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Avoiding stress fractures

NOV 30, 2022

Minute 1: Breathe your way to your fastest race ever

Runners need to watch out for bad breath. No, we don’t mean the kind that earns offers of free peppermint gum from strangers. We’re talking about shallow breathing, a common symptom of your pre-race jitters. The solution, according to “Breathe your way into your best running performance,” is to practice deep breathing methods on race day and in training. This advice comes from sports psychologist Jeff Afremow, who believes deep, rhythmic breathing helps you reduce emotional tension, priming your nervous system to deliver top performance. Taking a grounding breath several times a day is a good place to start, so remember these numbers: Inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 2, exhale for 8. Do that about four times and you’ll be well on your way to inner stillness. Deep breathing isn’t just useful for runners, and the Duke basketball team is living proof. Check out “Duke men's basketball tried the Wim Hof method. What is that?” Wim Hof has earned quite the reputation for his physical achievements, like climbing Mount Everest barefoot and running a marathon in 104 degree heat without water. Hof credits much of his success to breathwork in order to condition the body and he describes one of his favorite breathing exercises in the article above.

Minute 2: Building stronger bones can be fun

Millions of American families just broke a wishbone over Thanksgiving weekend. As runners, we all wish we can avoid bone breaks in the form of stress fractures. There’s a tricky relationship between exercise and bone health. Moderate weight-bearing activity promotes stronger bones, but too much of it can lead to fractures if you’re not careful. Some experts believe the key to developing bone strength is through varied movement, and multi-directional sports provide just that. Take a look at “One of the Best Bone-Building Workouts You Can Do: Playing Sports, According to Science.” The idea is that sports like soccer expose your body to various kinds of resistance, promoting growth while keeping your chances of an overuse injury low when compared to repetitive sports like running. Research has found that playing sports early in life is most effective, but you can still strengthen your bones as an adult with the right amount of activity and diet. If you’re a runner who’s worried about overtraining and stress fractures, you should check out “The Ironic Link Between Running and Bone Health.” Beyond that, look out for these “Foods for healthy bones” to make sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D to support your development. #Unbroken

Minute 3: What you eat affects how much you need to drink

When it comes to the question of how much water to drink a day, there are a lot of hydration hypotheses out there? One popular recommendation was recently contradicted by research in the UK: “Eight glasses of water a day excessive for most people, study suggests.” The ideal amount of water, of course, depends on the individual. Some folks can get by with just 1.5 liters a day, while others will need more. Interestingly, the composition of your diet will play a significant role in your water intake needs. Meat, veggies, fish, pasta, and rice all contain lots of water, reducing the amount you’ll need to drink. Genetic factors, activity rates, and the weather are worth considering as well. Some runners like to take in lots of fluids while they train or race, but others have found success with a more moderate approach. Legendary ultra runner Kilian Jornet has prevailed with some pretty low fluid intake, all things considered, and to find out why it works for him, read: “Race Nutrition with Kilian Jornet.” During his ultra races, Kilian says he drinks between 0.3 and 1 liter of water per hour depending on the climate and weather.

Minute 4: Don’t underestimate the difficulty of shoveling

We happen to love the winter months here at SMM, since our second favorite sport is skiing. We also appreciate how a New England snowstorm seems to quiet and clean our neighborhood. We love running in fresh snow and even enjoy the workout of shoveling our driveway. Much like an open bar, however, the thing you love can also kill you. This story from LIVESTRONG provides the details: “The Number of Calories Burned Shoveling Snow and How to Do It Safely.” You can work up a good sweat and burn more than 200 calories in just 30 minutes of shoveling. (Raking leaves burns about 60% as many calories.) The American Heart Association reports a noticeable increase in heart attacks and cardiac-related deaths in the wake of snowstorms, according to this story: “Yes, You Can Really Have a Heart Attack From Shoveling Snow.” And while you are (safely) enjoying some outside exercise, you may want to consider these “12 Foods and Drinks That Boost Your Immune System.” Chamomile tea will not only warm you up after shoveling, but it will also provide you with antioxidants and flavonoids to fight aging and inflammation.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Speaking of tea, we’d like to pass along the latest research on what might be the healthiest sweetener out there: Honey. Despite containing a fair bit of sugar, a meta-analysis of studies found that honey had an overall positive effect on blood sugar and cholesterol levels. You can see the details in: “Sweet! Honey May Improve Blood Sugar & Cholesterol Levels, New Research Finds.” If you’re not convinced of its benefits yet, check out this comparison of “Agave Nectar vs. Honey: Which Is Healthier?” to find out how it stacks up against the competition.

  • The convenience of the home workout can be a game changer for some of us. For others, it's a far cry from the energy and equipment of visiting a commercial gym. If you’ve tried working out at home but struggled to match the quality and intensity of your gym sessions, then this article is for you: “Recharge Your Home Workout Space With These Easy Hacks.” There are tips for motivation, setting the mood, and designing your space to make sure you’ve got all the tools you need.

  • To all our readers, we’re wishing you a happy Thanksgiving! There’s nothing quite like sharing good food with good people, and we hope you had plenty of each. Thanksgiving leftovers are one of our favorite parts about the holiday, but just remember not to hold onto your turkey for too long. Depending on what foods you want to save, and how you plan to store it, you’ll have different timeframes for how long it will keep, so take a look at “How Long Is It Safe to Eat Thanksgiving Leftovers? Here's When You Should Ditch the Food in the Fridge.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Visually impaired paralympic sprinters deliver some of the most inspiring athletic performances out there. In addition to maintaining an elite level of fitness, these athletes work alongside a guide runner to compete in their event. An astounding amount of trust and coordination is required to be successful. We all got to see how meaningful that collaboration can be when Libby Clegg turned in a remarkable performance at the Paralympic Games. She embraced her guide Chris Clarke after winning the 200M dash, and it’s a reminder of how much we can achieve when we support – and accept support from – the other runners in our lives.


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