The Laugh­ter Cure; Pro­tein for Run­ners; Com­pres­sion Socks; Marathoner’s Knees

Canadian Running - - DEPARTMENTS - By Alex Hutchin­son

Per­haps the most dis­ap­point­ing news from the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Sports Medicine ( acsm) con­fer­ence is that watch­ing a half-hour sit­com won’t cure your post-race mus­cle sore­ness. The per­for­mance-boost­ing ben­e­fits of smil­ing have been a hot topic since Kenyan marathon star Eliud Kip­choge was spot­ted de­lib­er­ately grin­ning to him­self ev­ery few min­utes dur­ing Nike’s Break­ing2 marathon last year. A re­search team in North­ern Ire­land sub­se­quently pub­lished re­search show­ing that run­ners be­came more ef­fi­cient, burn­ing two per cent less en­ergy to sus­tain a given pace, when they were asked to smile. An­other study found that sim­ply be­ing ex­posed to brief glimpses of pic­tures of smil­ing faces en­hanced en­durance com­pared to frown­ing faces. How­ever, the power of smiles ap­par­ently has lim­its. Re­searchers at the University of Austin asked 40 vol­un­teers to watch ei­ther a half-hour sit­com or a “bor­ing doc­u­men­tary,” then put them through a pain tol­er­ance test and a tough work­out de­signed to in­duce mus­cle da­m­age and sub­se­quent sore­ness. Sadly, there was no dif­fer­ence in sore­ness be­tween the groups, and the sit­com didn’t en­hance pain tol­er­ance, ei­ther. On the plus side, it made them feel hap­pier – an out­come that shouldn’t be un­der­es­ti­mated. As former marathon world record holder Wil­son Kip­sang once put it: “Smil­ing helps so much. It’s that feel­ing when you tell your­self, ‘I’m still OK.’”

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