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.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really notice my fitness on a day-to-day basis until something like injury or illness (or the after-effects of a marathon!) render me unable to do things as easily as I normally would. To an extent, I suppose I take it for granted that my body can do these things, so I found it quite staggering to read a report in The Telegraph telling me that around half the population of the UK believe they are so unfit that they would be short of breath running for a bus! Even more worrying, just one in five thought they could run 100m. The research was conducted by the British Heart Foundation, who understandably find such statistics worrying, yet what caught my attention was the fact that so many people surveyed thought they were “too unfit” to join a gym or that running was only for those who were already fit and healthy. I don’t know what can be done to alter that mindset, but there are plenty of people out there who demonstrate every day that running and fitness is for everyone. I just wish more people would realise. Any ideas?
But for those of us who do love to run, it seems that it’s not just genetics that helps to determine that love, but environment as well. Based on studies on mice, researchers have found that females who exercised voluntarily during pregnancy were more likely to have offspring who remained active into adult life. Perhaps the idea of “exercising for two” and the benefits to the child may help to motivate more women to exercise during pregnancy (with the agreement of their doctor, of course).
And speaking of loving running, you may remember I recently shared an article by sports broadcaster Vassos Alexander whose new book Don’t Stop Me Now has just been published. This week I listened to an interview with Vassos on the Running Stories podcast and learned that his book is interspersed with stories from famous runners ranging from Olympians to famous faces who enjoy running. To be honest, that makes me want to read the book even more, so I thought I’d share some extracts from it which were recently published in The Telegraph.
And tied in with health and activity lately is the suggestion from the Royal Society for Public Health that food packaging should carry “activity icons” to inform people what it would take to burn off the calories in their chosen food. While I know dietary health is not quite as simple as “calories in and calories out”, there is an increasing trend for recording food intake in various smartphone apps and balancing this against exercise done. Perhaps such labels would bridge the gap between these and, while not a perfect solution, could help to make people a bit more aware of what they were consuming. What do you think?
And finally, way back last June I shared a story about a half marathon where runners were “heckled” from the roadside by a bluegrass group playing music from Deliverance. After footage of the race went viral, organisers have now decided to change the name of the race in honour of those hecklers! Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce the Hillbilly Half Marathon…
The Running Princess