Minute 1: How to live for 100 years or more
As the old joke asks: “Who the heck wants to live to be 100?” Answer: “A 99-year-old.” We are living in strange times in which more people than ever have a realistic shot at reaching the century mark, but yet the average U.S. life expectancy took a big hit in 2020: “Covid helped cause the biggest drop in U.S. life expectancy since WWII.” Cancer and heart disease were still the leading causes of death, with many of those fatalities falling in the category of preventable illness. That’s where new lifestyle, diet and medical advancement can have a huge impact on whether or not we make it the full 100 yards down the field of life. Just this week, 2 compelling stories hit the wires that offer guidance: “10 Things to Do Every Day to Help You Live to 100, According to Experts” and “Five Ways to Live to 100.” The first story relies on research of people living in the Blue Zones – areas of the world which have a high incidence of folks living to be 100, such as Okinawa, Japan, Loma Linda, CA, and Sardinia, Italy. The most prolific author on the subject is Dan Beuttner, and you can check out his published works here. The advice in the 2 new pieces is practical and doesn’t rely on stunning med tech to extend your life expectancy. Recommendations include consuming probiotics, cutting consumption of meat and scheduling more social and mindfulness time. If you want to run the numbers on how long you are likely to live, check out the John Hancock Lifespan Calculator. Life insurance companies have billions of dollars at stake in getting that math correct, so it is a pretty reliable way to estimate the length of your runway.
Minute 2: Surviving the cold this weekend
The forecast this weekend calls for even chillier conditions than a Russian/Ukrainian diplomatic meeting. Record cold is expected in much of the U.S., but we know many of you will still want to get outside for miles. You may want to consider this story from LIVESTRONG before lacing up: “Running in Cold Weather & Lung Damage.” Fear not. Despite the scary headline, the discomfort you may experience breathing in very cold air is unlikely to cause real damage to your lungs. Any twinges you feel are most likely the result of very cold and dry air hitting your lungs without being warmed or injected with moisture first. Wearing a face mask is one way to make your skin and your airways feel more comfortable. For ideas, check out these reviews from Deeper Trails: “Best Cold Weather Running Mask; Breathe Easier In Winter.” If you want to get off the pavement this winter, you may want to check out “The 7 Best Nike Hiking Shoes to Help You Conquer Tough Terrain.” And if you live in a snowy zone, you should consider these new kicks that we can’t wait to test drive: The North Face Flight Vectiv Guard Futurelight. A good review of the shoe is here. #ColdComfort
Minute 3: More evidence against the sit up
The most clicked story of last Friday’s SMM issue was the one about why runners should ditch sit ups in favor of other core exercises. No wonder runners would like that idea – it’s a lot more fun to be enjoying a run outside than a painful, monotonous exercise indoors. As much as we’d like to stay strong for running by just running, building a strong core is something that requires homework. As if to reinforce that idea, 2 new stories have emerged offering some additional core advice. The first is: “Mountain climbers are a better ab workout than crunches — if you do them right. Here's how to nail your technique.” The basic idea is that a mountain climber should be based off an extended-arm plank, with controlled churning of your legs. This does much more to boost core stability, preventing injury in the process. Use caution not to let your hips flail or to let your basic plank stance waiver. The second new story is: “Russian twists are an effective exercise to build strong abs without a gym.” It is easy to scale up the degree of difficulty on this move by using weights or lifting your feet off the floor.
Minute 4: Progress on knee treatment
Along with texting drivers and unleashed dogs, knee pain is a recurring cause for concern among runners. “Runner’s knee” has pushed many of our friends into cycling and walking instead of running. One frequent ailment we see is an injury to the meniscus, the cushy piece of tissue that absorbs impact between your lower and upper leg bones. Once damaged or torn, historically there has been no real recovery, other than to surgically snip off the ragged edges of a torn meniscus. You can elect to have surgery to replace the meniscus completely with either cadaver tissue or a synthetic substitute, but recovery takes up to a year and results are unpredictable. That’s the bad news. The good news is that scientists recently announced progress in the ability to actually regrow damage meniscus tissue: “Piezoelectric material shown to help regrow knee-joint cartilage.” By using embedded electric stimulation, UConn researchers were able to produce new tissue that performed as well as the original issue stuff. If you’re looking for more info on protecting and treating your knees, you may want to check out this new story from Backpacker magazine: “Weak in the Knees? Here’s How Hikers Can Prevent and Treat Joint Pain.” Advice includes getting in some modest downhill hiking time in preparation for longer outings. Even 5 minutes of hiking downhill can help strengthen the muscles supporting the knee. There is also a helpful guide to what different types of pain likely indicate. (A sharp shooting pain just above or below the knee is probably a form of tendonitis.)
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Braving the cold for a winter run starts with the right gear. Our pals at Fleet Feet gave us some sweet gear from Brooks and Craft to help you stay warm. For a chance at winning a Brooks' Jacket (Men's), Brooks' Leggings (Women's), or Craft Thermal Hat; follow us and Fleet Feet on Instagram, then tag two friends in the comments on this post! Winners picked next week!
While he doesn’t get as much press as Dean Karnazes or Killian Jornet, Sania Sorokin has been steadily breaking ultramarathon records for many years. His latest accomplishment was to become the first human to ever run 100 miles in less than 11 hours. Not satisfied with just 1 record that day, Sorokin kept chugging around the track for another hour and broke his own record for the longest distance ever run in 12 hours. Details are here: “How Sania Sorokin broke his own 100 mile and 12 hour world records, by training in Kenya.” His preparation in the famous Kenyan village of Iten included 180 miles of training per week at 2,400 meters above sea level.
Our friend Brian Metzler just published a piece based on a simple premise: if you want to get faster, why not copy the traits of the best female distance runners in the world: “Steal These Tips From Top Marathoners to Run Your Best-Ever Race.” Their advice highlighted consistency as a recurring theme. Many of the elites also recommended seeking the help and support of fellow runners, friends and family members on your journey.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
It’s sometimes easy to forget that it’s a wonderfully simple luxury to lace up our sneakers and go for a run. For those who are physically disabled or suffering through a chronic injury, however, runner’s high is just a dream. Our video today highlights the story of Jo Beckwith, a 27-year-old woman who decided to amputate her lower leg after suffering through 14 years of tremendous pain following a horseback riding accident. On her YouTube channel she boldly and candidly documents her journey from making the difficult decision to amputate, dealing with stigmas as an amputee, and learning to use a prosthetic leg. Gaining her mobility back inspired her to pursue something that was off the table since she was a teenager, running a 5K. After watching, you won't take your nightly neighborhood jog for granted.