.

It makes for buoyant reading, filling readers with rejuvenated national pride, leaving Olympic enthusiasts bubbling and diehard fans of the Tour de France weeping for joy, laying their eyes on a Brit wearing the elusive Yellow Jersey.

Bradley Wiggins wearing the coveted Yellow Jersey. Photo courtesy of William Morice

Training to be a serious contender for the Tour de France is no easy feat. The fitness regime Wiggins applied for 2012’s race was particularly harsh, forcing himself to lose body weight in an effort to combat the grueling up-hill stages of the Tour.

Furthermore, he displayed real sportsmanship during stage 14 of the Tour when he opted to slow down and wait for other competitors who had suffered punctures. Wiggin’s approach was encapsulated in the title of “Le gentleman” awarded to him by the highly partisan French press. No mean achievement.

Qualifying for the Olympics itself is no cakewalk either. For all the competitors that qualify there are many more who end their Olympic dream watching it from home. 2012 and the success that came at his fourth Olympic games, switching cycling disciplines in the process, showcases another extraordinary achievement, one which crucially has inspired the next generation of cyclists to follow in his footsteps. He has motivated the young to turn off the TV, get off the sofa and get on their bikes. The Bradley Wiggins Foundation has been started precisely so as to encourage the participation of the community in local sport.

Team GB: Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish. Image courtesy of johnthescone

It is understandably easy to get swept away with the hype. Recently receiving a knighthood and winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year when the competition from the other entrants was particularly strong has only increased his stock value. The press have had a field day being able to draw on his sporting prowess and his “clean” reputation in the sport of cycling which quite frankly has had an appalling record in recent years. His “Mod” image quickly becoming a fashion icon reflects his persona, edgy with class and character, so it is refreshing to see an athlete with the strength of mind to concentrate on what he was born to do and to stand clear of getting too involved in the world of sport superstars which he seems in any case reluctant to enter.

At Hanging Out we celebrate Bradley's achievements and wish him all the best for the future. We shall be following his exploits and progress with great enthusiasm.

By Harry Smith

On Your Bike!

posted by the hanging out team - Friday, January 04, 2013
‘Tis the season to be sorely disappointed with oneself!

The Christmas cheer fades as does the delusion that all is well with your body after all it has consumed. Yes, as we thunder through those Christmas calories. This is the traditional time of year to be overly consumed with how much we have eaten and how little we have exercised. It doesn’t have to be a drag though. Exercise is great when you find the one thing that you enjoy. For some people it’s jogging, for some Zumba but for Sir Bradley Marc Wiggins, hands down cycling is the way forward.

Bradley Wiggins cycling to Olympic Gold.  Photo courtesy of jans canon

Having being the first British winner of the Tour De France in 2012 (that’s in over 100 years); Sir Bradley has gone on to do win Sports Personality of the Year! Sir Bradley also has seven Olympic medals under his belt, four of which are Gold.

Sir Bradley Wiggins is an all rounder when it comes to everything coming top in fashion as well as sport. He stepped into the lime light as somewhat of a Mod Fashion icon with his suave double breasted velvet suit with Mod staple fringed loafers at the Sports Personality Awards 2012. No wonder here at Hanging Out we have a soft spot for him, we love a Mod. Vintage Fashion Icon, Cycling champ and musician? Sir Bradley is also pretty deft with a guitar as he played covers of "That’s Entertainment" by The Jam and "Wonderwall" by Oasis after the ceremony; both bands having connections with the Mod Scenes and its Britpop Revival.

We feel inspired by the eclectic knight’s achievements and are dusting off our bikes to get fit in 2013! Cycling is one of the most enjoyable forms of exercise that works on so many levels. As it is a low impact form of exercise it’s not as hard on your joints as running but still burns some serious calories. It is a great way to tone up your legs and cycling off road or uphill is a good upper body workout too.

Photo courtesy of Damien Walker

More and more people in London are cycling every year. With the Boris Bikes making cycling accessible to everyone, so there’s no excuse people! It’s better for you and better for the environment. Regular exercise like cycling can also help to reduce stress and increase happiness. In order to feel the full benefits of cycling, cycle for at least 150 minutes a week and partner with that all important New Year’s eating healthily instead of eating less!

We all came out of 2012 inspired by the Olympics, wanting to push our bodies and minds further than ever. What better way to start the New Year than bringing that surge forward and getting sporty in 2013? Get on a bike instead of sobbing over a bowl of shredded carrots and get healthy the fun way.

If it’s good enough for Wiggins, it’s good enough for Hanging out!

Happy New Year!

by Natasha Dujon


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