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Strava's incredible growth

JUN 1, 2O22

Minute 1: Here comes the sun, so protect your eyes and skin

We love having fun in the sun, but like Icarus, getting too cozy with solar exposure can be dangerous. In Minute 2 of this past SMM issue, we covered how sun exposure can be good for muscle growth, assuming you’ve got the right tools for the job. The eyes are one of the most sensitive parts of the body, and that's why you should be asking yourself, “Should I Wear Sunglasses While Running?” Just like your skin, the eyes have a sensitivity to UV rays, and overexposure on a run can increase the risk of cataract formation, pterygium, and photokeratitis. Even on cloudy days, you need to protect yourself, preferably with glasses rated at UV400 for full spectrum coverage. You’ll want something with a good fit and durability, like the ones featured here: “Goodr Wrap G sunglasses review: Super value, solid performance, lots of colors.” Goodr makes shades specifically for runners and cyclists, and they’re as easy on your wallet as they are on the eyes. Now that we’ve covered the eyes, let’s talk about skin. For that, look into “The Correct Way to Treat a Killer Sunburn.” Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, and applying sunscreen every few hours is the best form of prevention, but if you still manage to get burned, there are a few steps to take to make things better. First, drink plenty of water, since burns draw fluid away from the rest of your body. Adopting a routine of aloe vera, moisturizer, and anti-inflammatory products can minimize discomfort and promote a faster recovery.

Minute 2: Think outside the box for your next smoothie

Here’s our fun fact of the day: technically, avocados are a kind of berry. It’s a little unorthodox, but like lots of other berries, they make for a pretty fantastic smoothie ingredient, provided you’ve got the right recipe. If you want tips on how to blend up the perfect avocado shake, check out: “Want to Age Well? Sip These 10 Avocado Smoothie Recipes.” What makes avocados so good for anti-aging? Experts say the combination of healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants promote gut, heart, and brain health. They’re also known to protect your skin and eyes from age-related degeneration and oxidative stress. Try blending with a pear and coconut water or milk for an excellent post-workout recovery drink. In fact, coconut milk can be a smoothie staple as well, and the list of benefits is long according to “Coconut milk: nutrition facts and health benefits.” For starters, coconut milk contains lauric acid and medium-chain fatty acids, which may have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Coconut milk can also help regulate cholesterol levels, raising HDL (the good kind) and lowering LDL (the bad kind). If you’re in search of other dairy substitutes to throw in your blender, almond and oat milk are both solid low-calorie options. Take a look at “Oat Milk vs. Almond Milk: Which Is Better?” to find out the right choice for you. #NutsForCoconut

Minute 3: Strava and other fitness apps continue to grow

The world has changed quite a bit in the last 2 years, and that’s especially true for the way we integrate technology and exercise. One of the most prominent examples of this is Strava, the running and cycling based platform designed to track and share your fitness progression. Chances are, many of you are already using it, since “Strava’s Recent Surge Propels It Past 100 Million Users.” About half of the user base joined between 2020 and now, as the absence of in-person races drove athletes to the platform to connect and compete in a safe and socially-distanced way. We just checked out a podcast interview with Michael Horvath, the Co-Founder and CEO of Strava. Horvath took a modest victory lap on the phenomenal growth of the app, but he also sounded as if they were playing a little bit of catch-up with sleep and recovery companies like Oura or WHOOP. Strava has a long history of partnering with other fitness devices and apps, so we hope that means we can soon upload this data into our Strava account. Horvath also mentions that they are considering options for tracking glucose and menstrual cycles. To expand beyond their core of cyclists and runners, you should expect to see a lot more emphasis placed on hiking and enjoying trails. For options beyond Strava, check out: “16 of the best running apps for 2022.”

Minute 4: The answer to your footwear questions can be found in your old shoes

Written into every pair of old running shoes is the story of where you’ve been, and how fast you got there. When it’s finally time to retire them, you shouldn’t just chuck your old pair without first examining the wear patterns. There’s a lot you can learn according to: “What Your Old Sneakers Can Tell You About Your Gait, According to a Podiatrist.” Across your sneaker’s life, wear will show wherever there is friction and pressure. In other words, you can see how your foot is striking the ground, and if you’re lacking support in certain directions. Excessive wear on the inner edge of the sole could indicate over pronation, while outer edge wear likely indicates a normal gait. Excessive heel wear could be an indication of overstriding or overpronation as well. Running a footwear forensic analysis is good, but there’s even more insight to be found through foot scanning. Take a look at “The Fleet Feet fit id® Outfitting Process.” By using a system of cameras and pressure sensors, outfitters can build a profile to match you with the right shoe, or even order custom fit insoles to correct abnormalities in your gait. The background info provided by Fleet Feet at that link is good whether you use their system or one at another retailer.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • It can be an amazing feeling when your race preparation pays off on the big day. When all that hard work amounts to a time you’re proud of, you can expect quite an emotional payoff, just don’t count on it lasting forever. There’s a phenomenon known as the “arrival fallacy,” where we expect lasting gratification from accomplishing a goal, but the truth is, our emotions aren’t so permanent. Jakob Ingebrigtsen spoke about his experience after winning Olympic gold in Tokyo, and it’s a good example of “Why We Should Embrace Post-Race Emptiness.”

  • Getting into the outdoors can be so fun, we sometimes forget there are risks to consider with each outing. Lightning, flash floods, and unkempt trails are just a few things to keep in mind as you hike and run in the backcountry. Trail Runner magazine’s Meghan Hicks and Bryon Powell have written a whole book of tips to stay safe. You can read the highlights in: “Extreme Weather and Terrain: A Trail Runner’s How-To.”

  • This isn’t the first time we’re warning you about this, and it surely won’t be the last: Don’t believe everything you read on social media. This time, the offender is Pinterest, where lots of content and infographics can be found outlining the do’s and don’t of “cancer fighting” foods. Well, experts have investigated some of the claims, and they found that not only was a lot of the info on Pinterest misleading, some of it was downright harmful: “Beware of Misleading Cancer Nutrition Claims on Pinterest, Researchers Say.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Speaking of dangers of the outdoors, wildlife encounters are all too real of a hazard in certain areas. Most will remember the remarkable story of a Colorado trail runner who killed a mountain lion with his bare hands in 2019. Two years ago, a Utah trail runner captured this terrifying video of a big cat stalking him for several minutes. We’re saddened to learn this week about a 9-year-old girl from Washington who was attacked by a cougar while walking near her camp site. The girl’s aunt has set up a GoFundMe to help cover medical expenses, and we wish her all the best in her recovery. You can watch news coverage of the event in the link below, and take a look at “Safety Tips for Unexpected Wildlife Encounters” to make sure you know what to do if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.


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