Chicago Chefs for Choice

Bringing you the best in sustainable food and entertainment

Why Running is Good for You

Running is another one of my hobbies, it improves your health by making you happier. The release of endorphins is good for your health. Even on those days when it’s hard to make yourself leave the door you should still make yourself run. Though you should take proper precautions when running in the winter, extreme heat or in the dark. Have you ever heard someone say that running is a drug? That is because it is a drug. Running releases natural hormones into the body that regulate activity, sleep cycle and mood. You have a less chance of depression and other mental illnesses if you run.

Running makes you skinnier, it will regulate your body’s natural blood pressure level, and maintain homestatic pressure. You do not have to be sprinting, in fact ,experts say that doing 70% Vo2max will be enough to gain this benefit. Running is by far the best and most energy efficient mode of exercising as it burns more fat per minute than any other activity.

Running can make your knees stronger, as it increases your bone mass and makes you into superman. It will stem age related bone loss, and it is also very good for your knees. It will strengthen the small bones and ligaments around your kneecaps over time. When doctors look at runners they find that runners have a very low risk of arthritis.

Running and hiking will also improve your mental functions, and keep you sharp as you age. Even previous stroke patients can benefit, the more active an elderly person is, the more they will stay sharp as they get older. These active people have better memories, better language skills, have better thinking and judgement than when compared to their unfit peers. They also have a lower incidence of cancer.

A viable alternative that I also enjoy is swimming. Swimming can be less impact than running on the rest of your joints. If you don’t like pounding asphalt give swimming a try. It can burn up to 3 times as much calories as running, that’s why you get so hungry when you leave the pool. The combination of water pressure squeezing out the water in your muscles and the ultra liquid resistance will also leave you dehydrated so be sure to drink liquids after.

I just wish I had more time to visit the pool, but since I don’t my activity has become running instead.

My Digital Painting Addiction

One of my favorite things to do is draw, I started when I was a child and to be honest it was pretty bad. But then I remember the first time when I was praised for my art work and it was the best thing in the world.

I used to draw in traditional media only because that was pretty easy to get started in. You can buy the material anywhere and often you don’t need anything but a pencil and some paper. But as I got more into drawing, I realized that the cost of painting materials would be extremely expensive. Usually your first six cheap acrylics colors will be about $15 for one pack. After that the costs would mount up if you needed individual colors like burnt sienna or ultramarine blue. And believe me, you will.

So I decided to buy a graphics tablet with photoshop CS4 and it has been the best decision I ever made. Using a digital platform means that you can make a painting in oil, acrylic, watercolor or any other style you like. You can do gradients and cel shading that would be very difficult and time consuming to do with regular paint.

Right now I am drawing with an intuos 4 but I wish I had a better electronic drawing pad.

The intuos is nice because it has 2048 levels of control which give you almost as many levels as your hand is capable of. However, it does take getting used to. Both photoshop and the tablet surface itself was a learning challenge for me. The surface is a but slicker than paper which makes your pen tip slip slightly and your hand must learn which pressures correspond to which line. The absence of tilt control was a bit hard to accept, as a lot of control rests on rotating the pencil or gaining momentum through taking advantage of the pencil shape. Your stylus will always be the same shape and you cannot count on this to help you draw.

The disconnect might be solved if I had a Cintiq, a very expensive model that allows you to draw directly on the screen itself.