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You snooze you... win?

Minute 1: As your age goes up, does your top speed have to go down?

Athletes in their 20s typically feel invincible. They work out hard and say things like “I’ll rest when I’m dead.” They love the gas pedal and loathe the brake. When they reach age 30 and beyond, however, we start seeing guys with torn Achilles tendons from pickup hoops and women in walking boots from overtraining-induced stress fractures. They’ve learned the hard way that pain isn’t just weakness leaving the body. Sometimes pain is telling you to slow down. With the right approach, however, many middle-aged athletes figure out “How to Hold onto Your Sprint Speed as You Age.” Researchers looked at why older sprinters become slower, finding that they take shorter steps and spend more time in contact with the ground. Essentially, they lack the explosiveness used by younger runners to propel themselves forward. The culprit may not be your muscles themselves, but rather the nervous system’s messaging pathways. As you age, neurons lose functionality. The brain struggles to communicate with muscles, reducing the amount of muscle fibers that activate during exertion. The good news is that if you continue to exercise, “neurons from other motor units will sprout new connections to add the orphaned muscle fibers to their existing bundle.” So how do you combat this degradation? The most successful remedy might be resistance training. Not only will your strength improve and add some explosivity back, but it has also been shown to be a great way to develop “Exercise-Induced Neuroplasticity.” Incorporating exercises requiring balance -- such as 1-legged movements -- help to stimulate the sensory motor system. For ideas, check out “The 5 Balance Exercises All Runners Need to Be Doing.” #FastTwitchFun

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Minute 2: If running gives you a headache, try these prevention tips

Keeping up with an exercise routine can be a real headache. Literally. Up to 30% of runners have asked themselves: “Why do I get a headache after I run?” In a study with more than 2,000 respondents, about 600 reported they experienced what’s known as an “exertional headache.” What can you do about it? A post run headache may be your body’s way of telling you you’re dehydrated. Increase your fluid intake, and if that doesn’t solve the problem, try a sports drink to combat any electrolyte imbalance. Next, pay attention to your form. Improper form adds tension in the body, keeping you rigid. If your head and neck is being jostled around, it's no surprise a headache will follow. Use these “5 Fixes for Better Running Form” to keep things smooth and easy. It's also been suggested that “fluctuations in your glucose level affect your brain more than any other organ,” so a headache may be a warning sign of low blood sugar. Consider eating a serving of fruit before or after your workout as a healthy way to get sugar in your diet. Lastly, understanding “The importance of the warmup and cooldown” is key to preventing headaches. Without a proper warmup, your body has to work overtime to provide enough blood circulation. #HeadGames

Minute 3: Does your running schedule match your fitness goals?

For a sport that is so beautifully simple, many runners have a tendency to overcomplicate things. It’s easy to get wrapped up in calculations about pace, workouts, hills, shoes, nutrition, sleep and heart rate data. That stuff’s all important, but we sometimes lose sight of the simple question of “How often and how far should I run?” If you haven’t thought about your running schedule in a while, this new article may help simplify things:“How Many Miles a Week Should I Run?” If you’re training for a specific event, of course you’ll want to set weekly mileage goals tailored to that distance. Many of our running buddies -- particularly over the past year -- aren’t interested in competition, however. If you run primarily for overall health benefits, maybe you should focus less on your mileage and more on the amount of time you spend with your heart rate above resting level. Research has indicated that running just 5 to 10 minutes a day reduces your risk of heart attacks, strokes, cardiovascular disease, and other health concerns. Running further and faster could bring greater health improvements, but the key is to find a balance. At a certain point, you receive diminishing returns, with the risk of injury outweighing the potential health benefits. If you want to set personal records and push yourself, you can take on as many miles a week as you like. For those who just want to live longer and happier, consider reducing your distance or frequency by scheduling ample rest days as you train. #YourMileageMayVary

Minute 4: Burn up fat with this unexpected weight loss food

If you’ve ever felt guilty about the number of Chipotle burritos you’ve eaten, don’t worry, we’ve found the loophole for you: just add hot salsa. New research has come out explaining “Why chilli peppers are a secret weight loss superfood needed in every healthy diet.” A study found that by giving subjects a supplement of capsaicin, the chemical that makes chilis and other peppers spicy, bodyweight was reduced by about 2 lbs over 12 weeks. The study authors went on to conclude “the consumption of foods containing capsaicin was associated with a lower prevalence of obesity.” How does the capsaicin work? When you eat spicy food, you raise your body temperature. You begin to sweat and intake more oxygen to cool down. Essentially, your resting metabolic rate increases. Low RMR has been linked to increased likelihood in weight gain, so raising it can be a great tool in your arsenal for keeping the pounds down. We went searching for low-cal spicy meals, and here are a few of our favorites: Buffalo Cauliflower Bites are a nice option for a vegetarian-friendly party appetizer. Spicy Butternut Squash Soup will add some color to your dinner plans. Spicy Tunisian Grilled Chicken is a 1-2 punch of weight loss and muscle building protein. Bon Appetit! #FireInTheBelly

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • You snooze you... win? There’s been an increasingly common association between high performance athletes and sleep. Scientific literature shows the benefits of a good night’s rest on performance. You may have even heard that getting more sleep will prevent injury. Alex Huchinson examines “The Complicated Link Between Sleep and Injury,” questioning some of the conclusions that have been drawn from relevant studies. He warns that there has likely been a conflation between correlation / causation as authors and journalists have attempted to simplify and disseminate the information. Take a look at his article to bring some nuance back into the discussion.

  • If you’re celebrating this 4/20 with the traditional festivities, your afternoon jog might feel a little sluggish. You’re not alone; “Working out with Weed” has grown in popularity, and 70% of cannabis users report it makes exercise more enjoyable, according to 1 survey. Enjoyment isn’t always the goal of exercise, though. Can weed help with motivation, performance, or recovery? Casey Johnston tells her experience trying to answer these questions in “I Got High to See if Weed Would Help Me Work Out.”

  • Smart gym equipment has taken off, especially during the pandemic. With 9 in 10 Americans preferring to continue working out at home, there’s demand for a product that creates the motivational environment of a gym. Attending spin class virtually seems to get the job done, but Peloton’s formula has been expanded on with a growing variety of machines and online options. CNET puts them to the test in “The best smart home gym workouts of 2021.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

We were trying to put our own advice from Minute 1 into action today by injecting more speed into our daily run. We were feeling a little sluggish until somehow a scene from Talladega Nights popped into our very small brain. We’ve always loved the advice from Ricky Bobby’s girlfriend that “You need to grab a hold of that line between speed and chaos and you need to wrestle it to the ground like a demon cobra.” If that’s not enough to motivate you, the scene even includes a reference to Tawny Kitaen for those of you raised on ‘80s rock and MTV. For the full 2 minutes of motivation that would put Herb Brooks to shame, check out the clip below.


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