Friday Finds – 11th March

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

And so, the doping scandal once more raises its head, this time through the medium of tennis and Maria Sharapova’s announcement that she has failed a drugs test. Now technically tennis is a bit of a departure for my Friday Finds posts, but as an English teacher I was quite intrigued by this particular piece from the BBC in which Sharapova’s press conference was analysed, from the room decor and her choice of outfit right through to the effect of some of her word choice. We don’t often see this type of analysis, but it’s exactly the sort of critical approach I want my pupils to take to their own reading and listening.

In other news, Public Health England hit the headlines this week with its new campaign targeting those in middle age and encouraging them to lead a healthier lifestyle. The idea is that being healthier in middle age will lead to good health when we retire. I’m neither in England nor middle-aged (although I feel I’m edging closer and closer these days!) but when I discovered I could take a quiz, I had to have a shot! The result: I’m leading a healthy lifestyle in terms of exercise and eating habits, but I’m a bit stressed. A stressed teacher at a time of year when lots of coursework is due? Who’d have thought 😉

Of course not everyone in is the habit of exercising regularly, so it was interesting to read The Guardian‘s article in which five writers shared their stories of exercise, the difficulties they faced and the benefits they reaped:

Towards the end of last year my inner geek was thrilled to receive my own personalised Strava roundup for the year, and based on all the data fed into the site throughout the year, they also produced Strava Insights, which allows us to “explore the world through Strava data”. Here, the BBC has helpfully presented some of the key numbers alongside some really cool heat maps:

I’ve mentioned before that one of my current favourite podcasts is Tough Girl Challenges, hosted by Sarah Williams. If you haven’t yet had a listen, then perhaps this next find will help to explain why I enjoy it so much. In this interview, Sarah Williams shares her thoughts on mental toughness and discusses some of the fantastic women she’s interviewed for the podcast to date. It’s these stories of mental toughness, of never giving up that I find so inspiring. These are women who when told they can’t do something, say, “watch me”. These are stories which make me want to dig deep and go out to have an adventure. Running has taught me a great deal about mental toughness, and with International Women’s Day taking place this past week, I hope these Tough Girls help to inspire others to follow in their footsteps and take on new challenges.

And finally, if you’re a bit of a chocaholic then this might just be the news you’ve been waiting for. According to a new study, chocolate is linked with better cognitive ability. That’s right, chocolate boosts brain power! Of course a sweet treat like chocolate is best consumed in moderation, but now perhaps there’s one less reason to feel guilty about a little indulgence!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess


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