1. Stressed During the Holidays? There’s an Exercise for That.:
These easy fitness strategies will help keep your spirits up.
The holidays may be known for their go-go-go stressful energy, but we also tend to spend a lot of time in December being sedentary. Historically, people are least physically active during the winter, thanks to falling temperatures, limited hours of sunlight, calendars jam-packed with travel and social commitments and, of course, the tug of the couch after too much eggnog.
Americans are five times more likely to say their stress level increases rather than decreases during the holidays. And while these higher stress levels aren’t only caused by a lack of physical activity, the lethargy certainly doesn’t help, said Dr. Rebecca Brendel, president of the American Psychiatric Association and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard University Medical School.
More...from the New York Times.
2. How Contrast Therapy Can Boost Recovery:
Polar plunges and saunas are gaining popularity for their health and recovery benefits. Are they worth the hype?
If you listen to health and wellness podcasts or read articles about human performance, you’ve probably realized that ice baths and saunas are having a moment. Whether it’s elite athletes like Laird Hamilton, gurus like Wim Hof, or your own training partners, everyone seems to be embracing the notion that extreme temperature exposure is beneficial. But what exactly does taking a dip in an ice bath and sitting in a sauna do in your body? Why should you combine the two? And how can you get started so you get the benefits without going too far? Answering these questions is what this article is all about.
What Is Contrast Therapy?
Contrast therapy involves alternating between heating up the body and cooling it down rapidly. Also known as contrast bath therapy and contrast water therapy, this ancient technique has been linked to improved blood circulation and reduction of inflammation and pain — especially after injury. It is a common technique used among athletes and has recently been popularized by the sauna and ice bath combo.
More...from Training Peaks.
3. A neuroscientist shares the 3 exercises she does to stop stress and anxiety—in ‘just a few minutes:
During stressful situations, our brain can feel like our worst enemy, causing us to shut down with anxious thoughts or heart palpitations.
Intense anxiety activates the sympathetic nervous system, a network of nerves that trigger the “fight or flight” response to perceived danger. But instead of protecting us, it is sometimes inconvenient — for example, if you’re at a job interview and trying to impress a potential future employer.
Luckily, you have more power over this than you might think. As a neuroscientist, I use three exercises that take just a few minutes to reset my nervous system and feel calm again:
4. Twists and Turns: A World Cup Fitness Coach Explains Pregame Warm-Ups:
In the final hour before a game, teams’ activities can look as random as recess at the local elementary school. But there is order in the chaos.
DOHA, Qatar — Watching players perform their pregame warm-ups on the field is one of the more delightful World Cup rituals. They’re skipping, they’re lunging, they’re sashaying. They’re stretching and sprinting. Some are running drills or rocketing balls at goals (or goalkeepers). Others are playing what looks like backyard keep-away, firing one-touch passes around a small circle as two players in the middle dodge and dart to try to win the ball.
It can look as random as recess at the local elementary school (albeit if the kids were professional athletes), but there is organization in the chaos.
To help us understand what is going on, we turned to Andrew Clark, the high-performance coordinator for Australia’s team, known as the Socceroos. (Currently No. 38 in the FIFA rankings, the team exceeded expectations by placing second in Group D; it will play Argentina on Saturday in the first knockout round.)
Clark talked us through the importance of finding the sweet spot between too little and too much pregame preparation, and how to keep the players’ nerves from shredding before the match.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
More...from the New York Times.
5. Ketones: A game-changer for endurance athletes?
If you’ve been following World Tour Cycling for the past 10 years or so, you may have caught wind of ‘ketone-super-fuel’ drinks, supposedly being used in secret by some teams. This year, QuickStep were the first team to announce an official ‘ketone drink partner.’
Ketone drinks were first developed by the US military, and have been used to set The Hour Record in cycling, as well as by top American distance runner, Sarah Hall. But what are they? And do they live up to the hype?
What are ketones?
Ketones are small molecules that our body can use for energy. Structurally, they’re similar to glucose and fat, which are the other major energy sources for our body. We can make our own ketones when we cut carbohydrate from our diet, either by eliminating carb-rich foods and following the ketogenic (or ‘keto’) diet, or by not eating at all (fasting). Both of these diet styles have become more popular in the last few years for people looking to lose weight.
More...from Precision Hydration.
6. How the 1% Runs an Ironman:
Inside the world of Ironman XC, which makes the endurance contest a little more endurable — for executives who can afford to pay.
Jerome Le Jamtel likes to watch movies while he swims. He says it just like that, too — “I like to watch movies while I swim” — as if it makes sense. In the basement of his house in suburban Mamaroneck, N.Y., from which he commutes to his job in the city as chief risk officer for Natixis Americas, part of a multinational investment firm with $1.25 trillion in assets under management, he has created a miniature Ironman training facility, complete with a Vasa Swim Ergometer, a dry-land simulator that retails for $1,900 and resembles an inverted rowing machine. He puts an iPad on the floor beneath him, and voilà, he’s watching “John Wick” while he works on his freestyle.
