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How running reduces cancer risk

JUL 7, 2023

Minute 1: Nearly half of all cancer cases are avoidable

Every family we know has been touched by cancer. While the discovery of a malignancy often means a difficult and emotional journey ahead, survival rates have improved over the past 20 years according to this analysis from the CDC: “An Update on Cancer Deaths in the United States.” From 2001 to 2020, cancer death rates went down 27%, from 196.5 to 144.1 deaths per 100,000 population. While promising, the bittersweet reality is that “Almost half of cancer deaths globally are attributable to preventable risk factors, new study suggests.” CNN cites a study that shows the three leading risks are smoking, drinking too much alcohol and having a high body mass index. We get the smoking and obesity dangers, but does our cancer risk really increase with a few drinks to celebrate a long workout on a hot summer day? According to this story, “7 things to know about alcohol and cancer,” the American Cancer Society recently updated its guidelines for preventing cancer and said that zero alcohol is the best policy. If you really feel the need to indulge, the ACS says women should not have more than one drink per day and men should stop at two. While that’s a buzz kill, there is some good news for our readers who love to stay active: “Higher VO2 max may protect against certain cancers, study shows.” Researchers from the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences concluded that increasing cardio-respiratory fitness will lower the risk of dying from prostate, colon and lung cancer – three of the most common types of cancer in men. According to the new story: “While this latest study is unique in its examination of how higher fitness levels can curb rates of certain cancers in men, it adds to a growing list of research linking cardio-respiratory fitness to lower cancer risks. Previous studies have associated exercise with lower rates of stomach cancer as well as lower rates of cancer among girls.”

Minute 2: Tips for building the perfect running schedule

This will probably come as no surprise, but generally speaking, those who run more will run faster. That’s according to an analysis of data from participants in the Boston Marathon which showed that the more pre-race miles a runner racked up, the faster they ran the course. It’s important to remember, however, that improving isn’t as simple as adding mileage without intention. You’ve got to be smart about the distribution of your runs throughout the week, as well as the frequency of your high and low intensity days. To help figure things out, follow these “Two Golden Rules When Setting Up Any Weekly Running Schedule.” Rule one is to distribute your effort evenly. For most of us, back to back hard workouts aren’t the way to go. Similarly, you’ll want to avoid front-loading or back-loading your schedule, so don’t put all your long runs at one point in the week; try to space them out to decrease your chances of an overuse injury. The second rule is to focus on what’s important. If you’re ever forced to skip a workout or run, you should evaluate which days are most vital for your fitness goals. 5K runners should avoid skipping speed workouts, while longer distance runners shouldn’t miss their long runs which are essential for preserving endurance. In addition to knowing when to run, you’ll want to figure out how many weekly miles is right for you, and for that, you can check out this guide from Marathon Handbook: “How Many Miles Should I Run A Week? 8 Deciding Factors.”

Minute 3: When temps are up, your run duration should go down

With summer in full swing and the weather heating up, you won’t get very far into a run before breaking a sweat. Of course, running in the heat poses certain risks, and it can help to adapt your training methods to reduce the chances of dehydration or overheating. To start things off, let’s take a look at “It’s hot out: do I run short and fast or long and slow?” When running in the heat, time is one of your biggest obstacles. That’s why many experts recommend keeping things short and sweet in the summer. Reducing the length of your runs lessens your exposure to high temps, and after a couple weeks, your body will become more adapted to those conditions. From there, you can start to incorporate longer runs back into your schedule. That’s according to: “How to Get Used to Running in the Heat.” Running when it’s hot adds difficulty, since more of your blood is used to cool your body, rather than carrying oxygen to your muscles. Your body will also burn energy from sweating and other cooling functions, but the good news is, the more time you spend in the heat, the more efficient these processes will become. Some athletes like to start the adaptation process early, and you can learn more about that in “Heat Acclimation: When to start and how long it takes.”

