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Should we choose exercise over sleep?

MAY 25. 2022

Minute 1: Is your phone use helping you, or hurting you?

Apple debuted the iPhone on June 29, 2007. If you’d invested in AAPL stock back then, you would have seen your value increase 38X while Apple’s market value soared to more than $2 trillion. While that’s all good news for wealth creation and killing time in the dentist’s waiting room, there is a downside to the ubiquity of smartphones. All that information at your fingertips, but when left unchecked, your brain has a tendency to engage with it in a negative way. To see how you can better protect your mental health and avoid the pitfalls of phone usage, read “‘Phones are like a scab we know we shouldn’t pick’: the truth about social media and anxiety.” A lot of the trouble comes from how easy it is to compare yourself to others through social media and other sources. Research has shown that viewing photos of “perfect” bodies, like the ones in fitness ads and posts, increases body dissatisfaction and raises the risk for developing eating disorders. By doing some introspection, asking yourself if you’re using your phone to connect with others, or compare yourself, you can help identify and alter harmful behaviors. Not only can our phones make us feel worse, but they can make us think worse too. Take a look at “Need to Focus? Scrolling Through Your Phone Could Tank Your Concentration.” One study looked at phone use and its effect on cognitive performance. Participants who were instructed to use a cell phone during a break performed about 20% worse when solving puzzles, compared to the control group. Researchers believe our brains are slow to switch focus from one task to another, and the overstimulation of phone use can be very easy to get wrapped up in, making it hard to return to other tasks. #WaitWhatWereYouSaying?

Minute 2: The National Senior Games demonstrate the value of persistence

Frederick Neitzche once said: “He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any ‘how’.” After seeing the performances at the recent National Senior Games, we think that the competition of running is a pretty powerful “why.” Athletes in the 75+ age group pushed themselves through a physical challenge, and it’s inspiring to see just how active you can be as you age. If you’re interested in living and running longer, read this new piece from the NYT: “These 90-Year-Old Runners Have Some Advice for You.” Parsing through their statements, a common theme of persistence can be seen among all the competitors. They say that finding the strength to push yourself forward is enough to keep things moving. “I can’t run very much now, but when I can’t run anymore I’ll still walk.” Says 90-year-old Yvonne Assen, showing us that it’s okay if you aren’t as fast as you once were; it’s the effort that counts. If you’re coming off a break and need tips for returning to running, or you want some advice for a friend who’s looking to become more active, take a look at Nike’s guide to “How to Start Running After 40.” What you eat becomes increasingly critical for your health as you age, so you should pay attention to these “Nutrition Considerations for Masters Athletes,” like getting enough calcium and vitamin D to support bone health. #FindYourWhy

Minute 3: Eat and sleep to go the distance

Runners are like race cars: it doesn’t matter how fast you make them, they aren’t going anywhere without a proper source of fuel. To give yourself the right energy reserves, you’ll need to strike a balance between your macronutrients, as well as ensure you take in certain vitamins and minerals. To break it all down, you can read LIVESTRONG’s “Want to Improve Your Endurance? Here Are the Best and Worst Foods to Eat.” Whole grains can serve as the bedrock for an endurance athlete’s diet, since they contain an abundance of complex carbohydrates. Carbs are an efficient source of energy during exercise, but unlike the rapid breakdown of sugars, complex carbs burn gradually over time. Nutritionists recommend oats, quinoa, or brown rice to keep your energy levels up. Another secret weapon for long distance runners is beets, which contain lots of nitrates. Research suggests they improve your body’s oxygen use efficiency, as you can see in “Effects of dietary nitrate on oxygen cost during exercise.” Seeing how impactful diet can be on performance, it has us wondering, “Is Nutrition More Important Than Exercise?” That question may seem anathema to all of us endurance athletes, but the article notes that most humans eat about 30 times a week, and exercise about 8 times a week. In other words, you have far more opportunities to impact your health through your diet, so it warrants quite a bit of attention and effort. It’s also worth noting that missing a meal or good night’s rest can be quite detrimental, while skipping a workout here and there won’t cause any major disruptions for your health. For more on that, read “If You Have to Choose One, Should You Sleep or Exercise?

