THE CDC ISSUED ITS WEEKLY REPORT MARCH 23, 2018 which indicated that this year’s influenza season is not over. Just as storm after storm swept across the country and transformed into multiple nor’easters, the viral infections causing ‘flu may be coming in two waves. The information was based on data collected during week 11 ending March 17, 2018. Jamie Ducharme of TIME.com reported on the CDC weekly summary information.
That is the bad news. There’s also good news. The first wave, caused by influenza A (H3N2) was partly powered by the lowered effectiveness of the annual immunization against that particular strain, at about 25%. This second wave is caused by Influenza B (mostly of Yamagata lineage), against which this year’s ‘flu shot’ is about 42% effective! As we were reminded earlier, even if after receiving the vaccination you become ill with influenza, the severity will be lessened if you’ve been immunized.
The number of positive specimens is decreasing overall. Deaths are still being reported and remain above the seasonal baseline. Influenza-related hospitalizations are also still above baseline in persons 65+ years of age; the age groups 50-64 years and 0-4 years are next in highest hospitalizations, but the graph shows much lower rates that for the 65+ group.
Hopefully this is the last health bulletin to urge runners, walkers, and other fitness enthusiasts to be vigilant in washing hands and lining up for vaccinations. It’s still not too late.
It would be a very disheartening Spring season to have suffered through all the snowstorms and cold, driving rain and, just as the weather improved, get very sick. All your training in preparation for an event could be wiped out if you were wiped out by the ‘flu.
If traveling for Spring Break, increase precautions, especially if flying. There are still 17 states in which the infection was reported as widespread. You can check the CDC weekly site for all graphs, and there are maps showing activity state by state.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
OSTEOARTHRITIS (OA) OF THE KNEE IS INCREASING IN INCIDENCE, according to a scientific study that compared autopsy findings in early ancestors, pre-industrial age, and post-industrial age skeletons. It’s roughly doubled in persons who were born after World War II compared with those who were born before it writes Alex Hutchinson, who reported on the August 2017 study From Harvard University, for RunnersWorld.com.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) article that described the research postulated that although a longer life and increasingly heavier bodies may have contributed to the development of this condition, there are likely other factors that explain the increase. It could be related to the harder surfaces modern folks walk around on, or the fact that women, who are 50% more likely to develop OA than men, have taken to wearing high-heeled shoes more often.
But the researchers also suspect that physical INACTIVITY may be at fault as well. “Less physically active individuals who load their joints less develop thinner cartilage with lower proteoglycan content as well as weaker muscles responsible for protecting joints by stabilizing them and limiting joint reaction forces”.
Chronic inflammation, which is made worse by physical inactivity, diets rich in highly refined carbohydrates, and obesity were also identified as possible culprits promoting the development of OA in modern life. This all sounds familiar. If less activity contributes to obesity then it seems we have a central issue, too little physical exercise, from which at least 2 other problem conditions arise.
The Hutchinson RW article makes a point of declaring that running doesn’t cause OA but on the contrary, too little of this activity might be the problem. However, he cautions that in spite of doing all the “right” things, runners still get arthritis, so more research work is needed.
WHAT IF YOU HAVE OSTEOARTRITIS OF THE KNEE? What to do to not make it worse? What to do to stay physically active? I looked for more specific advice to help with selection of daily activities; practical recommendations.
It happens that an October 2013 “Men’s Health Watch” article from Harvard Health Publishing addresses the difficulty of staying or becoming more active while living with OA of the knee., “Arthritic Knees: Exercise can help, but don’t overdo It”. Although written about 3-4 years before the newer 2017 research article was published, it is one of the few that attempts to provide direction.
“Do you have knee osteoarthritis and want to be more active with less pain? It turns out that the best medicine for wear-and-tear knee but you have to stick with it to get the benefit – even if it hurts a little.”
So says orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Donald T Reilly, from Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who is quoted in the article. It’s important, Dr. Reilly also says, to do “low-level, repetitive exercise without stressing the joint too much”, which will allow you to “gradually strengthen and stabilize the joint”. “Those kinds of exercises diminish the forces that are put across the joint”.
Those with severe OA may be able to do less than individuals in which the condition is mild-to-moderate, who can “work the joint a bit harder”. There will be a bit of testing to find the boundaries of what can be attempted. Exercises that involve deeply bending the knee may be off limits for some. Alternative straight-leg exercises are encouraged, though!
