Posts in: Fitness

Adult Sports Leagues

Posted in: Fitness // 1 Comment

By Jon Vredenburg

There is an old adage about sports that states: It is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. All across the First Coast, people are finding more ways to play the game and learning that adult sports leagues are a great way to be healthy, have fun and make friends.

Surveying the North Florida recreational sports landscape can be easily performed from a smart phone since social media has become the preferred method of communication for many leagues. Jacksonville Scene, a recreational and social organization, uses its online presence to advertise the opportunities they have to offer. The group was started nine years ago by Jason Ryan as a part-time venture but has now grown into a full-time occupation. Ryan manages operations for fifteen different types of sports across the region and is prideful of the cohesive nature that has helped fuel their growth.

“We are a community more than we are a sports league,” Ryan says.

The community is thriving with more than 6,000 followers on Facebook. As for demographics, the group is mostly young professionals with an equal amount of males and females participating.

The rise in popularity of Jacksonville Scene has enabled Ryan and his group to add different levels of competition within each sport. Many of the leagues, including basketball, flag football and beach volleyball, have three distinct levels of competition to provide an option for everyone. The opportunity to network is what brings many people into community athletics in the first place.

“It’s a great way to meet new people,” Ryan says. “The sports become more of a social gathering.”

That is easy to see from reviewing their expansive website at However, they are not the only game in town since JaxSport Adult Sports Leagues,, and Florida First Coast Softball,, coordinate leagues as well. In addition, single participants have no reason to fret. Many of the local leagues offer solo registration options to help you find a group that would be a good fit for your skill set and interests.

The cost of participating in adult sports leagues varies but usually runs about $50 per-person, per-season. Most of the seasons in the team sports last about three months. So if you are ready to take the next step and get off of the couch, there are boundless opportunities awaiting you.

Snacking your way into productivity

Posted in: Fitness, Fresh Local Flavor , Healthy Eating // 6 Comments

Smartbox Snacks

By: Brandon Stallings, CEO, SmartBox Company

We’ve all experienced that afternoon slump. When you’re hungry, your brain has a hard time staying focused. Sure, you can devour the closest thing edible, but that’s not always the best route to productivity.

Ingredients from the food we consume enter the brain through our blood stream. These elements will help you either focus or lose focus. Most of what we eat will be broken down into a single thing – glucose. What we consume controls how we release glucose to our blood and brain. Certain foods release glucose quickly, while others have a slow release. The brain works best with a small amount of glucose circulating in the blood steam.

Getting enough glucose into your body is fairly simple, but the decision becomes more important when an 8-hour workday comes into play. For example, after eating a donut, a person will experience about 20 minutes of alertness and then a rapid drop in glucose level leaving them unfocused and tired. It’s like putting your foot down on the gas pedal until you’ve used all your fuel. On the other hand, a whole foods bar releases sugar as glucose much slower allowing us to minimize swings in blood sugar. This means a person will have a steady glucose level, better focus and higher attention levels for longer.

Being at the mercy of your office vending machines, unless they have healthier choices like SmartBox, doesn’t make healthy snacking too easy. When hunger strikes, choose a snack that you can enjoy on the go, like a Justin’s All-Natural peanut butter packet with whole grain crackers or a Lara Bar, which has a combination of protein and fiber to fill you up.

By having brain-friendly snacks handy, you give yourself a chance of overriding that afternoon slump.

The History of Competitive Running

Posted in: Fitness // 51 Comments

Competitive running emerged from religious festivals around the world. The earliest recorded competition was Ireland’s Tailtean Games held in 1829BC. Originally known as the funeral games, this event honored the deceased and the goddess Taitu.

One of the most popular competitive running competitions is the Olympic Games which commenced in ancient Greece in 776BC. The games were dedicated to the Greek gods on Mount Olympus. The original games were for men only and consisted of just a single event – the foot race. However, women participated in the Heraea Games, a competition some say actually predates the Olympic games.

Over the next centuries, competitive running events ebbed and flowed in popularity but, by the 1800s, track and field interscholastic competitions were common events at England’s secondary schools and colleges. Some races were carried out on marked tracks and eventually developed into the standard races run today.

In 1896, Athens hosted the first modern Olympic games. Since then, the tradition has continued and running competitions, such as Jacksonville’s own GATE River Run, are now held throughout the United States and in countries around the globe.

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Both seasoned runners and those new to the sport need careful preparation to meet the challenges of such a race. The podiatrists at North Florida Foot and Ankle Center of Jacksonville offer the following tips to get feet in competitive condition for race day:

Say no to new – Race day is not the time to break in brand new running gear. Stick with the shoes you use for everyday training – ditto for socks and clothing. Just be sure shoes haven’t logged so many miles that they’ve lost their cushion.

Banish blisters – Ensure shoes fit correctly and apply second skin or blister tape to areas of the foot prone to blisters. Add moisture wicking socks and foot powder to keep feet dry.

Go professional – It’s a good idea to have your foot health evaluated by a podiatrist. If not properly treated, common foot aliments like athlete’s foot, ingrown toenails and calluses can wreak havoc on race day.

For more information on foot care for runners, go to or call 904-236-5023 to schedule a professional foot evaluation.

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