Edited by Laura Roberson
ON OUR RADAR Peel for Power Bananas pump up more than your potassium. Appalachian State University scientists found that cyclists who ate the fruit experienced the same nergizing boost in blood glucose as cyclists who drank liquid carbohydrates.
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THE FALL GUY
Slow start? Just press “play.” Listening to music for
the first mile of a 5-K can help you finish faster,
a study from Brazil reveals. When racers slipped their
earbuds in early, they shaved seconds off their times, but cranking music during the final leg had no impact.
If you tune in before you feel tired, it’s easier to shift your focus from the burn to the beat, which can moti-
vate you, says study author Adriano Lima-Silva, Ph.D.
If you want to rule the
court, you’ll need balance. In fact, research
from Croatia suggests
that balance may be
more critical to sports
speed or strength is.
In agility drills, male
athletes with the best
balance scored higher
than both the fastest
and the strongest men.
Why? Knees and ankles
are naturally inflexible,
so quick changes of
direction will challenge
your stability. That
makes balance crucial,
says researcher Damir
Sekulic, Ph.D. To improve
yours, stand on a Bosu
ball, eyes closed, and
slowly raise one leg.
Hold 20 seconds, then
switch legs and repeat.
PERCEN TAGE THAT
MOS T CLOSELY
MIMICS HIKING ON
A LEVEL TRAIL
Source: The Journal of
Before You Bare Your Soles
Running barefoot or in minimalist shoes
is still gaining converts—but you should
tread cautiously. “Since most of us wear
shoes all the time, the muscles in our feet
are essentially dormant,” says Carey
Rothschild, P. T., C. S. C.S., a physical therapist
and instructor at the University of Central
Florida, who recently wrote a paper about
barefoot running. That means you need to
gradually make the switch to unshod
exercise. Ease the transition with these
basic drills and strengthening moves.
Photograph by TRAVIS RATHBONE, prop styling: Laurie Raab/Apostrophe, (iPod); iStockphoto.com (running shoes)
1 Walk barefoot indoors and out
2 Run barefoot indoors and on grass
Benefit “This type of activity helps the
sensory receptors in your feet gradually
adapt to the increased stimulation of being
barefoot,” says Rothschild.
1 Single-leg hops
2 Squat jumps
3 Depth jumps
Benefit If you strengthen your leg muscles,
you’ll be more equipped to handle the impact
of landing, reducing your risk of injury.
1 Land on your forefoot, not your heel
2 Pick up your pace
3 Shorten your stride
Benefit The “quicker, shorter skipping” of
minimalist running will feel more natural as
you learn to focus on form, Rothschild says.
1 Towel curls
2 Pick up marbles with your toes
3 Bring the ball of your foot toward
your heel without flexing your toes
Benefit Stronger feet help maintain your
arch height and prevent excessive pronation.
1 Calf stretches on the edge of a step
Benefit You’ll loosen up your lower body—
especially your ankles. “The barefoot
running technique requires increased calf
muscle activity and range of motion in your
ankle,” says Rothschild.
1 Stand on a wobble board or Bosu
ball (see “Don't Be the Fall Guy”)
Benefit Balance exercises improve your
neuromuscular control. This helps prevent
injury when you aren’t wearing cushioned
shoes to absorb the shock of impact.
The beverages designed
to enhance your cardio
workout could actually
be compromising it.
Downing sports drinks
may raise your risk of
asthma, a new study
from Australia reports.
People who drank about
2 cups a day of sugary
sports drinks, were
more likely to have the
breath-snatching condition than those who
drank none. The sugars
and preservatives may
inflame your lungs, setting you up for asthma,
says study author Zumin
Shi, Ph.D. Drink water
instead—from a bottle
that contains no phthal-ates, which may also be
linked to asthma.