The article discusses getting started with conditioning exercise. There is the usual caution of checking with your physician and working with a qualified physical therapist. This can be the big hurdle that some are unwilling to get over, because it takes time to schedule and make these medical appointments. But it is the surest path to obtaining a custom exercise/stretching prescription and demonstration of technique. Several therapy visits will allow tweaking of the program so it works without supervision. Ask your PT for recommendations to local trainers or fitness centers where conditioning and exercising can continue when medical coverage for PT sessions expires.
The article ends with an exercise, the “alphabet tracing routine” for “strengthening muscles that support and stabilize the knee”. It’s not a complicated or difficult set of moves and can be done lying on the floor while watching TV, in bed before getting out, or on the beach!
Learning this one convenient, love-your-knee exercise is worth the read!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
USING THE NEW FORMULAS TO DEFINE YOUR INDIVIDUAL RANGE, OR NOT.
There have been Earned Runs blog posts recently about the unseen, hidden benefits of high intensity exercise with regard to improved immunity and decreased risk of dementia. One of the articles discussed, based on research in which data was collected more than 4 decades, measured exercise intensity using the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale.
Exercising participants subjectively described the degree of difficulty of a cycle ergometer session effort with an expression like “very light”, “very hard”, or “very, very hard", that corresponded to a number on the Borg RPE scale (likely the original 0-21 scale).
The Borg RPE scale, the original or one of its two revisions, has been used successfully in many research studies. Runners and other exercising athletes are likely to have used a mental version of this RPE scale. Trainers and coaches might refer to this practice as running or training by “feel” to distinguish it from efforts more objectively measured by monitoring one’s own heart rate
Because the intensity level at which exercise is performed is increasingly seen as key to obtaining health benefits, like weight, and blood pressure and glucose management, how do we know we are at the correct level to achieve a specific outcome? How do we know we are working hard enough, or not overly harder than what we ‘perceive’ is in the needed range? Is a heart rate monitor required?
Probably not. However, if checking your individual perception of effort against a heart rate monitor will help build confidence by taking away uncertainty, go for it. Use the Borg RPE scale to describe the subjective difficulty of a session and at that time record a heart rate monitor reading. Check that reading against a target heart rate range of 65-85% effort. After that exercise by feel, checking against a heart rate monitor reading only intermittently.
An article by Paige Waehner, “How to Calculate Your Target Heart Rate Using the Karvonen Formula” for verywellfit.com helps with that process. Waehner describes the popular and simple Karvonen method of calculating Maximum Heart Rate (MHR): 220 beats per minute - minus your age.
The MHR is the number from which different intensity levels are derived, by multiplying it times the desired percent effort level. The values for 65%-85% effort by age are likely to be posted on exercise equipment in your fitness center. Thus, 200 bpm would be the MHR of a 20-year old person (130-170 bpm range), 175 bpm of a 45-year old (114-149 bpm range), and 150 bpm of a 70-year old, (98-128 bpm range) not taking into account fitness level or gender. This method is now thought to be inaccurate.
Waeher explains in detail how to calculate MHR based on your individual resting heart rate by using UPDATED formulas for men [206.9 – (0.67 x age) ] and women [206 – (0.88 x age)], which adjust for gender, resting heart rate, and age, and then how to calculate the rate for your 65-85% intensity level range.
Waehner doesn’t list a reference for the updated women’s formula.
Tara Parker-Pope discusses the research that generated the re-calibrations for both men and women in a 2010 nytimes.com WELL blog. In Parker-Pope’s piece she identified the lead researcher at Northwestern University in Chicago as the source of the new women’s formula, Dr. Martha Gulati. The original publication in the journal Circulation was located by Earned Runs; see the very last section “Clinical Perspective” for explanation of the new formula.
The specific source of the men’s formula was not provided in either piece although the work of University of Colorado researchers was mentioned by Parker Pope.
Do you fear doing the math involved in determining intensity level by heart rate? The parting message from the NYT WELL blog might be for you. “Everyone kind of has their own natural pace”, expert Dr. Tim Church is quoted as saying. Keeping track of a number may distract some from sticking with an exercise program that’s enjoyable, so skip it and work as hard or little, and as long as you wish.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2010/06/heartrate.html (news release)
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/122/2/130.long (go to very last section “Clinical Perspective”)
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF EVENTS IN LATE MARCH & EARLY APRIL that present opportunities for using Earned Runs bibs. Ways in which an exercise session can become part of an annual celebration and a chance to have fun in a unique manner. Solo or with others. Here’s another that’s coming up in less than a week*.
