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Fitness (26 posts)
Last place is where high school junior runner Meghan Vogel found herself on Saturday, at the Division III girls state meet in Columbus, Ohio. She'd just won 1,600 meter race and was worn out, and found herself lagging behind in her next run, the 3,200. Then with about 20 meters to go, the girl in front of her collapsed. According to ESPN, Meghan helped the girl, a sophomore named Arden McMath, to her feet, and carried her across the finish line. Oh, and she made sure Arden got across the finish line before her.
Just like anyone would, right? Um, I doubt it, though Meghan seems to think so: "Any girl on the track would have done the same for me," she told ESPN. "I think fate may have put me (in last place) for a reason." She's attracted international attention for her action, to which she says, "I just did what I knew was right and what I was supposed to do." Well, apparently someone was raised right. (You must check out the ESPN article for a photo of the girls running the race -- I feel like I want to make an inspirational poster of it to look at when exercising should I ever do such a thing. Those pained yet utterly determined expressions!)
This wise teenager seems to have found some meaning in the overwhelming media response to her action: we love good news, yes, but also, we need this idea that you find yourself where you are for a reason. Even if where you find yourself seems to be last place. Because it's only last place if you let it be.
A High School Basketball Champ's Inspiration
9 Stories of Every Day Kindness
"A goal is arguably just a random something that is sufficiently far away. A caprice. But somehow, if taken seriously, if treated as fate, a goal can make an odyssey out of what would otherwise just be the small hours of life. One sets out to fulfill the prophecy no prophet ever professed, and the drama of how to get there from here makes meaning out of what might otherwise be just meanderings."
--From an ELLE magazine profile of one of our heroes, Diana Nyad, who will make another attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida this summer.
Have you heard about the most epic film of the summer? No, it isn't Snow White and the Huntsman or Prometheus. It's ... Slinky on a Treadmill. Early reviews have called it "dramatic," "affecting" and "weirdly suspenseful:)". While we're not giving up our multiplex tickets, we did take something else away from this charming little video, with its low-fi technique and orchestral soundtrack: workout motivation. Watch how the Slinky puts one coil in front of the other, over and over again, in the rhythm of determination. Note its single-minded pursuit of a goal. Pay attention to how the Slinky trips, stumbles and then regains its balance and poise, falling right back into step. The next time we find ourselves slowing to a demoralized slog mid-workout, we're going to cue up this mental video and push ourselves to...slink up the pace.
More motivation to work out:
Think of it as play!
Scrap the excuses, with Bob Greene's help
Try one of these addictively fun workouts
Inventing a dance club, actually, is more accurate. Once a month or so, office workers show up for Lunch Beat and cut loose. For an hour. Lunch Beat Stockholm's organizer, Daniel Odelstad, told USA Today, "People are sober, it's in the middle of the day and it is very short, effective and intensive. You just have to get in there and dance, because the hour ends pretty quickly." He added that the first rule of Lunch Beat is...you don't talk about Lunch Beat. Just kidding! It's "that you have to dance." Participants report that after dancing their hearts out they return to work sweaty but much more relaxed.
Pretty great, right? In case you happen to not be in Stockholm, you can gain the same relaxing benefits by checking out a Zoomba class at a nearby gym over your next lunch break, or recruiting some coworkers to bust a move in an empty conference room. It will be really fun when your boss walks in. Promise.
How to Take a Minute at Work
16 Ways to Destress the Workday
Over at Grantland, Anna Clark has compiled the best films featuring women in sports from the 1930s to the present, revealing how our cinema reflects the status of women's sports today, which is "at once prominent and on shaky ground." Clark provides a good guide for your next trip to your Netflix queue, and a thoughtful take on female athletics, both the athletes themselves (accomplished and talented) and their fanbase (sometimes reluctant-to-nonexistent). I know, it's a little sad. Wait, are you crying? There's no crying in baseball! ("A League of Their Own?" Eh? Anyone?)
Talking to Tennis Legend Billie Jean King
The Rise and Fall of Marion Jones
It might just be that I'm not spending enough time strumming that out-of-tune guitar that's busy bullying the broom in my utility closet. According to this excellent infographic on luminosity.com, playing a musical instrument at least one time a week is one (very pleasant) thing I could do to improve my brain. The infographic lays out, in an appealingly comic-booky way, five easy things to do every day to get better: First, exercise a bit, but not too much. Then read. Then have a drink, but not too much. Play some music, and then sleep a good amount, but you guessed it, not too much. That sounds doable, doesn't it?
There are the tips we've all heard before, like sleeping and exercising, but luminosity's post specifies the amount of time that should be devoted to these things in a specific, and illuminating, way. For example, the evidence shows that exercising 2-3 times a week boosts brain performance, but that the benefit falls off after 7 workouts. Is that the best thing you've ever heard or what? 2 workouts a week I can do. If I remember to. And the good news doesn't stop there -- check out the full infographic for the details on why you should kick back with a glass of wine and a fat novel.
The Better-Brain Diet
11 Brain-Boosting Activities
What's the single best thing you can do for your health? Eat more greens? Take a multi-vitamin? Donate liberal amounts of money to my personal bank account? According to Dr. Mike Evan, a professor at the University of Toronto, the answer is quite simple, and it only takes a half an hour a day. Even better, his message comes in a cute and comprehensive animation. Observe:
Ah, my favorite kind of exercise advice. I happen to love long walks! If only he would also suggest the consuming of at least three baked goods a day, I could be the healthiest woman in the world.
Ways to Get Moving:
Motivation from the Male Baboon
The Right Exercise for Your Age
5 Do-Anywhere Muscle Builders
Learn more about Beat 2012 and watch the trailer here. (And come August, check out the athletes performing the song at the Olympics!)
The Spiritual Side of Extreme Sports
Top Moments from the 2010 Olympics
Husband: "Sports-related thing!"
Husband (with feeling): "SPORTS-RELATED THING!"
Wife: "Yes, you're absolutely right. "
Husband: "No...Sports! Related! Thing!?!"
Lately though, he's been telling me about a story that really captured my imagination -- along with the rest of the world's. Jeremy Lin, as every sports fan knows (and every spouse of a sports fan has a vague awareness of), has in the past few weeks gone from being an unknown bench player who was sleeping on his brother's couch to being the subject of ecstatic, punning headlines on every sports page everywhere. (LINSANITY!) When several of the Knicks' main players had to sit out with injuries, recent Harvard grad Lin was called up to play. What resulted was a five-game (so far) winning streak, ecstatic fan freak-outs, an increased interest in the usually uninspiring New York Knicks, and a flurry of editorials on how Lin's emergence will change the world of race in sports.
I love what Jay Caspian Kang wrote for Grantland: "Then there's this very sappy reason for why Linsanity has taken off in New York: Basketball is at its best when five guys who love to play with one another outhustle and outplay a more talented opponent...The Linsanity Knicks run hard, play unselfishly, chest-bump, and play with a swagger that has nothing to do with the other team." In other words, here are people working hard, playing together, and having fun. Isn't that what sports should be all about? Or, for that matter, life? (Read Kang's whole piece for a cogent analysis of what makes this player great.)
What really inspires about the Lin story—uh, Linspires?—is the idea that someone's prodigious talents can be quietly overlooked for years, and that if he keeps working hard and doing what he loves, something good will come of it. He might just even school a group of sweaty millionaires in the true meaning of teamwork.
A Tiny Moment of Awe: The Women's World Cup
The Spirit of Olympics and Your Own Path to Victory
11 ways to save your planet
The blood donor
The new women of Rwanda