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  • Writer's pictureChuck Johns

5 Life Hacks for Sports Enthusiasts

An active lifestyle is essential nowadays, far removed from the casual pursuit it used to be. These days people actively make arrangements to make time in their day for physical activity, whether in the form of jogging, CrossFit, or yoga. Many other pursuits have risen in popularity as these three have, giving people interested in getting fit or staying fit plenty of ways to do just that. The old stereotypes of musclebound weightlifters aren't really the norm anymore, more just everyday people eating healthier, deliberately finding and making time to get their bodies moving and burning some calories a little bit a day.

Of course, it isn't always easy. Making time out of a busy day of work or school can be frustrating, not least because you still need to build in some cooldown time after whatever workout you choose to engage in before getting back to business. What's more, it can be annoying to have to find a venue for this exercise near where you need to be in a day. Even if you're lucky enough to be part of a regular sports routine and the like, with the other concerns mostly addressed, specific concerns like injuries and stress can still take some time and effort to take care of.

Fortunately, there are a few life hacks out there that can make things easier and more fulfilling for sports enthusiasts.

1. Give horse liniment a try. Seriously. Liniment, in general, is a medicated liquid application made to be rubbed into the skin, usually with the expectation of reduced stiffness and pain. The old saying "rub some dirt on it" should really say "put some horse liniment on it," because the latter accomplishes a hell of a lot of dirt. An athletic lifestyle will give your muscles some periodic pain -- it's all part of the process of growing them -- and you'll need some relief.

These days many liniment brands make mentholated, alcohol-containing gels that go on smooth and even stimulate blood flow to the area you apply the cream on -- and anyone who knows circulation will tell you circulation does muscles good. Horse liniment is pretty much what the name suggests, and it works wonders on lathered horses, but it's good for humans too. As with any application, keep this on muscles and joints and away from cuts or any orifices. Also, remember that this is usually used on creatures with reasonably thick skins so it will be quite, quite minty.

2. Do the three most essential exercises. CrossFit and other pursuits may have their own libraries and batteries of tasks and exercises, but NFL trainer Todd Durkin believes that the three exercises that are truly essential are pull-ups, push-ups, and lunges. Finding time to do workouts in a day is rough, and your time will likely be limited, but put some solid reps of these in that time block, and you'll be all right.

3. If you're in a footrace, keep your head down to stay focused. It seems like such common-sense advice, but even runners with some experience forget. In a short-distance footrace, the one crucial thing is to run like hell in a straight line until you're done. Glancing around at the other runners isn't really going to do you any good, because there's not enough distance for that to really matter -- longer distance races will need that sort of tactic more, where you keep an eye out for big moves and shifts that might change the complexion of the race. If it's a short run, look down and to the front and focus on driving through that finish line.

4. Vinegar works on athlete's foot. Athlete's foot is one of those things non-athletes can also get, but that athletes are very likely to. You get athlete's foot because of a fungus that thrives in a moist environment, precisely like the one that eventually gets created in the steamy, sweaty interior of a shoe. While there are usually a ton of medications for everyday things like this, you can get rid of athlete's foot with vinegar and baking soda. Many just go with the vinegar -- soaking the affected foot or feet in a mix of vinegar and water for fifteen minutes twice a day will create an acidic enough recurring environment for the feet that will get rid of the funky fungus. To double down on getting rid of it, add a cupful of vinegar to your washloads (it'll come out smelling like the soap, don't worry) to make the wash water acidic too.

5. Extend shoe life by... cutting your toenails? True story. The mesh interior of your cross trainers will thank you (by not wearing out so fast) for cutting your toenails more regularly. This cuts down the friction that the mesh interior has to deal with (even through socks), prolonging the life of both the socks and the shoes.



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