April 1 is the official date for April Fool’s Day, but because it falls on a Sunday in 2018, which happens to be the Easter holiday, Earned Runs is ‘moving it’ to Monday, April 2. No fooling. There’s enough fun and good times to be had on Easter. No need to complicate matters.
Besides, Monday’s are not known as being days infused with intense ambition or high energy. Adding a bit of craziness might be the trick to getting a run, walk, bike, swim, or fitness session completed that might have been skipped.
One of the most wonderful aspects of having Earned Runs bibs to motivate fitness is that self-designed events don’t need to be scheduled weeks or months in advance. You can wake up, on a Monday morning for example, and decide to semi-formally declare your participation in an event, one custom-made to fit your schedule, location, and budget. If it turns out to be memorable or fun, it can be repeated year after year. More planning can be put into the next year’s observation, especially if others are involved, to make it a better fitness or social experience.
Maybe April Fool’s Day will become the kick-off to your spring season each year.
No bibs? REQUEST a set today.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
[April 2, 2018 (Earned Runs is celebrating it on Monday, NOT Sunday)
APRIL FOOL’S DAY No Fooling, In It to WIN it 50! (any distance)
Demonstrate that you’re no fool. Get out today and test your resolve not to be silly about health. Run, walk, swim, or exercise a seriously happy 50 MINUTES.]
*You can find other suggested spring events on a LIST posted the on RESOURCES page.
MYRTLS REMINDER: IF YOU ARE INCREASING YOUR MILEAGE for half marathon training, or just because the weather is better (sometimes anyway), and if you are NOT doing MYRTLs prior to your longer runs, this reminder is for you. MYRTLs, and stretching and foam rolling as well, can help you survive and ENJOY these runs. Even if not running or walking distances, consider performing MYRTLs daily, as it can be important to joint health maintenance.
There will be a post about osteoarthritis of the knee on Friday that discusses how physical inactivity may play a role in the development of this condition. Today’s post reminds you that not only do muscles need a warm-up, but joints as well.
Myrtl’s will help “warm-up” the hip joints. The slang term, “myrtl”, comes from the idea that performing the exercises in this routine will increase the motion/mobility of your "hip girdle" (joints that make up the hip)..
A trainer explained the reasoning behind performing these movements before working out to me long ago. He indicated that “imbibition” of synovial fluid by cartilage and other joint soft tissue is initiated when joints are moved. The repetitive movement and pressure forces the fluid into these tissues. I’ve not yet located a reference that covers this topic that I can easily understand to share.
From my medical training, though, I know that synovial fluid provides the only source of hydration and nourishment for cartilage. It is not perfused by blood flowing through capillaries. Which happens to be why healthy cartilage appears white rather than reddish in color like other living tissues of the body.
To explain this process in the not-so-medical way I’ve taught myself, the ‘pumping’ action of the MYRTLS movements helps force fluid into the joint tissues such that they ‘plump up’, allowing improved cushioning and movement. Thus, it's better to start running, walking and exercising with the body’s natural version of ‘gel inserts’ after performing MYRTLS than with thin, dried out tissues!
Newer scientific work has improved knowledge of how the joints stay healthy; for more information, read the article “How Does Physical Activity Preserve Lubricated Joints?” by Charles Q. Choi, for InsideScience.com, a publication of the American Institute of Physics.
The RESOURCES page has the links to the MYRTLs video demonstration by the Wolf Creek Track Club Coach Brandon Wise and Coach Jay Johnson’s tutorial that can be accessed anytime. If you HAVE BEEN DOING MYRTLs, now's a good time to check your form and make sure you are doing them correctly!
Inside Nike Running™Coach Jay Johnson Flexibility
MYRTLs video demonstration by Wolf Creek Track Club USATF Registered Coach Brandon Wise
FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1968 (the year that the Detroit Tigers won the World Series), all the major league baseball teams will have their initial game of the season on March 29!
“All 30 teams will begin play on the same day in 2018, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday” The New York Times reported in an article by Victor Mather in September 2017. It happens to be the earliest starting day in history, according to the news piece. Which means a few hosting teams with outdoor stadiums will be dealing with cool or cold weather: Detroit, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and New York (Mets).
It’s a great opportunity for baseball fans to host or participate in an ‘historic’ event of their own, using Earned Runs Bibs. “MLB Opening Day Mash-Up”, is featured on a list of events suggested by Earned Runs (see the Event description below in italics).
