Minute 1: Was there any good news in 2021?
If you’re looking back at 2021 and thinking: “I’ve enjoyed all of that I could stand,” we feel your pandemic pain. School closings, business woes, and sick friends & family don’t make it into many holiday movie plots. At the same time, we are grateful for some of the progress made over the past year. According to Strava, endurance athletes around the world were more active than ever. We also saw the triumphant return of major marathons around the world this fall. If you need more reasons to be happy, at a global level, check out “21 Things That Made the World a Better Place in 2021.” The list includes things like 8.5 billion Covid vaccines administered worldwide and millions of workers changing jobs in pursuit of better work/life balance. If you can’t wait for a year-end summary of positive stories, you can always turn to the Instagram account created by John Krasinski, Some Good News. It’s an offshoot of a pandemic project the actor created in 2020 and it never fails to put a smile on our face by spotlighting the positive things that happen in the world.
Minute 2: It’s resolution time
One way to say “later days” to 2021 is to begin planning for 2022. We are officially entering New Year’s Resolution season and you don’t want to wait until you are tired and hungover on January 1, 2022, to make your plans. If you procrastinate, you risk focusing on the wrong things like never drinking again or never snapping selfies while wearing silly hats. Worthy goals, no doubt, but just not as grand as the one we mentioned last week: “Make every mile count in 2022 with the #Run1000Miles challenge” from Trail Running magazine. For more inspiration, check out the “Top 10 Most Common New Year's Resolutions (and How to Follow Through on Them).” According to a study cited in the article, only 46% of people manage to stick with their resolutions and only 4% of people achieve a more casual goal they set for themselves. The tips we like from the piece include actually writing down your resolutions and breaking bigger ideas into smaller components. (Yes, we’d like to run 1,000 miles in 2022, but it’s simpler to think of that as 20 miles per week.) Given what we’ve all endured over the past 2 years, we wouldn’t blame you if your mindset falls more in line with this headline from the Harvard Business Review: “Should You Even Bother with New Year’s Resolutions This Year?” The author is a time management coach whose answer to that question is basically, “Yes, if you keep your resolutions limited, measurable and achievable.” #HighResolution
Minute 3: Are you ready for Hyper Wellness?
Last week, one of the biggest private equity financings in the health and fitness sector hit the tape: “Restore Hyper Wellness Raises $140M in Series C Funding.” Who wants wellness when you can have Hyper Wellness, right? The company was launched in 2015 and already has 115 locations in 34 states. They offer treatments and diagnostics like biomarker assessments, IV drip therapy, intramuscular shots, mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy, cryotherapy, infrared sauna, red light therapy, compression, HydraFacial and Cryoskin. We thought many of those sounded like techniques used in A Clockwork Orange or Dustin Hoffman’s Marathon Man. We were curious about mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy in particular. It turns out that it’s used to not only cure Scuba divers of the bends, but also to increase the amount of oxygen your blood can carry. Increased oxygen can lead to quicker healing and better performance. (Info from the Mayo Clinic is here.) Star performers like Michael Phelps and LeBron James have used the technique, according to this story: “5 Athletes Who Use Hyperbaric Therapy During Training.”
Minute 4: An offer you can’t refuse
With only 2 days left in the giving season, we wanted to offer a present to our loyal readers. As many of you know, we launched Six Minute Mile Professional Edition earlier this year. The content has been excellent and we enjoyed a strong initial burst of paid subscriptions. We probably spoiled all of you, however, by providing SMM at no charge for a long time, so SMM Pro subscriptions plateaued after a few months. We love producing SMM Pro and decided to continue publishing in 2022 without charging. We will keep our finance department happy with an occasional ad, but it won’t cost you a cent for excellent content on new shoe releases, industry trend analysis from our friend Brian Metzler, and a calendar of upcoming events. To see an example of our longer-form work in SMM Pro, check out this story on important industry trends: “Five Noteworthy Insights from The Running Event.” To sign up for SMM Pro, just hit this link.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Slowtwitch, the respected triathlon news site, just published a poll of the most popular shoes among its readers: “Among Slowtwitchers: HOKA Leads, Saucony Gains For Everyday Trainers.” 25.6% of readers rely on HOKA shoes for everyday training while Saucony was the top choice of 19% of readers, up from 12% last year. Rounding out the top 5 were Nike, ASICS and New Balance.
The pandemic trend of more people getting off the beaten path continued in 2021 according to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy: “New Data Reveals Banner Year for Trail Use.” While usage of trails was down somewhat from the lockdown periods of 2020, overall Americans used trails 36% more often this year than in 2019.
If you thought Americans spent a lot of money pursuing fitness, they are spending just as much on a few “cheats” to achieve their goals: “Americans Spent Over $8.7 billion on Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in the First 6 Months of 2021.” The top 5 surgeries include abdominoplasty, liposuction and breast augmentations. The top 5 nonsurgical procedures include skin tightening and neurotoxins.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
If you’re in the mood for some holiday cheer provided by amateur athletes, we bring you the story of Kathleen Fitzpatrick, a third-grade teacher from Washington, DC. Before moving into the classroom, Ms. Fitz was a D1 basketball player at Rutgers, and she made a promise to the kids in her class: if she could hit a full court shot on their playground, every student would receive a cup of hot chocolate. With dozens of noisy kids screaming encouragement, Ms. Fitz launched the shot that almost broke the Internet. To find out if the kids got hot chocolate or not, check out the video below. (Yeah, we know. If we’re posting the video, she probably made it. But even if the suspense factor is low, the joy factor is high.)