Minute 4: Craft CTM Ultra 2: A Top-Tier Crossover “Gravel Running” Shoe

Our friend and shoe expert Brian Metzler has delivered another installment of our new Six Minute Mile segment on shoe reviews. This week he explores the Craft CTM Ultra 2, a do-it-all shoe that is as comfortable on pavement as it is on the rocks and roots of trails. Here are the first few paragraphs of Brian’s review. For the full details, head to this link on our website. Craft only came to market with its running shoes a year ago, but it’s already making waves in the hybrid, door-to-trail category. The newly updated CTM Ultra 2 is an extremely versatile do-everything shoe with the lightweight, cushy flow of a road runner and the reliable traction of a moderate trail runner. “It’s kind of like a gravel bike hybrid of a running shoe,” says David Laney, a member of the Craft Elite Run Team and the brand’s footwear development team. “Every run I do starts out with about a mile on the road. Then I’m on a dirt road and then I’m on a trail. And I think that’s the norm for most people. Unless you’re living in the middle of a big city like Chicago, you’re probably running a little bit of everything.” Proving it’s a shoe that’s capable of almost any surface, Laney wore the CTM Ultra 2 en route to winning the Gorge Waterfalls 100K race on April 2 near Hood River, Oregon. That’s a course that included about 10 miles of pavement, 20 miles of technical trail and about 30 miles of smooth, dirt singletrack, along with plenty of sloppy, muddy sections, too. I’m not an elite runner like Laney, but I run on a variety of surfaces on the majority of my runs and have found it deliciously vibrant on roads, but also surprisingly stable and secure on trails. (Note: Craft’s CTM Ultra Carbon 2 is a similar but slightly less versatile model with a carbon-fiber propulsion plate embedded in the midsole and a $250 price tag.) Read the full review here. #CraftGear

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • In the world of GPS tracking watches, Garmin helped create the category. Their Forerunner 945 debuted in 2019, and quickly became a fan favorite. Now the company has upgraded its features and functions and dubbed the latest release the Forerunner 955. A recent leak from a retailer reveals this edition to be slightly smaller, solar capable, and priced cheaper than previous models. If you’re in the market for a GPS watch, check out the details in “Garmin Forerunner 955 leak reveals one big upgrade.”

  • As summer finally warms the lakes, rivers and oceans around us, we’re excited to get back to an underrated way to cross train – paddleboarding. It’s an activity that can be done at a low intensity, and it’s effective at developing muscles, balance and stability. Here is “Everything You Need to Know About Paddleboarding,” including a list of the muscles activated while paddling. We’ve always found that a big obstacle to getting into the sport is the weight and bulk of the paddleboard, making it difficult to store and transport. If you’d rather do it on a SaaS model, check out this Guide to Paddleboard Rental Shops across the U.S. and Canada.

  • When we talk about gut health, you may think it’s synonymous with proper digestive function, but there’s more to it than just your GI tract. Our guts and microbiomes have a powerful connection to our mental states, believe it or not. You’ve experienced this first hand if you’ve ever felt butterflies in your stomach when facing nerves. That’s just one of several ways the brain and gut are signaling to each other, and it’s why doing things like taking probiotics can have such a direct impact on your mood. For the details, see “The gut-brain axis: how it works and the role of nutrition.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

If you feel the need, the need for speed, you are probably flying high with the news that the long-awaited Top Gun sequel will be in theatres this weekend. Hollywood forecasters expect this to be the biggest opening weekend in Tom Cruise’s career with $100,000,000+ in projected revenue. Maverick’s co-star this time around, Jay Ellis, did some pretty remarkable prep work for the film, both in aircraft and in the gym. Those sessions helped him endure real-life G forces in the air. To get ready for the Gs and the inevitable beefcake scenes, Jay’s trainer had him make use of super sets, where he performed different lifts in rapid succession to build muscle while keeping his metabolic rate high. There’s a lot you can learn from checking out his workout, so let Jay be your wingman as you watch the clip below


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