Of course, only half the teams will be playing at their own field, so another possibility is to wait for the home opener on a later date. It’s called a “mash-up” because everyone can be invited to do whatever distance or effort, whenever a run or walk or bike ride works for their schedule but be united in the purpose of welcoming the start of the 2018 MLB season.
The point is to commemorate the annual happening with a shared physical activity experience rather than just gathering to watch the game on TV. Make it a reason to obtain healthy exercise. Record it as having taken place on your bib. If you don’t have tickets to the game or can’t travel to the park, make the best of the day in this way.
No bibs? Request a set today.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
NOTE: 2018 will be the Detroit Tigers 50TH ANNIVERSARY of being the World Champions; fans can check out the team’s website to find information about planned activities.
March 29, 2018 (or later for first 2018 HOME game openers)
MLB OPENING DAY MASH-UP (any distance)
If you’re a runner who also loves major league baseball, mark the start of the season with a personal race, run, or walk using Earned Runs Bibs. Create an annual ‘ceremony’ to solemnize your team’s run at a championship this year with your own GOOD LUCK send-off effort.
If your start time is prior to when the first pitch is thrown in a night game, you can head to the favorite local team hangout afterward. Or if it’s an afternoon game, set the distance and start time to coincide with everyone’s lunch breaks. Each person can run or walk the distance that fits their schedule, but make a point to wear gear and meet up to watch the game
WEEK 11 HALF MARATHON 2018 TRAINING PLAN STARTS
You should be settling into a rhythm by now. One recovery walk + 3 shorter distance runs + 1 long run, each week. The types of shorter distance runs have not been specified up to this point, although 1 hill repeats session has been offered as an option on Tuesdays. In week 13 there will be an option of a tempo run on Thursdays. However, runners can individualize one or both sessions now that all work is focused on the half marathon.
Remember, this plan is for beginners or those getting back into running races who did not have one available to them for this distance. Advanced runners who wished to increase their speed to a faster pace and finish with an improved time will have scanned this plan and likely realized it was not going to help with that. They will have used a plan provided by event organizers if formally registered for a race, or found one online that promised to prepare runners for their “best finish time ever.”
Beginners can choose to run hill repeats on Tuesday or run easy steady continuous speed run that day. They have 3 options (see below) for running the shorter distance session on Thursday. #1 is for runners who only wish to “finish” the 13.1K distance and are not concerned with time. #2 is for those who wish to finish strong but aren’t focused on gaining speed. #3 is for runners who wish to push their limits a bit more, and test themselves in the upcoming event.
Jenny Hadfield offers 4 tempo runs for runners who are new to them in an article for Runnersworld.com, “Four Tempo Workouts for Runners”. Included are warm-ups and cool-downs, which are a must! You are roughly running 2-4 miles, because the exact distance will vary by running pace. With increased running intensity in certain segments, the swap with a 3-mile run would be fine, and suitable for the Thursday 3 mile run, especially if you're not running hill repeats.
If you are new to racing, the “high-five” tempo workout listed first might help you deal with one aspect of competition, the speed-ups and slow-downs normally experienced in a race if you’re not a leader at the head of the pack. For example, you occasionally might wish to speed up and pass a group that has slowed down in front of you, then dial it back a bit after the harder work. Or tackle a long, low hill that requires more effort, after which you take a little breather by easing up.
When you are training by yourself or with friends you/they control the pace. In a competition, you and other running biddies will not always be in control. If you’re not ready for it mentally and physically, it could throw off your race plan.
Have fun experimenting with these shorter runs soon. There’s enough time now, before the race, to try the negative split, the tempo run, or both, and revert to the old comfortable routine if the change-up doesn’t work for you.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
J MILLER, FROM JENREVIEWS.COM, EMAILED me earlier in the year suggesting that EARNED RUNS followers might find her article, which featured an extensive guide, “How to Pack for a Backpacking Trip”, useful. The piece has several sections that include general tips, packing for one week, one month, and 6-month trips, pre-packing, and commentary.
Because completing an epic adventure has been introduced as a possible good-weather-season Earned Runs Challenge for those interested in alternatives to race or obstacle course competitions, it seemed liked a great way to stimulate interest and planning.
Miller’s article does not specifically relate to fitness adventures in which distances or ground covered require physical effort and endurance. However, exercise enthusiasts might mostly focus on building the body for the task and not pay attention to other factors that could make or break a trip. It seems worthwhile to read more broadly, in advance, about backpacking as an experience.