Le Jamtel does all his training indoors now. His fellow regulars with Ironman XC, which stands for “executive challenge,” a small subcategory of Ironman that caters to high-achieving, time-strapped business executives, call him the hamster, because he’s always spinning on some kind of wheel. Several of his friends have nearly died on their bicycles in recent years, including one whom he introduced to XC, Nicholas Baddour, the chief executive of the Publicis Groupe in Switzerland, who got tossed over the hood of a car and was lucky to need nothing more serious than eye surgery. Le Jamtel did the research and crunched the numbers (chief risk officer), and he concluded that if he kept cycling Ironman distances on open roads — 112 miles for the bike leg, which in the race is sandwiched between a 2.4-mile swim and a full marathon — there was a 100 percent chance he would be killed. So he snaps his favorite race bike, a Dimond Marquise ($10,300), onto a stationary Wahoo Fitness KICKR ($1,300) and uses his Rouvy app on a mounted 30-inch screen to train on virtual simulations of actual Ironman courses. Le Jamtel bikes outside only when he’s racing, and when he’s racing, it’s almost always with Ironman XC.
More...from the New York Times.
7. Winter Running Doesn’t Have to Be Cold, Dark, and Lonely:
Chin up. You don’t have to dread the months ahead. Running through the darker months can have a different vibe and tempo, and that's okay.
The shortest days and the longest nights are upon us. In many parts of the country, it’s getting cold or it will be soon. It’s hibernation season, except that we aren’t bears and most of us know, somewhere deep down inside, that we need to keep running, even at this sub-optimal time of year.
But what’s a runner to do when motivation is low and the chances of wiping out on a patch of ice are high? We do the best we can. And we try to look on the bright side, pun intended: After December 21, it only gets lighter from here.
Readers Chime In
And listen, we’re all in this together. So we asked readers to tell us how they muddle through, what mind tricks they’ve come up with, what pieces of advice keep them moving, even when Old Man Winter deals the harshest conditions and the alarm goes off at the darkest hour. We solicited almost 150 responses from the Twitter mindhive to come up with this collective advice, from our beloved community of winter runners:
more...from Women's Running.
8. Ten Things You Didn’t Know About On Running Shoes :
The Swiss brand, known for its unique cushioning pods, has transcended running with its style and innovation
In 2010, when minimalism had disrupted conventional running shoe design and innovation was blossoming throughout the shoe world, former Swiss multisport champion Olivier Bernhard founded On to introduce a new way of thinking about cushioning. The three-time world duathlon champion and five-time Ironman winner partnered friends David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti, who brought business and design expertise, to launch the new brand with funky-looking outsole loops underfoot. A few months after On was formed, its prototype shoe with CloudTec cushioning system won an ISPO Brandnew Award for innovation in athletic startups. Fast forward a dozen years later and On shoes—known for their clean design aesthetics and precise Swiss engineering—can be found in more than 6,500 retail stores in over 50 countries around the world and on the feet of the world’s top athletes as well as at your local coffee shop. Here are ten facts you may not know about the brand.
More...from Outside Online.
9. How Exercise Timing Affects Your Blood Sugar:
New research suggests that when you work out can make a significant difference.
* A new study published in the journal Diabetologia suggests that when you exercise can play a significant role in blood sugar management.
* Participants who worked out in the afternoon and evening had 18 and 25 percent reductions in insulin resistance, respectively. Morning exercisers saw no reduction.
* Keep in mind that any exercise—no matter what time of day you do it—can help with prediabetes and diabetes management, but talk to your doctor before starting a new routine.
10. This 45-year-old IT consultant just smashed the Australian women's marathon record:
Sinead Diver ran 2:21:34 at the Valencia Marathon yesterday to finish 12th overall
She only took up running at the age of 33, works full time as an IT consultant, and has a busy family life with two young kids. But yesterday Sinead Diver smashed the Australian marathon record, running 2:21:34 and finishing 12th in Valencia. The inspirational athlete, now 45, just keeps getting better.
Yesterday's run – a PB by almost three minutes – was the latest in a fantastic series of results. Last year she became only the second Australian woman in history to finish in the top 10 of an Olympic Marathon and followed that with a fifth place at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
It's also technically the fastest marathon time ever run by an Irish woman – Diver was born and grew up in County Mayo – but alas for the Irish fans and the team selectors, Diver has been representing Australia for the past eight years.
More...from Runner's World.
11. Strengthen your heart, bones – and maybe even your brain: a beginner’s guide to weight training at any age:
A resistance workout is not just about adding muscle: it can bring a host of other proven benefits as well. So what is stopping you?
