MORE Holiday Gift Ideas (Can You Ever Have Enough)?
Since it’s all I can think about, I thought you might be a bit obsessed with those holiday gifts you haven’t yet purchased, too. So this list of cool new gadgets from Mashable caught my eye. Most notable is the MOVBand, about the coolest-looking pedometer around (no one will ever know you’re trying to get to those 10,000 steps!).
Walking the Talk?
The UK division of Coca-Cola recently launched something called the Coca-Cola Work It Out Calculator on its website. You plug in your soft drink-of-choice, and the site displays how long you’ll have to work out to burn off the calories for a range of different activities. For instance, one can of Coke Classic requires 52 minutes of canoeing, 31 minutes of lawn-mowing or 29 minutes of moderate walking to torch the 139 calories it adds to your daily tally. Shameless marketing idea, or good educational tool? I think anything that helps people understand the “cost” of mindless eating and drinking is a good thing.
Losing for Good
A number of websites and social media networks are being created around the idea that entering into a weight loss bet with family, friends, co-workers or even complete strangers can help people reach their weight loss goals. New to the market is Dietbet.com, which takes this idea a bit further. In Dietbet.com’s version, the money raised goes to the charity of your choice. Participants are asked to bet that they can lose 4% of their total weight in 4 weeks–so for instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, you’ll have to lose 8 pounds. That’s squarely within most health experts’ recommendations to lose no more than 1-2 pounds a week to up your chances of long-term weight loss success. Successful dieters get a portion of the pot split among the “winners” in their game. You can create your own game or join one that’s existing. The inaugural game was a fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy victims.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
And then there was this article in the Wall Street Journal about the growing body of research indicating that older endurance athletes may be causing undue wear and tear on their hearts. One study found that runners who logged more than 20 to 25 miles a week (a snap for most marathoners) lost the 19% mortality advantage those who run fewer miles have over non-runners. Another showed that those who ran faster than 8 miles an hour—7:30 pace—did not see a bump in their life expectancy, while slower runners did. In the WSJ story, researchers acknowledge a lack of consensus. But it quotes Kenneth Cooper, the so-called “father of aerobics” as saying, “If you are running more than 15 miles a week, you are doing it for some reason other than health.” Interesting, somewhat scary for marathoners, and certainly data to keep a watch on. As someone who has run 10 marathons but has backed off from running in the recent years (I’m down to less than 20 miles a week), I am really conflicted about this. I love the fact that people–particularly women in their 30s and 40s, are embracing running and marathoning in what some are calling the second running boom. But I would hate to think that they’re doing their bodies a disservice, especially when running can do so much for their minds and souls. For now, don’t go rethinking your goal to run a marathon next year; just keep your eyes out for further news on this front.