A good deal of information is presented that likely only scratches the surface of the preparation that is needed for such an adventure. The most valuable service her huge effort provides is to raise awareness of what’s required before one step can be taken, especially by a novice like me.
The GENERAL PACKING TIPS section starts with a discussion on how to choose a backpack, which is based on the length of the trip, whether flying will be part of the travel plan, and the need for specialty hiking equipment. Other considerations include how many location stops will be made, the weather and culture at each, space to be allocated for souveniers, and availability of amenities for maintaining hygiene, health, and comfort.
Budget and trip purpose are covered in this same first section about selecting a backpack, but might deserve stand-alone discussion. These two aspects of any adventure would be at the top of my list of issues to address first, and would probably influence each other as well as the length of the adventure, which is next up in the article, packing for 1 week v 1 month v 6 months trips.
Packing advice by TRIP LENGTH and PRE-PACKING are both very detailed and will be appreciated when it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Additional specialized insight will be required for sport-specific trips that include running, bicycling, hiking, and camping. But experts may overlook small, mundane, comfort-related details in their zeal to help with the technical aspects of an athletic challenge. It’s wise to consult several resources for a 360-degree look at what will be needed.
Consider this Jen Reviews piece as an early-step in the process of mentally organizing an epic adventure that requires transporting trip necessities in a backpack. It may be encouraging or discouraging, and more or less daunting of a challenge, depending on your preconceptions and experience!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
HIGH FITNESS LEVEL: PROTECTION FROM DEMENTIA. The USA TODAY headline, “’Highly fit’ middle age women nearly 90% less likely to develop dementia decades later, study finds” grabbed my attention. The accompanying short article briefly summarized the findings of the official research study, “Midlife Cardiovascular Fitness and Dementia,” which was published online ahead of print in the medical journal Neurology March 14, 2018.
Earned Runs was interested in the details, especially the methods for determining fitness level.
Scientists from the University of Gothenberg, Sweden felt that although aerobic cardiovascular fitness programs have been aimed at improving cognitive function in older persons there were few very long-term prospective studies, and no randomized controlled trials, able to subjectively “relate fitness to dementia.”
A US study followed participants for roughly 24 years and a Finnish study had followed men for 25 years. The former had shown high fitness was associated with lower dementia risk, and the latter that poor self-described fitness was associated with higher risk. A previous study in Swedish men had shown that low cardiovascular fitness at age 18, assessed by a bicycle ergometer test, was associated with increased early onset dementia (< age 60). It has been suggested, the scientists indicated, that “midlife was a ‘sensitive period’ for the effect of cardiovascular risk factors on dementia.”
Dr. Helena Horder and colleagues decided to track dementia incidence over 44 years in a group of women who had been tested for fitness at the beginning of that time span.
In 1968, researchers looked in depth at a ‘systematic subsample’ of 191 Swedish women, out of a larger population-based sample group of 1,492 women aged 38 to 60 years. The smaller group had “completed a step-wise maximal ergometer cycling test that year to evaluate cardiovascular fitness”. In subsequent years, on 6 different occasions (1974, 1980, 1992, 2000, 2005, and 2009), the women were evaluated for dementia.
The results revealed that, after 44 years, the women whose test indicated a high level of fitness were much less likely to develop dementia than women with medium fitness; risk was reduced by 88%. Age of onset was found to be delayed by about a decade (9.5 years older) in the highly fit women, and time to dementia onset was delayed by about 5 years compared with medium fit women.
Specifically, the study reported that the “adjusted hazard ratio for all-cause dementia” when compared with medium fitness, was 0.12 “among those with high fitness”, and 1.41 “among those with low fitness” (the medium fitness women were at 1.0). There was a very high incidence of dementia in women who were physically unable to even complete the test (45%).
The fitness testing description is rather complicated. Each woman was given a workload, measured as power, kilopond m/minute, converted to W on the cycling ergometer according to the results of a pretest. The pretest determined how high the workload needed to be set to bring her to “maximal subjective exhaustion” at the end of 6 minutes of effort.
Peak workload was used to categorized participants into 3 fitness groups: low (80W or interrupted test) that included 59 women, medium (88-112W) with 92 women, and high (equal to or greater than120W) with 40 women.
“During the period of maximal work, heart rate and ECG were registered every minute, blood pressure was registered after 1 and 2 minutes, and respiratory frequency and perceived exertion by the Borg scale.” Taken together, 93% of the group perceived their effort as “strenuous” (at or about scale point 15) and half as “very, very strenuous” (at scale points 19-20).
