Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for August 6th, 2017

We Evolved to Run—But We’re Doing It All Wrong

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It’s been a while since I ran, but when I did, I favored LSD: long, slow distance. As noted, it becomes a meditative thing, particularly if you are lucky enough to be able to run in natural surroundings. One note: I started getting knee pain, with my knee “grabbing” painfully at random times, particularly when going up steps. I read through the various running magazines I was getting at the time, and found an article from a doctor who said that knee pain is generally from improper foot strike: if the foot strikes crookedly, it puts stress on the knees (and in fact, as I learned, it can go on up the body to affect hips and back). I knew I had flat feet (fallen arches), so I made an appointment with a podiatrist.

As it happened, I had an appointment with my regular GP the morning before my afternoon appointment with the podiatrist. I don’t recall the reason, but after the discussion and recommendations of why I came, he asked how things were going in general, and I mentioned I had an appointment later with a podiatrist for the knee pain. He went into alert mode when I said “podiatrist” and immediately sought to show that a real MD was the proper resource. He had me put my leg up on the table. He felt my knee for a while, pressing here and there, and then gave me his official MD advice: “Stop running.”

I decided to see the podiatrist anyway, and he explained quite cogently how flat arches made one’s foot strike obliquely and that it indeed did stress the knees. He gave me prescription orthotics that raised my arches, and the knee pain went away.

Simon Worrall writes in National Geographic:

These days, running seems to have little to do with survival—it’s all about sport watches and burning calories.

But for our remote ancestors, the ability to run over long distances in pursuit of prey, such as ostrich or antelope, gave us an evolutionary edge—as well as an Achilles tendon ideal for going the distance. (Related: “Humans Were Born to Run, Fossil Study Suggests.”)

In his new book, Footnotes: How Running Makes Us Human, University of Kent researcher Vybarr Cregan-Reid reminds us of this often forgotten history. To him, running is ultimately about freedom and leaving the gadgets behind to connect with nature (he calls treadmills the “junk food of exercise.”)

On the phone from London, the author told National Geographic how he was inspired by his Irish uncle, who ran in the Olympics, and why he believes running barefoot is more natural—and less likely to result in injury.

You definitely win the prize for the most unusual name we have had on Book Talk. Tell us a bit about yourself—and how you got into running.

Both my parents are Irish and Vybarr is derived from an Irish name, Finbar. But it’s a family mystery as to why I’m called Vybarr. There are quite a few stories as to where the name came from but none of them add up.

I have been running on and off since my early 20s, but only properly got into it about 10-15 years ago. I’m now nearly 50. There is running in my family. My uncle on my mother’s side was called Jim Cregan. He thought he couldn’t run under that name if he ran for England instead of Ireland, so he ran for Great Britain under the name of Jim Hogan. He came from 1930s rural Ireland, and my grandparents thought he was mad for being so into running. But he ran and ran, most of the time barefoot. He ran for Ireland and later for Great Britain in two Olympics. He also won a gold at the European championships in 1966.

I have to confess: I am someone who loves sports of all kinds, but I heartily dislike running. Convert me!

The first thing I’d say is, you’re probably not doing it right. Most people dislike running because they have memories of things like running for a bus. That kind of running is usually deeply unpleasant, almost vomit-inducing. Most beginners give up when they get injured because they’ve done too much, too soon. Most of the benefits from running derive from going very slowly.

I’m also suspicious of it being a sport. It doesn’t have to be practiced as one. It’s something innate to who we are as a species. It’s a means of getting in touch with the environment and our own thoughts. It’s also a way of releasing some of those body-made endorphins, almost like a “legal high,” that is actually good for us.

You write, “we are born to run.” Explain the role of running in our evolution—and how it is even reflected in our anatomy. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2017 at 10:35 am

20 essential truths from those over 50 to those younger

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This advice is written as being from women over 50 to younger women, but I could see nothing in the list that was gender-specific. The piece at Huffington Post is by Fran Sorin:

Here are 20 Essential Truths that I want to share with women under 50.

