The Dairyland Walkers are the Madison area's chapter of the Volkssport Association. Volkssporting, which originated in Germany, is noncompetitive and emphasizes fitness, exploration and fellowship. The group is sponsoring four events for Wisconsin Walking Weekend, Sept. 7-9: Friday there will be a guided walk at Governor Nelson State Park; Saturday morning a walk from the Capitol to the campus; Saturday afternoon a Mount Horeb/Stewart County Park Stroll; and Sunday a walk through the Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton. More info: www.dairylandwalkers.com or call Don Suloff at 821-0263.
The Madison School & Community Recreation schedule for fall is online at www.mscr.org or can be obtained from Madison public libraries. Fitness classes for all are scheduled throughout the fall; some meet at Orange Shoe Gym and the Monkey Bar. Look for combat conditioning, yogilates and zumba (a hybrid of Latin dance and fitness moves). Call 204-3000 for more info.
An ounce of prevention
Chewing sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after you've eaten has been shown to prevent heartburn, in two studies, one in 2001 and another in 2005. It's thought that the saliva produced by chewing gum is what's countering the stomach acids. Other tips for battling heartburn seem commonsensical - stop smoking (what if you're already a nonsmoker?), don't overeat (duh), and try to get stress out of your life. Other "hey-why-not?" ideas include wearing loose-fitting clothes, sleeping on your left side, not bending over after you eat, and drinking plenty of water over time (i.e. not large quantities all at once).
It turns out that nine out of 10 foods you have in your fridge work well as skin-care treatments. Make a paste of raw carrots, leave on your face for an hour; wash off. Or do the same with avocado (with a little lemon juice) or canned pumpkin; let dry. Or just rub a slice of orange over your face. Use coffee grounds as an exfoliating scrub. Cabbage juice with honey added to it is said to reduce wrinkles. Simpler: lemon juice and water makes a toner, or cucumber and lime juice a refreshing facial splash.
If walking seems too sedate, look into extreme walking, also dubbed "Nordic walking." It has to do with your technique and, of course, walking poles that you can buy. "Hey," you say, "I don't need poles to walk." No, but they do help get the arms and upper body in on the act. Ultimately Nordic walking is said to burn 40% more calories than regular walking. Other pluses: It's a low-impact sport and you can go at your own pace. For more tips on technique, see the website.