MAY 7, 2022
Minute 1: Do you actually get shorter as you age?
It’s bad enough that the S&P 500 is shrinking, but we also learned this week that the stock market is not the only thing that’s headed lower. According to a new piece from LIVESTRONG, as early as your 30s, you may experience changes in height and posture that will leave you feeling short changed, and maybe even a little sore: “3 Ways Your Posture Changes With Age and What You Can Do About It.” One of the most common changes is a forward stoop, since your spinal discs lose fluid and flatten out. Combined with the loss of muscle mass and bone density that’s inevitable as you age, it can be hard to support yourself and maintain upright posture. The loss of disc fluid also results in a slow decline in physical height; about half an inch every decade from the time you turn 30 onwards. Aging and a different posture can also change your gait, as muscles and tendons become less pliable and powerful. That’s a lot of bad news, but don’t panic, these changes occur very slowly, and you probably won’t notice significant changes until you reach your 70s. To ensure you arrive at the golden years in the best shape you can be, there are 6 habits worth adopting. First and foremost, doing a bit of strength training will slow muscle and bone degradation, and even reduce the risk of injury. See the details in this piece from Harvard: “Strength training builds more than muscles.” If you’d like to regain some of your lost height, according to this story in Men’s Yoga Journal, you can add up to an inch of height: “Can Yoga Make You Taller?” If you’re intrigued, check out “Yoga For Height Increase – Top 15 Asanas To Help You Grow.”
Minute 2: Winning requires physical and mental toughness
If you watch any high level running event, look over the competitors as they take their marks and one thing will be clear: everyone is in phenomenal shape. They look perfectly suited and prepared for their event, so much so that if you tried to pick the winner based on appearance alone, you might as well be blindfolded. If they’re all so similar physically, what separates the winner from the pack? Some experts believe the answer lies in their mental states, according to a new piece from MIT: “Running and the Science of Mental Toughness.” It’s a detailed and thoughtful story that is worth setting aside 10 minutes to read. Vana Hutter, an expert on the psychology of pro athletes, says the traits of self confidence and stability under pressure set certain competitors apart. All other factors being equal, the runner who can keep their nerves calm, and thus relax their muscles before the race begins, will perform at their best. Moreover, a researcher named Samuele Marcora has suggested “that signals from the muscles, heart, and lungs do not play a significant role in the decision to stop or slow down.” It seems that having motivation and mental energy are just as important as physical energy for performing well, so it’s worth checking out these “8 Scientifically Proven Ways To Beat Mental Fatigue.” #ThoughtfulNotes
Minute 3: Low carb diets are a safer alternative to keto
When it comes to dieting, most experts agree that taking things to an extreme can be dangerous. The keto diet, for example, can be highly effective for weight loss, but eating only 50 grams of carbs per day is not considered a balanced diet. There’s a less restrictive option that still offers weight loss and heart health benefits associated with keto, and it’s done by going low carb, not no carb. Here is the ‘Keto diet vs low carb: what's the difference?” Low carb means getting about 20% of your daily calories from carbs, which equates to somewhere between 50 to 150 grams. This way, you’re still taking in plenty of glucose, which is important for recovery and energy if you plan on exercising often. Carbs in excess can be detrimental, but that doesn’t mean they should be avoided altogether. If you’re looking for some good sources, try these “12 High Carb Foods That Are Incredibly Healthy.” Fruits, oatmeal, and other foods high in fiber allow you to get carbs and sugar without experiencing the rapid rise and fall in blood sugar you’d get by eating a candy bar or drinking soda. In fact, blood sugar is affected not just by what you eat, but also how you eat it. Try to “Eat Your Meal In This Order To Reduce The Blood Sugar Spike By 75%, Says An Expert.” By eating veggies first, protein and fats second, and then starches and sugars, you’ll slow the rate at which your body absorbs sugar so you experience a more steady supply of energy.
Minute 4: Fix your foot mobility with these exercises
As a runner, training without caring for your feet is a bit like driving a Lamborghini with cracked, worn tires. It can be done, but not without risking your health and performance. Healthy feet are the foundation upon which all your other muscles and joints rely, and if your feet become sore or injured, there’s not much you can do to compensate. That’s why it’s important to consistently develop foot strength and flexibility with things like these “7 Podiatrist-Approved Foot Mobility Exercises That Will Have You Light on Your Feet in Minutes.” If you don’t have access to a fancy foam roller, tennis or lacrosse balls are a perfectly good substitute to perform myofascial release therapy. Place your bare foot on the ball and apply pressure gently, rolling around to relieve tension in the foot’s trigger points. The more consistently you roll, the more pressure your foot will handle without discomfort. Another important move for runners is ankle mobility stretches. The achilles tendon and other connective tissue in your lower body play a significant role in running mechanics. Having healthy ankles and tendons promotes elasticity that “springboards” you forward on every step. In a standing position, use your hand or a resistance band to pull your foot upwards, as if you’re trying to bring your toes to your shin. There’s a lot you can do for your mobility with just your body and open space, but if you feel like you need more tools in your arsenal, try these “6 Tools Everyone Should Have To Ease Aches And Boost Flexibility, Besides A Foam Roller.”
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
We picked up some good insights from this new blog post from Polar: “Understanding Your Sleep Stages | Deep Sleep Vs. Light Sleep.” Sure, we knew before reading the piece that we all want REM sleep for maximum recovery. What we didn’t realize was that we cycle through REM many times during the night and there are ways to ensure we get the most from those cycles. It’s also important to understand how sleep requirements and sleep cycles change as we get older.
Is there a direct correlation between looking fast and running fast? We certainly think so, and that’s why we teamed up with our good pals at Gone For A Run to launch the official Six Minute Mile gear site. We told them we needed apparel that you could wear in a morning 10k and still look stylish when you celebrate later at the bar. Tank tops for the summer, hoodies for chilly days and sweatpants for lazy Sundays around the house – it’s always a good time to rep your favorite running email newsletter. Check out our new collection here.
For all the bad the pandemic brought, many of us appreciated the move toward working remotely – fewer commutes, more comfortable working conditions and way less office gossip/drama. Major companies like Google asked their employees to return to the office 3 days per week beginning last month, while offering some words of caution: “The 3 ‘biggest mistakes’ companies make with return to office, according to Google’s head of Workspace.” This return to the office has caused a fair amount of stress in many workplaces, and according to the Washington Post, employees are now seeking to retain some emotional equilibrium: “As in-person life resumes, self-care businesses see surge in customers.”
At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious from Hotels.com, running outdoors in a beautiful natural setting is a fun way to boost your happiness. Fresh air in your lungs, the sun on your skin, and the feeling of accomplishment can work wonders for your mood, and the mental benefits alone are enough reason to keep heading out the door. We talk a lot about how to run to maximize performance, but what about maximizing happiness? For that, you can read “Trail Running Might Be the Secret to Happiness – Here’s How You Can Maximize It.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
We never expected to see a 100-year old runner take on the 100M dash, but WWII Vet Lester Wright clearly won’t let expectations stand in his way. At this year’s Penn Relays, the centenarian barreled down the track and finished with a time of 26.34, breaking the previous mark of 26.9 seconds. I think we’d all be grateful to still be walking at that age, never mind running, so we’d like to extend our congratulations to Lester and the other senior competitors. Prepare to be surprised and inspired by the clip from FloTrack below.