APR 23, 2022
Minute 1: How to reduce inflammation
If Google search trends are any indication, a lot of us are worried about inflammation. Interest in the term quadrupled over the last 10 years as we learn more about inflammation’s connection to other major health concerns. Here is a good background piece from Harvard explaining that chronic inflammation plays a role in everything from cancer to stress: “Why all the buzz about inflammation — and just how bad is it?” Inflammation is a hot topic, but LIVESTRONG has some advice to cool things down: “Your 8-Day Kickstart Plan to Reduce Inflammation.” First of all, let’s distinguish between acute and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is a fast response to sickness or injury, and it’s part of your body’s healing process; generally, nothing to worry about. Chronic daily inflammation, however, is a sign something is wrong, and it will make your days uncomfortable, and even contribute to further medical complications if left unaddressed. If you’ve got chronic inflammation, there are ways to combat it with your diet, sleep habits, and exercise. Fruits and vegetables contain antiinflammatory compounds called phytonutrients. Spice things up with a little turmeric as well, since it delivers anti-inflammatory effects in addition to these “10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin.” When it doubt, walk it out. Walking is top on the list of the “5 Exercises You Can Do at Home to Reduce Inflammation,” and for good reason. Only 20 minutes of walking has been scientifically proven to lower inflammation levels substantially, and the effects are amplified if you’re able to walk in a clean natural environment.
Minute 2: In 2022, cycling is better than ever
Thanks to the pandemic, cycling has experienced a major boom over the past 2 years. Unfortunately, the global health crisis has also wreaked havoc on bicycle manufacturers: “For the bicycle industry, 2022 presents a continued supply chain crisis.” As one industry expert explains, you could have 100 parts assembled on a new bike, but if you are missing just 1 component, you can’t ship it. Despite these challenges, the industry continues to innovate and release new products, some of which are profiled here: “This Is My Favorite Cycling Gear for 2022.” The quad lock smartphone handlebar mount makes it safe and easy to use your phone as you ride, making apps like Strava better than ever. Strava works for cyclists just as well as runners, and with the phone mount, you can safely check real time metrics like your pace and route progress, all while using the app’s Beacon feature, which lets select users know your location for added safety while you’re out and about. Speaking of safety, it’s worth noting that “These Are the Most Dangerous States for Cyclists.” Unfortunately, biker and pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise in recent years, with many of these incidents occurring in Texas, California, and Florida. Be sure to refresh yourself on these “14 tips for safer city cycling” for the next time you ride downtown. #BikeSupplyChain
Minute 3: Train like the (tennis) pros
When you think about learning from a tennis pro, you probably picture a tanned, muscular instructor who makes you a little uncomfortable when they offer a private lesson to your significant other. Rather than sending volleys of insecurity, however, the newest breed of tennis pros are better known as models of fitness and healthy living. Roger Federer is the Tom Brady of the courts, winning at an elite level for 2 decades. In the wake of recent knee surgery, Federer is looking to make another comeback, and his approach is perfect for athletes looking to keep impact low while getting big results: “What Does Roger Federer’s Comeback Training Regimen Look Like?” On Instagram, Federer shared a clip of himself running through a ladder drill, which is a surprisingly useful drill for distance runners, as described in this piece: “Top 9 Speed & Agility Ladder Drills For Runners.” Federer is also featuring single leg squats, which is another good move for runners who want to add glute strength and stability. While the Swiss star is tied with Novak Djokovic with 20 Grand Slam titles each, the Joker has a decided edge in the gym, where he is regarded as the fittest tennis star of all time. Here is “A Sneak Peek Into the Fitness Routine of Novak Djokovic.” His emphasis on dynamic stretching and foam rolling shows how important warmup and recovery work is when training at a high volume. Starting with lunges, high knees, and jumping jacks will limit the shock to your system before hitting the main part of your workout.
Minute 4: Ukrainians run Boston Marathon in spite of challenges
In many ways, the Boston Marathon has become an event which transcends the sport of running itself. It is a showcase for human perseverance and resilience, serving as a platform for athletes to raise awareness and inspire courage by overcoming their own personal struggles. Covering the race for the entire day, we saw countless Ukrainian flags and singlets on the course. Some of these folks were American supporters, while others are Ukrainian natives like Igor Krytsak. You can read his story in “What Ukrainians said about running the Boston Marathon.” Krystak’s training plans were interrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and he put his efforts on hold to launch a charity to help provide supplies for Ukraine’s army. He decided to continue running as it promoted his cause and his personal wellbeing in stressful times. Krystak says running provides him with a kind of meditation, and as he crossed the finish line with his nation’s flag held above his head, he used the opportunity to spread awareness about the dire situation back home. “I cried several times when I watched happy and carefree families who, together with their relatives, are safe, have fun and actively spend their time here. I, like millions of Ukrainians, dream that the war will end as soon as possible, and all those involved in those atrocities and crimes must be punished.” The B.A.A banned participation from Russian and Belarusian athletes this year, and you can read about their decision to do so in “B.A.A. Policy on Russian and Belarusian Athletes.”
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Apple injected some momentum into the wireless earbuds market when they released the Airpods. A few generations down the line, they’ve improved their own product, and other companies have joined the race to offer some competition. In fact, there are so many great options that it’s getting hard to pick, but luckily, Sports Illustrated compiled a list of the best options for athletes: “The Top Workout Earbuds for Your Fitness Routine.” Also worth considering are listening devices that take advantage of bone conduction, which maximize your ability to hear your surroundings while delivering quality sound. Browse the Aftershokz Music Accessories from Fleet Feet to see what we mean.
In addition to seeing lots of Ukrainian flags at the Boston Marathon, we also noticed more WHOOP bands than ever before. The company’s version 4.0 is garnering excellent reviews and its smaller form factor has been a hit with runners. WHOOP is not a step tracker or GPS device, but instead provides important data and coaching based on your recovery, sleep, training, and health. Full disclosure: WHOOP is a partner and we make some coffee/beer money if you buy it through this link. Fuller disclosure: we are happy WHOOP users ourselves, even though we sometimes cringe at our health readings after enjoying a Friday night out with friends. (Damn your accuracy, WHOOP!)
If you’ve been putting up with an ill fitting running shoe, you’re not alone. Some studies suggest as many as 70% of runners are wearing shoes that don't properly fit. Before you toss your current pair, it’s worth trying out some different ways to lace them up. By changing your lacing technique, you can mitigate issues like a wide forefoot, ankle slippage, high arches, and more. For a helpful chart and explanation, take a look at these “3 Ways To Lace Up Running Shoes for Wide Feet.”
It’s Christmas in April, SMM readers. Our pals at Fleet Feet are stuffing some stockings with awesome giveaways. A Garmin Venu 2, On Weather Shirt Womens (Medium), On Weather Shirt Mens (Medium), and three different Sprints Running hats are all up for grabs. To be considered for one of these freebies, follow us and Fleet Feet on Instagram, and tag two friends in this post. Also leave a note telling us which item you would like. Good luck!
Most coaches and runners believe that pumping your arms boosts speed, especially when sprinting. Does science support this theory? New research results are in and they suggest that nobody yet seems to know the ideal method. See the details in: “There’s New Data on How Your Arm Swing Affects Running.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
We were treated to 1 of the best finishes in Boston Marathon history this week when Peres Jepchirchir and Ababel Yeshaneh raced down Boylston Street. The 2 women exchanged the lead an incredible 8 times in the last mile of the race. Jepchirchir eventually came out on top, making her the only person in history to win Olympic gold, the New York Marathon and the Boston Marathon. To see the dramatic final mile, check out the recap video below.