‘I got obsessed with watching Olympic weightlifting during London 2012,” says Fiona Clements, a software developer working in London. “I think it’s partly because the effort is so visible – you can see every flicker of doubt, pain and triumph on the athletes’ faces. I was 48 at the time. I thought I’d left it far too late to even consider trying it, but then I kept thinking about it. It took until September 2022, but I finally went for it.” Now 58, Clements can deadlift 50kg and push 21kg overhead. She says she has never felt stronger.
Resistance training, to use the catch-all term for any sort of exercise where you’re working against weight, whether it’s using dumbbells, exercise bands or just your own body weight, has a lot to recommend it. It makes you stronger and more injury-resistant by increasing bone density and strengthening the muscles, ligaments and tendons around your joints. It mitigates the risk of everything from falls to osteoporosis as you age. It can burn calories and reduce body fat more efficiently than cardio, by keeping your metabolism elevated for days after each workout. Plus, it’s more effective for flexibility than certain styles of stretching.
More...from The Guardian.
12. Peanut Butter Is Healthy—If You Follow This 1 Rule:
You have to know what to look for.
IT'S NOT QUITE time to eat a meal, but you’re hungry. What’s going to do the trick? Yeah, probably heaping spoonful or two of peanut butter.
The nutrient-dense pantry staple is a much-loved food of endurance athletes and lifters alike. In addition to being supremely tasty, it’s a boon for healthy eating, too.
“Peanut butter, especially when it is just ground peanuts is an extremely healthy food that is full of healthy fiber, monounsaturated fats that are so good for our heart, and are high in plant-based proteins that support muscle health,” says Dana Ellis Hunnes Ph.D., R.D., author of Recipe For Survival.
Eating peanut butter can even help keep you satiated and helps with blood-sugar regulation. “People who eat peanut butter are no heavier than their peers who do not eat peanut butter, and often may even weigh less because they tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day and also tend to snack on healthier foods in general,” says Ellis Hunnes.
Paired with fruits, vegetables, or whole-grain breads/crackers, peanut butter has just the right mixture of healthy fat, carbohydrates, and protein to keep you going for several hours.
More...from Men's Health.
>13. "Out of scope?" Are they on dope?
Canadian government ignores safety risks for girls and women in sport – again
Standing Committee on the Status of Women rejects expert submission from esteemed athletics coach, Dr. Linda Blade, to a study on safe participation in sport for women and girls.
The call for public submissions posted on the Parliament of Canada website was clear: The study “will be examining the factors that affect the physical and emotional health of women and girls in sport, as well as their safety. The objective of this study is to identify ways to ensure a safe and inclusive sport environment and to encourage women and girls to participate in sport in Canada.”
It couldn’t have been more specifically targeted to Coach Dr. Linda Blade’s area of expertise, which includes a PhD in Kinesiology. It was entirely in line with her athletic credentials as President of Athletics Alberta and called to her leadership in advocating for women’s sex-based rights. Ensuring safety and fairness in sports for women and girls has been a prime focus and responsibility for Dr. Blade’s entire career.
More...from Gender Dissent.
14. ‘Let Women Ride:’ How one mountain biker’s school project seeks to address gender equality at Sea Otter:
Hayley Yoslov's petition to change the start format at the mountain bike race is quickly gaining traction.
Hayley Yoslov is deep into final exam week of her second-to-last semester of high school.
She turns 18 next week. Ostensibly, after she fills in all the bubbles, answers the essay questions, and gets the final grades, she can put this chapter of school behind her and focus on the few short months that stand between her and graduation.
The thing is — one of her final projects has taken on a life far beyond the school walls.
Yoslov, a senior at The Branson School, a private high school in Marin County, California, is the author of a petition on change.org that is gathering signatures with astonishing force. The name of the petition is ‘Let Women Ride: Improve Gender Equality in The Sea Otter Classic,’ and it’s Yoslov’s final project for her Ethics & Justice course at school.
In it, Yoslov, who raced the 40k cross-country race at Sea Otter last year, argues that the current start format greatly disadvantages riders in the female category by starting them after all riders in the male categories. She backs up her argument with data points from last year’s race and offers potential solutions.
15. Are you suffering from iron deficiency?
Iron is vital for health and performance, but runners can easily become deficient in this key mineral. Here are the signs you need to watch out for.
Why is iron important?
Iron is an important mineral that helps maintain healthy blood. It’s a major component of haemoglobin, a type of protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body.
Additionally, iron is critical for runners as it also a part of myoglobin, a protein that carries and stores oxygen specifically in muscle tissue. It has further functions, including brain development and growth in children, as well as being involved in the production of various cells and hormones.
Without sufficient iron, there are not enough red blood cells to transport oxygen, leading to fatigue. Iron is stored in the body in the form of ferritin in the liver, spleen, muscles and bone marrow and is delivered through the body by a protein in the blood that binds to iron, called transferrin.
More...from Runner's World.