[The original Borg scale rated perceived exertion from 1 to 21 (maximal) and a later revised score from 6-20. The publication describing the original scale was released in 1962 and mostly likely used in 1968, since the revision was issued in 1970].
The results reported in their study, the scientists indicated, were in line with other studies on all-causes of death in that the reduction of risk data related to fitness level were “stronger” than that which took weight (obesity) into consideration. The authors felt this information “highlights the need for fitness-driven rather than weight loss approaches” to reducing risk for dementia.
Additional discussion in the publication pointed out that fitness and physical activity are NOT equal. In terms of the protection each provides against dementia, their study showed the hazard ratio was “stronger” for high fitness than that reported for physical activity. This was the same as reported with cardiovascular disease protection. They emphasized that fitness has a significant genetic component.
In discussing the potential mechanisms by which fitness may diminish dementia risk, the researchers believed their study was similar to the findings of others. Fitness is thought to indirectly influence other illnesses (hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus, high blood levels of cholesterol for example) that may affect cognitive function. But the evidence also showed that fitness level may have a direct effect on the brain, “for example enhancement of neuronal structures, neurotransmitter synthesis, and growth factors.”
They cited recent research which showed that lower cardiovascular fitness was associated
with lower brain volume (size) 20 years later. And explained that “brain regions that seem most influenced by physical activity are those that are also vulnerable to age–related changes and early pathologic changes in Alzheimer disease such as the hippocampus.`” The Swedish scientists believe that more research into the effects of fitness on brain structures is needed to “improve strategies for dementia prevention”
To accept and act on these findings, as with all research, we must wade through the science and take into consideration the shortcomings of such a project. These were Swedish women; there were no males or persons of other ethnicities included, so results are generalizable to all populations. The sample was small. There was no way to study cause and effect. Genetic markers for risk were not examined. Lifestyles and environmental conditions before 1970 are not reflective of current life. The influence of childhood fitness was not investigated.
However, we may not have the luxury of time to wait for comprehensive data from the next, possibly perfect, future study before devising a personal action plan to lessen risk. The methods portion of this research reveals that women born in 1908, 1914, 1918, 1922, and 1930 were “systematically sampled* from the Swedish Population Register” for the study! If sampled today, would we accept the risk of burning another 44 years for findings to be revealed in 2062?
What to take from these results? The FITNESS level that matters for improved brain health:
What actions does Earned Runs recommend taking?
In 1968, it is unlikely that Swedish women were into performing formal HIIT sessions. The research participant characteristics table doesn’t include information on fitness activities prior to the study, so we don’t know for sure exactly how they became highly fit by middle age. To follow their example, it is possible to occasionally increase exercise intensity while performing activities we already enjoy. Simple change-ups may do the trick. Massive re-working of exercise habits is likely not necessary.
The American College of Sports Medicine offers some guidance on interval training. An excellent article posted by Paige Waehner for verywellfit.com discusses aerobic and anaerobic high intensity interval training with suggested workouts.
If new to training, very strenuous exercise should be undertaken with caution. Best to find a certified trainer at a gym to help develop a plan to gradually build to interval work. Ask for an in-home routine which doesn’t require a gym membership if desirable. That’s my goal and plan. I’m not an exercise novice but know enough to recognize that qualified coaching is the safest option and fastest route to achieving goals.
RUN &MOVE HAPPY!
*Born on the sixth day of uneven month in those years (January, March 6, May 6, and so on)
The recommended routine for aerobic work, like running, generally includes dynamic stretches, a mobility session, and 5-10 minutes of easy walking or other slower movement activity. In Gabrielle Kassel’s article for SHAPE.com, “The Dynamic Warm-up for Weight Lifting That Will Improve Your Performance”, we are reminded that a warm-up before weight work is also good habit to develop.
The ‘small print’ introducing most strength routines may address the need to first perform a warm-up. However, video or image demonstrations of exercises can immediately capture our attention, and the advice goes unnoticed as we begin the workout. Or, a specific warmup is not described and we are left on our own to figure out what to do.
Kassel’s article puts a spotlight on the warm-up and explains it in detail!
The referenced expert first recommends foam rolling, which might elicit some groans. Actually, this is a wonderful way to ease into a strength session as well as a run or walk.
