Category Archives: running

Marathon running makes arteries younger and lowers blood pressure – Study

Although I think marathon running, per se, makes too many demands on the body, it appears that marathon training and participating can accomplish some very positive effects. New research led by University College of London (UCL) and Barts Health NHS Trust suggests running a marathon for the first time could have several health benefits.

man running on road

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on

The study, published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that for first-time marathon runners, training and completion of the marathon resulted in reductions in blood pressure and aortic stiffening in healthy participants that were equivalent to a four-year reduction in vascular age. The greatest benefits were seen in older, slower male marathon runners with higher baseline blood pressure. Continue reading


Filed under aortic stiffening, blood pressure, Exercise, exercise benefits, marathon running, marathon training, running, vascular age

Some Good Leg Stretches for Cyclists

Here is a post I wrote a while back for another blog I do. Thought you cyclists and/or runners might be interested.



Willing Wheeling

I ride my bicycle nearly every day here in Chicago. Last year I averaged just over 17 miles per day for a total of 6350 miles. So far this  year, I am over 7500 miles in the first week of December.

In a four season city like Chicago, I am not always able to ride at all, so I end up with some longer rides to compensate.

As every rider knows, your legs can get stiff after a while.  I have found three wonderful stretches that do a super job of rejuvenating my legs. I usually do them after ten miles or so. That way the muscles are warmed up and I have good circulation.

There are pictures of each stretch, but I want to explain how I do them as that makes a difference. I do yoga for years and when I stretch, I always do the diaphragmatic breathing…

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Filed under cycling, running, stretching

Running actually reduces some inflammation – Study

Running may also slow the process that leads to osteoarthritis

As regular readers know, I ride my bike nearly daily,  here in Chicago. A hundred years ago, it seems, I ran daily. I stopped running because I enjoy bike riding more.

We all know that running causes a bit of inflammation and soreness, and that’s just the price you pay for cardiovascular health. You know; no pain, no gain.


Well, maybe not. New research from BYU exercise science professors finds that pro-inflammatory molecules actually go down in the knee joint after running.
In other words, it appears running can reduce joint inflammation.“It flies in the face of intuition,” said study coauthor Matt Seeley, associate professor of exercise science at BYU. “This idea that long-distance running is bad for your knees might be a myth.” Continue reading


Filed under arthritis, inflammation, osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis pain, running

Running… is it good or bad for your body?

I think there is a lot of good information here that is worthwhile for anyone interested in running. Running can work, but it is easy to get hurt doing it. Regular readers know that I feel strongly that walking is a great exercise for both the mind and the body. There are very few walking injuries.

I have two posts that might be good follow-ups for this item. First is my Page – Why You Should Walk More, second is Why You Shouldn’t Run a Marathon.


Shaun Gray Biokineticist

Running is an exercise most able bodied people either are participating in currently, have done so in the past or have thought about as an exercise to help improve their fitness or even to lose weight. The big question I get asked frequently is “Is running good for you?” and to that there are multiple answers. I know people in their late 60’s – early 70’s that have been running for over 30 years with no problems but I also know people in their early 30’s that have been running for less than 2 years with major injuries caused from running. What is the difference between them, that one person can run injury free and the next not?

There are a couple of variables that will help you stay injury free (not guarantee you will always be injury free). The first variable is the individual’s body shape and make up…

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Filed under marathon, running, walking

Running Could Add 3 Years to Your Lifespan

The study involved more than 55,000 adults aged 18 to 100, who were followed during a 15-year period to determine whether there is a relationship between running and longevity. About one quarter of this group were runners.

Eat less; move more is still the mantra of this blog.


Cooking with Kathy Man

Just 5 to 10 minutes a day seems to bring benefits, study says.

Runners may live an average three years longer than people who don’t run, according to new research.

But, the best news from this study is that it appears that you can reap this benefit even if you run at slow speeds for mere minutes every day, the 15-year study suggests.

“People may not need to run a lot to get health benefits,” said lead author Duck-chul Lee, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University. “I hope this study can motivate more people to start running and to continue running as an attainable health goal.”

It’s not clear from the study whether the longer lifespan is directly caused by running. The researchers were only able to prove a strong link between running and living longer. There could be other reasons that runners live longer. It could…

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Filed under aging, running

Stair Climbing is Good For You – Part Two – ACSM

Two days ago I wrote “Stair Climbing is Good for You” which talked about the value of this often overlooked exercise. At least overlooked by me.

I was impressed with the exercise, but wasn’t sure about whether or not descending stairs was a valuable part of it or potentially harmful. Some friends who do it said that they take the elevator down after they walk up because they don’t want to damage their knees. Also, a personal trainer friend (who has a titanium knee) said not to walk down stairs, only up.

stair-climbingSo, I asked around and the American College of Sports Medicine sent my post to one of their experts.

