The Runner’s High: It’s Like Smoking Weed [High Times]
Research on mice [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences] has confirmed that a “runner’s high” arises from a release of anandamide, a neurotransmitter that stimulates the same cannabinoid receptors that cannabis does. If you have ever run, biked, lifted weights, or performed any kind of physical exercise, you may have noticed a sense of euphoria and the feeling you are relieved of physical pain and anxiety. They thought it came from β-endorphin, but now scientists have confirmed that anandamide is most likely the cause.[more inside]
There's an ongoing culture war in America between fitness enthusiasts and automobiles — a quiet, persistent, and almost entirely one-sided battle that creates new casualties every day. The legal skirmish surrounding the death of Ashley Poissant reveals this stark divide. The Clinton County District Attorney and Poissant's friends insist that when an 85-year-old man with an unsafe level of alcohol in his blood and a steering wheel in his hand collides with and kills a 27-year-old woman, it is a crime, a form of homicide. Trombly's attorney says it's a horrible accident, one that the women contributed to by running at dusk on the wrong side of the road. He believes an accident, even a fatal one, doesn't warrant sending an octogenarian to a New York state penitentiary.
If you've never done the Wingate-cycle test, let me try to explain what it feels like: It feels like your legs are giving birth. It feels like you've got an eight-martini hangover in your calves. Your face contorts like a porn star in an AVN-award-winning threesome scene. You emit noises that resemble feedback at a thrash-metal concert. Maybe your eyes are closed and you're rocking your head back and forth. The upside: It's over in 30 seconds. ... I rode the Wingate cycle as part of my research on a surprising and potentially life-altering theory called high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Think of it as the Evelyn Wood of exercise. The idea is that lightning-quick intense workouts might be as good for you as — if not better than — longer medium-intensity workouts.[more inside]
Fitocracy is a social game that harnesses the power of feedback loops to promote fitness. [more inside]
One thing is going to become clear in the coming years, Braun says: if you want to lose weight, you don’t necessarily have to go for a long run. “Just get rid of your chair.” "...Exercise does have an important role in weight loss. That role, however, is different from what many people expect and probably wish." And quite nuanced too. Turns out it's different for men and women and it matters what kind of exercise you do. [more inside]
Running is actually good for your knees, if you haven't suffered knee injuries in the past. [D]espite entrenched mythology to the contrary, runners don’t seem prone to degenerating knees. An important 2008 study, this one from Stanford University, followed middle-aged, longtime distance runners (not necessarily marathoners) for nearly 20 years, beginning in 1984, when most were in their 50s or 60s. At that time, 6.7 percent of the runners had creaky, mildly arthritic knees, while none of an age-matched control group did. After 20 years, however, the runners’ knees were healthier; only 20 percent showed arthritic changes, versus 32 percent of the control group’s knees. Barely 2 percent of the runners’ knees were severely arthritic, while almost 10 percent of the control group’s were.
"At Stanford University two sales representatives from Nike were watching the athletics team practise. Part of their job was to gather feedback from the company's sponsored runners about which shoes they preferred. Unfortunately, it was proving difficult that day as the runners all seemed to prefer... nothing" - from Christopher McDougall's forthcoming book "Born to Run" which looks at the story the growth of the $20 billion running shoe industry. Starting form Bill Bowerman's Cortez in 1972 onwards runners have seen a steady flow of innovations to improve performance and reduce injury rates. Only it would appear they may not work. By way of contrast the book includes coverage of the Mexican Tarahumara tribe who run ultramarathons with shoes made from car tyres on their feet.