Ever wondered how the treadmill came to be? Who was the person that thought walking or running was great—but would be even better if you could do it without actually going anywhere? It was a prison warden, that’s who.
According to a fascinating new TED talk, the treadmill got its name from a device designed in the 1800’s that forced English prisoners to walk on the 24 spokes of a large paddlewheel, turning it to crush grain, pump water, or power a mill—making them literally tread on a mill. But in reality, it may have been closer to the first stair climber. The inmates had to spend up to six hours a day on the ingenious device, climbing the equivalent of 5,000 to 14,000 feet. They had to keep stepping or they’d fall off and risk being crushed or punished by guards. (We do not recommend this method to motivate yourself to exercise!)
But the treadmills/stair climbers were such effective agricultural tools that they were credited with helping turn the British economy around. Within a decade, not only were there 50 such devices in England, but
The Nike app on my phone, which I use to track my runs, asks me to rate each one when I’m finished on a scale of “I felt unstoppable!” (smiley face!) to “I got injured” (sad face). Scrolling through my history, I can see the ups and downs in distance, time, pace, and ratings over the past year, and how they relate to each other (or don’t relate, as is mostly the case). In preparation for an upcoming half marathon, I recently looked back at all my long training runs and wasn’t surprised to find that fast-for-me paces didn’t necessarily correlate with smiles, nor did slow ones correlate with frowns.
The thing is, I know I’m not a fast runner…and that’s okay with me. Even though I love road races—the cheering spectators, the camaraderie with other participants, the thrill of crossing a finish line—my happiness post-race has little to do with whether or not I’ve earned a PR. That’s because I don’t run to win, even when winning means just beating myself. (If I did, I’d have given up by now.) I do it to
Throughout high school, I was tasked with having to take a mile test—at the beginning and end of each year. The goal was to ramp up your running speed. And guess what? I cheated. While I’m not proud that I lied to my gym teacher Mr. Facet—I said I was on my last lap when it was really my second—there was no way in hell he was going to get me to run it. My strong hatred for running continued through college until I gained so much weight eating crap, I had to do something about it. A dear friend who was sensitive to my struggle casually suggested I do a little cardio to burn calories. You mean run?! Ugh. I hated the idea of pounding the pavement, but I hated how I felt in my unhealthy body even more.
So I sucked it up, picked up a pair of New Balance sneakers from Marshalls, stuffed my Double Ds (that used to be Cs) into two sports bras, stepped out my front door, and ran around the block. And those 10 minutes were so brutal.
Whoever you are, if you have gotten a tattoo in the past, there’s a good chance that you will also eventually begin investigating the removal of tattoos. There are many Americans suffering some form of “tattoo regret” and, if you decide that you’d like to move on without your ink, know that you aren’t alone by any means.
While there are different ways to remove tattoos, laser removal is far and away the most popular method at this point in time. This is because, unlike older methods it doesn’t require traumatic, invasive procedures to cut or scrape the ink out of the skin. As a result, it causes a great deal less scarring to the area.
There are also creams that claim to be able to remove tattoos. These are obviously inexpensive and painless, but it’s not clear that they actually do anything. In which case, they really aren’t much of a bargain.
Running doesn’t get old, but we do! Maintain your stride length and pick up speed by incorporating more leg workouts, namely calf exercises, into your routine
Aging comes with some unpleasant updates to the body (there should be an actual panic button for finding your first gray hair). One of the hardest on your ego? Not hitting that same PR you set in your 30s despite still being an avid runner. In fact, a new study in Medicine and Science In Sports and Exercise found, not surprisingly, that runners significantly slowed down with age. But the finishing times had nothing to do with how fit the older folks were; the older runners actually took the same number of strides as their younger counter parts (about 165 per minute). What changed—and caused their slower time—was the length of their step.
The study authors aren’t definitively sure why our stride length shortens as we age, but all of the correlations between speed, stride, and muscle mass pointed them to the muscle strength of the calves specifically. In the experimental group of runners, stride length—and therefore running speed—decreased by about 20 percent between the ages of 20 and 59, while ankle power dropped by
There’s a reason we love reaching that runner’s high: The euphoria you get while pounding the pavement is not only real, it’s as good as the high you get from a drug, according to two new studies.
This is thanks to two main kinds of opioid receptors. The first is mu-opioid reward receptors (MORs), which is responsible for releasing the pleasure-inducing chemical dopamine in both rodents and humans. Researchers at the University of Missouri Columbia looked at the reward center in the brains of two kinds of ratsone that was bred to be lazy and one that was bred to crave that running wheel like you crave your Saturday morning spin class. The active group actually had four times as many MORs in their brains and, after comparing the brain activation of both groups of rats, the researchers found that a great cardio session stimulated MORs the same way super addictive drugs like cocaine do.(Learn about Your Brain On: Long Runs.)
Just like the rats, some humans have more MORs than others, which explains why some of us are more prone to love a good sweat session (or why some struggle with drug addiction)—our brains are wired to crave the stimulation more,