FEB 28, 2022
Minute 1: Exercise is the best medicine as you age
We have long subscribed to the belief that we should use coffee for those things we have the ability to change and beer for those we can’t. Sadly, we occasionally lack the wisdom to recognize the difference between those scenarios which has caused some embarrassing moments over the years. (Hello office holiday party 2015.) Fortunately, our other self-medication – running and exercise – has more grounding in medical science. We were encouraged this week by news that physical fitness can not only boost your muscles and mind, but it can also boost your immune system. This is particularly true for those of us who are nearing the halfway point of our lives according to: “Why older adults should exercise regularly if they want stronger immune systems.” That's right, staying physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent immune system deterioration, otherwise known as immunosenescence. A recent study showed that older adults who exercised regularly had the same amount of T cells as a 20 year old, and that’s big news for fighting viruses like Covid-19. See why in “’Killer’ immune cells still recognize Omicron variant.” T cells are long-lasting and versatile weapons of the immune system. They’ll provide some level of resistance to all Covid variants we’ve seen thus far, provided you’ve had a previous infection or vaccination. For a comprehensive guide to improving T cells, read “How to Build Up T‐Cells in Your Body.” Eating plenty of healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and foods rich in antioxidants is a good place to start. Some research suggests garlic can increase the presence of T cells, so grab a few fresh cloves next time you’re shopping. If you want to test our favorite immune-boosting therapy, try adding more laughter to your life. Studies have shown that stress can compromise the strength of your immune system. According to this story, laughter and positive thoughts “can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.” #TCellies
Minute 2: Runners, get the most out of your Apple Watch
GPS watches and fitness trackers are one of the best ways to upgrade your training experience, but we understand they’re not for everyone. Sport-specific measurement devices on our wrists make your training stats clear and easy to understand, but they lack functionality beyond sports-related data. That’s why many athletes opt for the Apple Watch instead. When first released, it seemed to be more of a statement than a sports watch, but that has changed over the years. While the Apple Watch lacks some essential tracking features out of the box, thanks to the App Store, you can add whatever tools you want and tailor your experience. To get started, read “These Apps Turn Your Apple Watch Into a Fitness Tracking Machine.” Apple watches offer seamless integration with Strava, so you can chart the places you’ve run even if untethered to an iPhone. There are motivation and training program tools, like Watch to 5k. This app creates a schedule with target paces for you to hit to prepare you for a successful 5k race, even if it’s your first time. Early on, Apple watches relied heavily on having your phone nearby, but that has changed dramatically, especially if you’ve got a cellular-enabled model. Even if you have the GPS-only model, there’s plenty it can do on its own as well. Take a look at “Everything the Apple Watch GPS-only can do without an iPhone.” #ApplePicking
Minute 3: Chaos training can improve your stability
To thrive in an unpredictable world, you’ve got to train in unpredictable ways. That’s why today, we’re looking at chaos training. We know it sounds a bit sinister, like the preferred exercise routine of supervillains, but there’s nothing evil about it. The truth is, “‘Chaos Training’ Is an Underrated Lifting Hack. Here’s How to Work It Into Your Regimen.” Fundamentally, chaos training is the addition of instability into your workouts to better recruit your stabilizer muscles. Some examples are hanging chains from a barbell, or looping resistance bands through weights as you perform a farmer’s carry. The dynamic resistance and sway of this equipment requires you to increase tension throughout your whole body as you perform the movement. You’ll have to expend some energy keeping the bar on a straight path, so you’re pushing and pulling in a variety of directions with every lift. The added challenge is worth it, as you’ll be engaging stabilizer muscles that are otherwise neglected by standard lifting routines. Chaos training mimics the unpredictability of trail running, and the 2 work together to maximize your versatility as an athlete. Take a look at “Why Start Trail Running – Benefits For Body And Mind” from Polar. You’ll never know exactly what each trail has to offer, be it changes in terrain, steepness, direction, and more. Just like chaos training, your feet and legs adapt to the rapid changes by working to stabilize you. By gradually introducing extra variables into your run, you toughen your body and lower your chance of injury from a rolled ankle or other breakdowns in form. #PhysicallyUnstable
Minute 4: Olive oil is a superfood, here’s how to pick the right bottle
In the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was believed that foods high in fat were universally bad for your heart. Further research has shown that fat is a necessary part of your diet, and certain kinds can be consumed in abundance. The monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, for example, bring a number of benefits you can read about in this new piece: “Higher Olive Oil Intake Associated With Lower Mortality Rates, Study Shows.” By consuming at least 0.5 teaspoons of olive oil a day, researchers project that you could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 19%, cancer mortality by 17%, neurodegenerative disease mortality by 29%, and respiratory disease mortality by 18%. Not all olive oil is equal, in both nutrition and flavor, so the next time you’re picking up a bottle, use these “5 Foolproof Tips for Buying Good-Quality Olive Oil.” The most important factor to consider is age, so be sure to check the “best by” date and bottling location. Yes, it sounds cool to buy from Vito Corleone’s olive oil importing business, but the closer to home your olive oil is sourced, the fresher it will be. Be sure to choose a bottle that’s dark in color, or opaque if possible, since exposure to light will decrease olive oil’s quality over time. On a similar note, you should store olive oil out of direct sunlight to ensure it remains fresh. #AnOliveOilYouCan’tRefuse
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
As much as we love running, we have to admit, it comes with 1 major downside – some studies report as many as 75% of recreational runners experience some kind of injury every year. That's worse than some football teams. We don’t want to see you get sidelined, especially by an issue that’s well known to cause problems, so you should review these “5 Reasons You Keep Getting Injured” from Trail Runner magazine to make sure you don’t fall into any of these pits.
Much of a good running performance depends on your mental attitude, and there’s no better way to improve your state of mind than by boosting your confidence. Get into the habit of remembering your past accomplishments and the runs where you pushed yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of doing. Conceptualize the difficulties that lie before you in smaller, mini obstacles to be dealt with one at a time, rather than 26 miles of challenges. Read about these and other techniques in “How to train your mental muscle.” You may also want to check out these 6 key elements to boosting sports confidence. #1 on the list is the concept of “performance accomplishments.” Every time you perform a task or a workout well, you build the confidence necessary to try something more difficult. In other words, you don’t just wake up believing you can run a 6-minute mile, but if you just ran a comfortable 6:10 mile yesterday, that performance should boost your positivity about a 5:59 mile.
Perhaps the most lifestyle-altering event most of us will experience is becoming a parent. Say goodbye to normal sleep schedules, free time, and in many cases, a strict workout routine. After taking some time to adjust, running or other activities can go hand in hand with motherhood, and for many women, becoming a mother improves their experience with running. See how many women have dealt with the time and energy deficit of parenting in this new story: “Running Through Motherhood: How Having Children Changes Our Relationship with the Sport.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Overstriding is one of the most common errors in form made by runners. James Dunne, a YouTuber and sports rehabilitation therapist from the UK thinks he has a solution, and it’s wonderfully simple. He’s developed a practice routine that’s performed on a mild slope, running uphill to encourage landing in line with the knees, essentially making it impossible to overstride. If you follow the recommendations of the short video below, you should see improvements in efficiency and a reduced impact on your knees once you’ve mastered this technique.