1. Are You Iron Deficient? Are You Sure?
UPDATED. Research shows iron deficiency is underestimated in women, and it’s taking a toll on our health and performance.
Iron is essential for energy. It helps your body deliver oxygen to your working muscles and the mineral participates in the energy making process in your mitochondria. It’s also a key player in cognitive function and keeping your immune system strong.
Because of the menstrual cycle, women are at an increased risk to have iron deficiency, which is low iron, as well as anemia, where you have both low iron and a lack of hemoglobin, the iron-rich protein in your blood cells that carry oxygen.
Research shows that one in ten women will have anemia at any point in time and about a third of women suffer with anemia at some point in their lifetime. Active women are especially at risk, even more so than active men. Research shows that while about 5 to 11 percent of male athletes have iron deficiency, that number jumps to 15 to 35 percent among females.
Worse, a study in The Lancet Haematology reports that current test thresholds for detecting iron deficiency in women (as well as children) may be too low. That’s important because, as noted in the study press release, physiological changes like fatigue, impaired physical performance, and decreased work productivity can occur well before iron levels reach the stage of deficiency as currently defined by blood tests. Specifically, the researchers found that when ferritin dropped below 25 µg/L in women, the levels of two other proteins in the blood began to change, indicating that the cells need more iron and fewer red blood cells are being produced.
More...from Dr. Stacy Sims.
2. This Is Best Time to Work Out, According to Science:
Experts weigh in on the best time to work out.
There's always been debate about the best time of day to work out. For the longest time I've heard that exercising first thing in the morning is ideal, but others say a nighttime workout benefits them more. I was one of those evening exercisers when I was working in an office regularly, but have since shifted to late morning workouts. Is one time really better than another, and why?
Regardless of when you work out, there are many health benefits from moving regularly, like improving your heart health, getting stronger or even improving your endurance. Most people decide to exercise when it best fits their schedule, so oftentimes they can't help the time of the day they choose to be active.
Research has shown, however, that the time of day you choose to exercise can affect your workout in various ways. Here's how to determine what's best for you based on the latest data.
3. What experts say about exercising when you’re tired:
It’s the end of another long day at the office after a poor night’s sleep. As usual, you’re exhausted, yet you want to stop at the gym on the way home to get the exercise you need to stay healthy.
Office routine. Back view of young employees working on computers while sitting at desk in modern open space. Job concept. Workplace
Should you work out when you are suffering from chronic sleep loss?
This conundrum is a widespread problem, considering 1 in 3 Americans are sleep deprived, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It is definitely a bidirectional relationship, not one or the other,” said Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
“First, there is clear data to show that regular exercise improves sleep quality — moderate exercise in the morning, afternoon or very early evening can improve deep sleep,” Zee said.
Deep sleep is the healing stage in which your body repairs and restores itself. Also called “slow wave” sleep, it can only be achieved if your sleep quality is good, with few to no nighttime interruptions.
4. Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit Review: Six Points to Gryffindor:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 9.9 oz. (280 g.) for a US M9 / 9.1 oz. (258 g.) for a US W7.5
Is it the 99th version of the Levitate? Maybe
We never say no to more foam — a full 2 mm this time
This one is a little better than the standard issue
Available now for $150
LINDSAY: According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, *sips tea with pinky up*, stealth is defined as a movement that is quiet and careful in order not to be seen or heard. For example, “The silence and stealth of a hungry cat.” Much like the hungry stray cat you’ve been feeding, Brooks is back. This time with the Levitate 6 featuring the Stealthfit upper.
Stealthfit was introduced in Levitate 5, and I’m glad they kept it around for this update. Compared to its original model, the Stealthfit is a tighter-fitting version of the Levitate without the discomfort of a too-tight shoe. Are you following? Well, I wouldn’t use the word “tight” to describe this shoe. It’s more “form-fitting” without being stiff. But I digress.
Unique to the Levitate line is Brooks’ DNA Amp v2 foam. It is considered their most energetic and responsive midsole, but it still sits on the firmer side. Even with an extra 2mm in this version, the Levitate 6 original and StealthFit are definitely among the lower-stack daily trainers, which is a nice change for some considering most of the newer daily trainers have max height.
More...from Believe in the Run.
5. Alison Jackson made an absolutely priceless TikTok about cycling in Canadian winter:
The EF Education-TIBCO-SVB is all of us trying to ride in the snow.
EF Education-TIBCO-SVB’s Alison Jackson may be starting her season in warmer climes soon, but she was in British Columbia in the off-season during some of the big snowstorms. Ever the trooper, she layered up…and layered up again…and again in her brand-new kit for a ride in the cold.
We all know the feeling, staring outside at some crummy conditions, trying to convince ourselves to get outside and conquer the elements. Then, base layer, jersey, another jersey, a jacket, a shell–a buffer, some big gloves and away we go. Ah, the simplicity of cycling.
And then you get outside…well, we’ll let Canada’s favourite cycling TikTokker show you the rest.
More...from Caaadian Cycling Magazine.