1. Make yourself your #1 priority. If you tend to your own well-being first, you’ll have significantly more energy to be able to help others when needed. Because women have historically taken on the role of caretakers, it’s something we do reflexively. Remember that practicing self-care is not selfish. It’s a necessity if you want to lead a rich and productive life.

2. Commit to developing a healthy lifestyle. Although our culture talks a lot about minimizing stress, the majority of us are still leading stressful lives. When you wrap your arms around the fact that 95 percent of all diseases are related to lifestyle choices, it may shock you into realizing that stress, exercise, nutrition, and relationships are the pillars of healthy living. The best news of all is that once you integrate these elements into your daily life, you’ll be awed by how much more productive, positive, and healthy you feel—and experience a profound sense of well-being.

3. Surround yourself with friends and family that love you and support your growth. How many times have you spent time with a friend or colleague who is negative, judgmental, or an energy vampire? Stop making excuses for keeping toxic people in your life. Anyone who consistently is not loving and supportive needs to be deleted or kept at a distance. Remember, your 5 closest friends are a mirror of what you truly think of yourself. Make sure that they embody attributes and values you cherish .

4. Learn to say ‘no’. This is difficult for a lot of women to do; whether when taking on extra tasks at work or at your kids’ schools, or in relationship with your children, spouse, or friends. It takes practice to catch yourself in the process of getting ready to say ‘yes’ reflexively. But once you get the hang of not automatically saying ‘yes, you’re on your way to learning to say ‘no’ in a skillful and firm manner. You’ll be delighted at how doing this will free up your schedule and energy to do things that you really want to pursue.

5. Delete ‘I should’ from your vocabulary. As soon as you hear yourself silently or out loud say those two words, stop and question ‘why’. The people who fill their lives up with stuff that they think they ‘should do’ rarely feel fulfilled and content. Replace “I should” with “I choose to” or “I want” and see what you come up with. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.

6. Replace automatic negative thoughts in your brain with positive thoughts.Women spend so much time questioning if they’re good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, etc. As soon as you hear any inner critical voice judging you, replace it with the phrase: “I am enough”, or “I am the artist of my life.” It may sound too easy of a solution but I can’t tell you how many clients have tried this technique with astounding results. They report back to me that they feel like a weight has been lifted off of their shoulders and that their self-perception has been dramatically improved.

7. Love and accept yourself. Although you may not yet believe it, you’re a beautiful and loving soul. Look at yourself in your bathroom mirror each morning (really look) and say ‘good morning’ and ‘I love you’. It may sound hokey but the more you do it, the more you’ll come to appreciate who you authentically are. You’ll be awed at the beauty and self-love your discover by doing this simple exercise each morning.

8. Develop a daily gratitude practice. It literally takes 5 minutes to integrate a gratitude practice into your daily life. I love sitting in the morning with a notebook and taking stock of what I’m grateful for. Whatever comes to my mind, I write down in a quick list format. The key to getting the most bang for your buck from this exercise is to allow yourself to experience the feeling of gratitude. For example, if you’re truly grateful for the delicious cup of fresh morning coffee you’re drinking, take a deep breath and ‘feel gratitude’ for that cup of coffee.

9. Work on self-awareness. Becoming familiar with your moods, motivations and deepest desires are critical if you want to live a meaningful, abundant, and productive life. Rather than walking through your day mindlessly, check in with yourself every few hours and see what emotion you’re experiencing. If you have a strong negative reaction to something, take note of it and figure out why. Also, earmark when you’re feeling pleasure, fun, joy, spirituality, and creative interludes: You’ll want to add more of these abundant positive experiences into your life.

10. Take responsibility for your life. Blaming external circumstances on not being happy with yourself or your life will keep you stuck, frustrated, and angry. Catch your inner critical voice reflexively saying: “If only I…..”, or blaming others when something isn’t going smoothly. Replace those voices with “I am responsible for my own life and I choose to create an extraordinary one.”

11.  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2017 at 10:17 am

Posted in Daily life

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