Here is what David R. Bassett, Jr., Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies Senior Associate Editor, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Senior Editor, Research Digest, The University of
Tennessee had to say: “This blog post is mostly accurate. One thing that is not 100% accurate is the statement that stair climbing burns more calories than running. This COULD be a true statement, but it is not generally true. It depends on the rate of stair-climbing and the speed of running on the level. The energy cost of running is: running 6 mph (9.8 Metabolic Equivalent of Task  (METs), running 7 mph (11.0 METs), running 8 mph (11.8 METs), running 9 mph (12.8 METs), running 10 mph (14.5 METs). The cost of stair climbing has been measured at a slow pace (4.0 METs), at a fast pace (8.8 METs). We did a study where we measured the energy cost of stair climbing at 70 steps/min and found it to be 8.6 METs. Stair-climbing could get up to 15 METs, but that would almost require jogging up the stairs.

“Regarding the question of whether walking downstairs is beneficial, the energy cost of descending stairs is about one-third that of ascending stairs, so from a caloric standpoint descending stairs is not nearly as beneficial as ascending stairs. The impact forces of descending are probably greater, which would increase bone loading. Another difference is that the quadriceps muscles are contracting eccentrically, as opposed to concentrically, when descending stairs. What this means is that the thigh muscles are performing a lengthening contraction, as opposed to the more typical shortening contraction. This could lead to muscle soreness if done for extended periods of time, but over time your muscles would adapt and you would be able to do the activity with little or no soreness.”

I got the statement about the value of stair climbing vs. running from Run Society, but neglected to include them as the source. I have since included that citation along with a link in the original.

Thanks to Professor Bassett for his observations.

For more on this important topic, check out: Stair climbing is good for you – Part Three – ACSM.


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Filed under running, Uncategorized, Weight

What Are Some Low Calorie After Dinner Drinks?

During this holiday season, temptations come at us from all angles, at home, at work, visiting friends. It is a real challenge to simply maintain our weight, let alone lose any during these months. I have written several posts on Healthy eating tips for the holidays beginning back on October 28.


So, it was encouraging to read WebMD’s recommendation on low calorie after dinner drinks. “While they are mostly empty calories, many alcoholic “after dinner” drinks aren’t as decadent as you may think. A standard shot (1.5 ounces) of chocolate-infused liqueur from one gourmet chocolatier is less than 100 calories. So is crème de cacao.

“Another decadently sweet treat is strawberries dipped in chocolate, which average about 40 calories each. Dip two strawberries in warm, dark chocolate instead of dipping into a molten chocolate cake and you’ll save anywhere from 200 to 1,000 calories.”

As always, paying attention to portion size can keep you from going too far astray.

Enjoy the holidays!


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Filed under circadian cycles, running, salt

How to Exercise Safely in Hot Weather – NIH

With summer upon us it is important to play it safe when we play outside. Too much heat can be risky for healthy 40 year olds as well as seniors. The National Institutes of Health has issued the following tips for hot weather fun.

hot weather 3

Check the weather forecast. If it’s very hot or humid, exercise inside with a Go4Life DVD or walk in an air-conditioned building like a shopping mall.

Drink plenty of liquids. Water and fruit juices are good options. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. If your doctor has told you to limit liquids, ask what to do when it is very hot outside.

Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics.

Dress in layers so you can remove clothing as your body warms up from activity.

Get medical help right away if you think someone might have a heat-related illness. Watch for these signs: Continue reading

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Filed under aging, cardio exercise, health, healthy living, hot weather, hydration, men's health, mortality, National Institutes of Health, running, seniors, strength, stress, walking, water, Weight

What are Some Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure?

Some 68 million people in the U.S. suffer from high blood pressure, that’s one in three adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC. High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death in the United States. High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realize they have it. That’s why it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

The good news is that you can take steps to prevent high blood pressure, or treat it if it is already high.

The CDC recommends the following lifestyle changes to prevent high blood pressure:
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Filed under aerobics, arteries, Exercise, fat, obesity, running, smoking

Why You Shouldn’t Run a Marathon

I  have stated previously in these pages that I while I respect and admire the exercise of running, I have even considered taking it up to get more weight-bearing exercise, I think that on-balance marathons damage the body and should be avoided. Since October is the beginning of marathon season, I wanted to put this out.


Dr. Mercola
says, “Several recent studies have indicated that conventional cardio, especially endurance exercises such as marathon running can pose significant risks to your heart. It can result in acute volume overload, inflammation, thickening and stiffening of the heart muscle and arteries, arterial calcification, arrhythmias, and potentially sudden cardiac arrest and stroke—the very things you’re trying to avoid by exercising. 

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Filed under cardio exercise, marathon running, running