Described next are a series of dynamic stretches:
Last is a “finisher”, consisting of a light jog or sprint, or a series of progressions from jog to sprint repeated several times.
The concept of warming up before a workout shouldn’t be new to long time runners. But doing so before a weight lifting session might be something novel. Prior to reading this article, I did my daily static stretches and mobility moves (these are done upon waking). Just before starting a strength training session later in the morning, I walked for 10 minutes and cycled for 5 minutes.
I love the idea of this warmup as it targets the torso and hip girdle. It’s better than what I was doing. It may take a few more minutes, but each of the moves is an exercise that works small muscles or helps with joint mobility, while activating bigger muscles.
Consider trying this routine once. If it doesn’t leave you feeling motivated and ready to get down to business, perhaps you should shop around for an alternative. As the expert quoted by Kassel indicates, “taking a few minutes for a dynamic warm-up can help improve your strength, muscular and cardiovascular endurance, speed, flexibility, and even aid in injury prevention.”
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WHETHER YOU 1) DECIDED TO ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE of walking a half marathon or 2) WISH TO INCREASE THE GAINS from your weekly walking sessions, or 3) CROSS TRAIN AS A RUNNER WITH WALKING SESSIONS, there are workouts designed to help you.
Wendy Bumgardner for verywellfit.com, presents a ONE WEEK SCHEDULE with several different workouts suggested by race walking coach Dave McGovern that include: economy, recovery, and threshold #1, and threshold #2 walks.
There also is a link to a 15 Minute Walk ‘maximizer’ workout, if that’s all the time available.
In addition, Bumgardner provides an explanation of six different types of walking plans. She explains them more fully in the article, which is essential reading.
For quick reference the basics as explained by Bumgardner are summarized below:
Easy Health: Every day 30 minutes duration 50-60% maximum heart rate
Fat Burning: Every day 45-60 min 60-70% MHR
Aerobic: Every other day 20-60 min 70-80% MHR
Threshold: 1-3 x per week 50 min or less 80-92% MHR
Endurance: 1 x per week 5-10 miles distance 65-80% MHR
Economy: 1 x per week 20 sec/2min; 8-12x fast as possible/slow
Running and walking without a goal or a plan may be disappointing if we hope to realize improvements over time. At worst, injury can occur with overtraining. Most of us understand that If we want to build endurance, we will need to TRAIN to walk or run progressively longer distances.
Similarly, if we want to build speed or aerobic (cardiovascular) fitness we will need to TRAIN to accomplish these goals. We can’t BE different, in this case better, unless we DO something differently, which means we must work our bodies to function at a higher level!
Walking for exercise is not the same as pleasure strolling. Walkers, as athletes, benefit from having a plan with purposeful workouts. Stretching and warmup/cooldown sessions are components of such workouts. Twice weekly muscle-strength building sessions are recommended in the CDC’s Physical Activity Guidelines for all healthy adults, so walkers should also include resistance work in training programs. Mobility routines are a great idea too.
Wendy Bumgardner provides a variety of resources and information that walkers will find motivating and helpful in this article and others on the verywellfit.com site, including heart rate training. Consider taking advantage of her offerings to get moving this spring!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
IF YOU’RE NOT TRAINING FOR A SPECIFIC EVENT, and have not competed a 10K recently but are regularly and comfortably covering 5-10+ miles in a single session, think SPRING today. Make an event of the first day of the new season.
Mark the occasion on your training log or calendar as an accomplishment if you do, and consider making a first day of Spring run or walk an annual personal event. Having such milestones scheduled, completed, and acknowledged help to pass the time between meteorological spring and emotional spring that arrives later with milder softer weather.
The description of the suggested event below is from the list posted in an earlier blog March 7, 2018, and posted on the RESOURCES page (you can also CLICK HERE to download it)
March 20, 2018
"SPRINGTIME WARM-UP (5- 10 miles)
Just like the position of the sun in the sky and the increased sunshine help to warm the earth and melt the frozen ground, runners can get warmed up for the new running season with an event that’s not a short 5k or a longer distance half marathon. Pick a distance between 5 and 10 miles and plan to run it about 10-15% slower pace than you would run a half marathon. (a 10-minute mile pace in the half would mean an 11-minute mile pace in this event)."
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
FOODS TO NOT AVOID if you're trying to lose weight. Sidney Fry assembles a cast of delicious food characters that might currently be avoided by some dieters in “8 Foods That are Surprisingly Good for Weight Loss” for Under Armor’s MyFitnessPal.com blog.