6. ASICS' 'Mind Games: The Experiment' Explores the Link Between Mental Performance and Physical Exercise:
Following the journeys of world-class “mind athletes” in chess, mahjong, Esports and memory games as they introduce physical activity into their training routines.
ASICS (TOKYO:7936.T +0.94%) ‘ corporate slogan is “anima sana in corpore sano,” a Latin phrase that roughly translates to “a sound mind in a sound body.” The brand believes that exercise, apart from providing obvious physical benefits, can also help an individual’s mind — boosting their concentration levels, sharpening their memory and increasing their general awareness. Now, that hypothesis has been laid down in concrete fashion thanks to Mind Games, a new documentary that explores the relationship between physical and mental fitness.
Mind Games highlights the journies of international chess master Kassa Korley, high-level Mahjong player Ryoei Hirano, professional Street Fighter player Sherry Nhan (better known as sherryjenix) and memory game competitor Ben Pridmore as they work physical fitness into their training regimens — with various, often humorous, levels of skepticism. Then, after four months, each “mind game” athlete enters a tournament or contest to test their skills.
7. I Know My Body Needs Rest, but I’m Having Trouble Slowing Down:
What do you do when the mind wants to heal but the body has other ideas?
When you have always been an athlete, how do you truly rest and recover? I’m one of those people who has always been busy, always a perfectionist, and almost always fit via martial arts and other sports. It’s a core part of my identity as a tough woman. I recently got shoulder surgery for an old injury, and recovery is slower than I would prefer. But more than that, it feels like the rest of my body is finding ways to get other injuries or become sick in a snowball effect. What do you do when the mind wants to heal but the body has other ideas?
I’m a dogsledder, and people always think I have to teach my dogs how to pull. In fact, that’s something they do naturally; from the moment they can toddle around, they want to explore, and as they get older, that drive only grows stronger. From the first day I put a harness on them, they pull as if they’ve been pulling for years; every instinct in their body is telling them to go, go, go. In fact, the hardest thing I have to teach them—and also the most important—is how to rest, especially when it’s the last thing in the world they feel like doing. Rest is boring. It feels to them like a lost opportunity, when there’s so much out in the world they could see and do. Which is to say that not only do I relate to your question myself, but I’ve seen variations of it play out many, many times—in dogs, sure, but are dogs really so different from us?
More...from Outside Online.
8. Navigating stress and aging:
At what point in our daily routine can we acknowledge that we are not in stress; can we confidently confirm a time that is fully devoid of stress? Whatever the answer, to know that you are in stress is not just the function of how you feel from one moment to another, it is also to recognise that our body is an assembly of vital organs and functions that continues to work and remains exposed to regular wear and tear. Which is nothing short of stress.
If we could snap out of our conventional ideas of stress, which may often have something to do with work, undesired circumstances, relationships, etc. We would realize that the blood gushing through our body is also causing some degree of stress on the walls of arteries; that the excess oxygen in our body is giving birth to free radicals (harmful stuff) that are causing stress to our cells. From the whole organism to the vital organs to the cells…our journey on earth, one could say, is about navigating stress.
While stress is a product of the relationship we share with our environment, the stress-clock keeps ticking from unpleasant experiences occurring around and within us. Every stressful situation equips or leaves us with a fight or flight response. Stress therefore is a double edged knife that has a utility in fixing one problem by cutting open another
9. Scientists Discover Species of Gut Microbes That Can Boost the Motivation To Exercise:
Researchers have discovered a gut-to-brain pathway in mice that increases exercise performance.
According to a study published in Nature, led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, certain types of gut bacteria can activate nerves in the gut to increase the drive to exercise. The study in mice identified a gut-to-brain pathway that explains how these bacteria can enhance exercise performance.
The study found that variations in running performance among a group of lab mice were mainly caused by the presence of specific gut bacterial species in the mice with better performance. The researchers identified that this effect is linked to the small molecules called metabolites that these bacteria produce. These metabolites activate sensory nerves in the gut which in turn, increase activity in a brain region that controls motivation during exercise.
“If we can confirm the presence of a similar pathway in humans, it could offer an effective way to boost people’s levels of exercise to improve public health generally,” said study senior author Christoph Thaiss, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Microbiology at Penn Medicine.
10. The Class Action World Athletics Should Fear As Storm Amelia Joins The Weather Girls To Stop It Raining Men In Women’s Sport "
Editorial – Plaudits started to roll in for Amelia Strickler the moment the British shot put ace chucked a couple of heavy balls at World Athletics governors she wished had grown a pair before making discrimination against women their “preferred option” on transgender inclusion.
Guardian reporter Sean Ingle wrote a fine analysis (complete with a signpost to the failure wrapped up in the success of a Court of Arbitration ruling) of how World Athletics boss Seb Coe and cohorts might now miss the final, let alone the podium on Fair Play.
January 2023 finds them tripping over Lord Coe’s commitment to science and fair play for women. He made it only last autumn but it already seems as though the excellent stance by World Aquatics (FINA), backed by a sea of experts and the voices of female athletes last June, is all a stride too far for track and field leaders.