Minute 4: Shoe Review: ASICS GEL-Kayano 30 ($160)

Our shoe reviewer Brian Metzler hits an important topic in his review of the new ASICS GEL-Kayano 30. Overpronation can lead to imbalance and repetitive stress injuries for runners who experience dramatic ankle and foot inversion after their feet hit the ground. The remedy for many years was to buy shoes that had rigid plastic or hard foam posts that prevented the foot from rolling inward. The problem was that these shoes were built for neither comfort nor speed and could feel like running in shoes from Nurses-R-Us. Not so with the new ASICS GEL-Kayano 30. These are “real” running shoes that are versatile and comfortable. The highlights of Brian’s review are below, but for the full story, hit this link.

The new ASICS GEL-Kayano 30 is a great example of how far stability shoes have come, both since the previous edition and over the course of several years. While it’s been evolving into a softer, smoother-riding shoe for years, this year’s version has dramatically morphed into a maximally cushioned trainer that has a lot of similarities to the recently revamped GEL-Nimbus 25 and GEL-Cumulus 25 neutral-oriented trainers. It feels as comfy and energetic as just about any model you’ll find on the shoe wall of your local running store, but it still has the ability to mildly and subtly help keep your foot stable as it rolls through the stride cycle from the heel-strike impact to the toe-off phase.

What’s New: Radical changes to the latest edition of the GEL-Kayano include a maximally cushioned midsole (4mm higher than the previous version), a new guidance system to provide more inherent stride stability and decidedly less structure. The thick and cushy midsole is made of FlyteFoam Blast+ Eco foam—a partially bio-based material that’s extremely soft and absorbent but also provides a noticeable amount of energetic pop, too. There’s also a new, softer PureGel cushioning pod embedded in the heel and an increased heel bevel slope for improved shock absorption and stride transitions. The other outstanding update to this shoe is the modern adaptive stability mechanism (called the 4D Guidance System) that serves up inherent stability from a 5mm wider footprint, and a less obtrusive secondary foam wedge under the medial arch and a less abrupt heel counter, but no there’s no longer a lightweight flexible plastic shank embedded in the midsole.

For Brian’s full review of the new ASICS GEL-Kayano 30, check it out here.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Experiencing stress itself is bad enough, but to make matters worse, it can cause a domino effect of negative health consequences if left unmanaged. Things like appetite, weight gain, and insulin resistance are often thrown out of whack during stressful times. For a solution to this problem that includes exercise, check out: “3 Sneaky Ways Cortisol Causes Weight Gain & How To Actually Manage It.”

  • After a recent recall notice, retailers are putting a freeze on the sale of frozen fruits. Due to a possible bacterial contamination, certain frozen fruits sold at Walmart, Aldi, Target, and Trader Joe’s have been voluntarily recalled, and if you’ve shopped there recently, it may be a good time to clean out your freezer. You can use the “best by” date to identify if your food might be affected, and for details on what to look out for, check out: “Massive Frozen Fruit Recall Affects Products Sold at Walmart, Target, and Other Stores.”

  • If you’ve got sore hips, you need these tips. Hips are one of the most common locations of muscle imbalances among runners, leading to a breakdown in form and stability. That can be quite a pain, and it’s a good idea to dedicate some time to developing your hip strength and mobility to prevent any complications. You can find everything you need to know in: “Why Do I Get Sore Hips After Running?

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

It’s hard to think of a more uncomfortable combo of activities than chugging beer and running laps, but that doesn’t stop Beer Mile World Classic competitors from giving it their all. We have to say, this year was pretty monumental, as Shelby Houlihan became the first woman to break the 6 minute barrier in the beer mile. She finished in a new world record time of 5:43.81, and that was only the start of the week’s festivities. A few days later, “More than 1,000 in Hermosa Beach kick off Fourth of July with 50th annual Ironman contest.” For this event, participants ran a mile, paddled a mile, and chugged a 6-pack of beer in honor of independence day. It may not be the fastest race of the year, but it sure is one of the most fun. For a recap of the events, check out the links below.


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