Perhaps in the past we've been told to skip them because of their fat, carbohydrate, or calorie content by some official nutrition agency. Or heard news stories that scared us away. The new news on these eight foods is that they might actually assist with weigh loss.
While having a list of absolute diet "no-nos" might be mentally easy, it can make accommodating a weight-loss plan to everyday life quite difficult. The less we enjoy a lower calorie meal plan the less likely we may be to follow it for weeks, months, or a lifetime. And that is the point of such a plan; to re-educate and re-train ourselves to enjoy eating in a sensible healthy manner over a lifetime. Feeling constantly and severely restricted is the path to be defeated by this challenge.
Fry's article may encourage some because it could add variety and taste to an eating plan that currently omits these items. The 8 foods discussed are:
1. Whole milk and milk products: “Several studies have found that when people reduce the amount of fat”, Fry says, which in the case of whole dairy food includes essential fatty acids, “in their diet, they tend to replace it with sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can have a worse effect on overall health.”
The key here will be in portion control. If the bulk of your daily protein comes from dairy products, it may be okay to eat a mix of full fat and low- or no-fat milk products.
If you cannot eat cheese without adding crackers, beware that this source of fat and hidden sugars can add considerable calories. Cracker serving sizes tend to be small. One serving of some products may be measured as 4 or 5 per 120-140 calories. If you don’t want to be constantly checking nutrition labels consider eating a FEW slices of apple or pear, or a few berries with an ounce of cheese instead.
(the Ritz cracker fat content value seems incorrect, more likely 3.7 grams fat)
2. Nut butters
Again, the healthy aspect of adding nut butters depends on portion control and not adding high-calorie crackers or other carbohydrate-rich foods to the snack. The standard serving size is 2 Tablespoons with a value of about 190-200 calories.
One small serving per day on a vegetable like a celery stick can be more satisfying than other snacks, as the higher fat content provides satiety.
Some people have advised pouring off the separated oil that accumulates at the top of jars of natural nut butters to decrease the calories by about 20 per serving. This can make the butter very hard.
BUT, pouring about half of the oil off saves roughly 10 calories/serving and the result is a firm butter that can be spooned out and eaten like a piece of cheese. The temptation to spread the butter on something almost disappears. It’s not spreadable and will break a cracker. Very tasty this way and encourages sticking to the correct portion size.
Once again, portion control rules when it comes to eating pasta wisely. As the title of the article says, “surprisingly” it is listed by the American Diabetes Association a low glycemic index food . Especially if it is cooked ‘al dente’, such that the starch in the durum flour-based food is not ‘liberated’ by the cooking process. Ways to tell if you the starch has remained trapped? According to Barilla, the water will not be cloudy during boiling and the noodles will not be sticky when drained.
4. Eggs: don’t skip the yolk; it’s has fat soluble Vitamins and essential fatty acids among other nutrients. http://www.dranthonygustin.com/egg-yolk-nutrition/
5. Dark meat poultry
6. Red wine: one 5oz. glass; hard to stop at just one.
7. Coffee: only healthy without milk or other “additives”.
8. Dark Chocolate: +70% cacao is tricky to find; the bitter taste is not the same as candy chocolate, as the sugar content is low and there’s no dairy.
This article provides 8 reasons why a sensible diet can be delicious and include a variety of foods. You may not initially welcome the caution that “portion control” is important in the enjoyment of certain items. However, if we could eat as much as we wanted of everything anytime, there would be nothing tempting about special occasion food treats.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 10 HALF MARATHON 2018 Training Plan
You are officially entering the second half of the plan this week! Congratulations for making it this far. There are no more ‘tune-up’ races, after this last weekend of St. Patrick’s Day-themed events. You’ll be looking ahead toward your goal half marathon.
For those who have already completed a ‘Saints’ 10K, an 8mile long run is scheduled for Saturday, possibly your longest ever run. Wow. Remember it’s more important than ever to foam roll after or before and after this run, and perform the other warm-up and cool-down routines.
While you’re outdoors covering this distance, enjoy the first full weekend of Spring (March 20).
WALKERS: Check out the RESOURCES page for links to 2 plans you may wish to follow. They were discussed in a blog post last week (March 14, 2018). BELOW ARE SCREENSHOTS of the plan at weeks where you might start after completing your St. Patrick's Day themed 10K.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
"May the road rise to meet you,
may the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of his hand"
ENJOY THE DAY regardless of the weather! ”Sláinte mhaith!”
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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