Instead of making space for inclusion, athletics bosses have made invasion their preferred option with a mantra of “men, as you were; women, move over for biological males who think they know what it feels like to be a woman”.
More...from State of Swimming.
11. Move over menstrual cycle: Ovulation monitoring is the new gold standard to monitor REDs in female athletes:
* Low energy availability (LEA) arises when there is not enough energy (calories) consumed to support critical body functions as well as extra physical activity, such as training
* Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDs) is a result of longstanding LEA and is associated with a variety of negative health and performance outcomes
* Until recently, menstrual cycle patterns were considered a key indicator of energy availability in female athletes
* Menstrual cycles remain important, but ovulation is the key marker of energy availability
This SIRCuit article summarizes the relationship between LEA, REDs and ovulation, as well as answers questions about whether ovulation monitoring is right for you
Am I eating enough to be healthy and perform at my best?
Researchers know now that assessing the adequacy of energy intake in athletes is not as straightforward as crunching the numbers for calories-in (the energy we consume through the food we eat) minus calories-out (the energy we use to function, from basic processes such as breathing and blood circulation to the complex processes we use to work or exercise). Be wary of what the latest calorie tracking app is promoting as one’s daily energy budget, as the cost of all the human body processes that are involved in energy consumption and expenditure is incredibly complex (Burke et coll., 2018).
12. Stop Working Out on an Empty Stomach. You're Missing Out on Big Muscle Gains:
Working out on an empty stomach doesn't boost your metabolism, and it might negatively affect your health.
Every workout comes with a list of do's and don'ts. Don't wear open-toed shoes, do stretches before your workout, and if it's not already on your list, don't work out on an empty stomach. As you've heard before, food is fuel. Nutritional sustenance gives you the energy to perform physical activities and helps promote a healthy body and mind. While you can work out without eating beforehand, there are a few good reasons you don't want to.
While eating a large meal before a workout can cause cramping and discomfort, healthy carbs, fats and other nutrients are beneficial.
Let's explore the importance of a preworkout bite and the consequences of fasted exercise. For more nutritional advice, here are eight foods to help build muscle and four benefits of apple cider you might not know.
13. Study reveals how exercise turns back the clock in aging muscles:
* Doctors call physical exercise a “polypill,” because it can prevent and treat many of the chronic diseases that are associated with aging.
* A new study of muscle fibers from mice and humans shows how exercise affects gene expression.
* The exercise-induced changes “reprogram” the epigenetic expression of the fibers to a more youthful state.
* The findings could provide leads for the development of drugs to mimic these benefits in people who are unable to exercise.
Research shows that people who exercise regularly not only strengthen their muscles but also improve their overall health, regardless of how late in life they start.
For example, recent studies have found that exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in older people.
Conversely, reductions in muscle mass and strength are associated with lower quality of life and higher mortality from all causes.
14. When Ideology Trumps Science: A response to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport’s Review on Transwomen Athletes in the Female Category:
The recently published ‘Scientific Review’ by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport about transwomen’s participation in female sport doesn’t deserve its name; it is wholly unscientific. This publication follows a familiar pattern. The body is not important anymore when it comes to categorisation and eligibility in sport; instead, it’s all about a psychological phenomenon: gender identity. This side-lining of the body (which makes the side-lining of female athletes and the inclusion of male-born athletes possible) is now reinforced by an attack on the bio-medical sciences. Their agenda is – allegedly – the oppression of minorities. Only the socio-cultural disciplines can give us the answers we are looking for (in sport), because only they understand the coercive nature of academic disciplines and institutions which focus on material reality, rather than on social identity. The CCES Review is another attempt to replace materially based eligibility criteria in sport with ‘social identity’ as a passport to inclusion. We (a group of scientists and humanities scholars) have written an expert commentary about the CCES Review, highlighting its shortcomings in methodology, and its sometimes incoherent, sometimes misleading argumentation. We argue that the CCES strategy is a continuity with the history of the exclusion and oppression of female athletes in sexist, misogynist, patriarchal sport structures whilst, at the same time, masquerading as inclusive, anti-sexist and anti-misogynist.
More...from Nordic Sports Science Forum.
15. How Much Will a Gap in Training Hurt Your Race?
A big-data analysis of Strava training logs estimates the slowdown for marathoners who miss a week or more.
Last fall, I decided to run a cross-country season for the first time in a few years. I started hammering a weekly over-hill-and-dale interval session with friends, and partway through one of these workouts—stop me if you’ve heard this one before, fellow middle-aged people—I felt a faint pop in my right hamstring. It didn’t feel terrible, but I’m a cautious guy. After a few seconds of denial, I stopped running and headed home.
The next morning is when the hard decisions started. I could feel the tweak in my hamstring, but was still capable of running if I wanted to. My target race was just over five weeks away. How should I weigh the risk of making the hamstring worse—perhaps bad enough to end my season entirely—with the loss of fitness that would begin to accumulate if I took time off? I’ve been running long enough to know that a few days off isn’t the end of the world, but I didn’t have a precise sense of how much fitness I’d lose with each passing day, which made weighing the pros and cons difficult.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online