It’s official: The new smoking are the twin evils of soda and…sitting. Both are serious health hazards. Drinking soda has been demonized in the past few years as leading to obesity, diabetes and all sorts of other diseases. I don’t drink soda, but like everybody who has a desk job, I sure sit around a lot which can lead to the same crap.
Sitting? I mean, sitting can kill me and you. Most of us do it for long, long periods every day, staring at our computers–and it’s deadly stuff. Chew on this. An Australian study found that adults who spend 11 hours or more a day sitting are 40 percent more likely to die over the next three years – and it doesn’t really matter how fit you are. Even running doesn’t seem to fully counter the hazards of sitting on our asses.
You don’t sit 11 hours a day? OK, but are you trapped in a cube and sitting for eight hours? If you do and you’re 45 years or older, your risk of dying within the next three years is still 15 percent higher than those who sit four hours or less a day.
What actually happens when you sit so long is the electrical activity in your muscles drop dramatically. This sets off a chain reaction of all sorts of bad stuff: your calorie burning rate drops to next to nothing and the risks of Type 2 diabetes and obesity rises.
Even sitting for as little as six hours a day is brutal. Statistically, men who sit six hours a day have a 20 percent higher death rate than men who sit only three hours a day. It’s even worse for women. Their death rate is 40 percent higher.
Scary stuff. Now certainly many of those who sit for such prolonged periods are already morbidly obese and their mortality risks are double those of comparable sitters who are fit and active.
The one advantage we have as sitting runners is we tend to move around quite a bit. Even at work, we tend to fidget and get up periodically. That’s a good thing. And in our free time, we run, we walk, we cycle, stretch, swim – just move. But plenty of people don’t move at all, choosing to spend their time away from their computers in front of their TVs or home computers.
Says Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York: “Yes, you have to work but when you go home, it’s so important you don’t go back to sitting in front of the computer or television. After sitting for eight hours, the risks go up exponentially. It’s really about what you’re doing in your leisure time and making the decision to move.”
Movement is the key. Simply getting up and getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom might seem trivial, but it at least breaks up the sedentary cycle.
I’m not normally too sedentary, but some days I don’t move a muscle (other than my brains and fingers) for long stretches. Last week after an exceptionally long day of driving through the Deep South (don’t ask), I could barely move when I got out of the car and my lower back screamed so loudly, that instead of doing a run, I spent the night on a block of ice and loaded up on Aleve.
No biggie, but I have learned the hard way the importance of getting up and moving around every 45-60 minutes. But it isn’t always easy to interrupt the work flow to get up and take a walk.
It might not be easy, but it’s necessary. I’m getting up right now, even before I finish this.
O At the Medtronic TC 10-Miler (the USA Men’s Championships), former Cedar Park HS (and Oregon) star Parker Stinson finished 11th in 47:52. In the same race, former UT All American Craig Lutz made his professional debut but it didn’t go well as he finished 42nd in 52:57. Lutz, who now lives and trains in Flagstaff, had trouble adjusting to the early fast pace after coming down from altitude and basically shut it down. Next up for Stinson is the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on October 31st when he will try and nail down an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier.
O Meanwhile, former Austinite Matthew Maton (who was advised by Stinson in his senior year of high school when he ran a sub-4 minute mile) made his collegiate debut for the University of Oregon last weekend. Maton, one of the most decorated high school runners in the country, finished eighth (second Oregon runner) in the Washington Invitational in 23:27 (8-K). His older sister Ashley (Stinson’s girlfriend and hair stylist) was 36th in the same meet in 20:31 (6-K) for Oregon.
O Two of Austin’s greatest runnersm- Cassie Henkiel and Carmen Troncoso – dominated their age groups at the USATF Masters 5-K Championships in Syracuse. Cassie, 45, was fourth overall among the women’s masters in 18:14 and won her age group by 13 seconds. The ageless Carmen, now 56, ran 19:15 to win her age group by a by more than 2 Â½ minutes.
O Dozens of Austin runners made the annual pilgrimage in search of fast times to Utah last weekend for the St. George Marathon. Race conditions were plenty warm, reaching 92 degrees later in the day. Leading the way, was Colin Bell who finished 28th overall in 2:43:58. He was followed by fellow Austinites Jeff Higginbotham in 2:59:43, Nick Schultz in 3:02:33, Ross Brown in 3:04:14, Frank Livaudais (Mr. Marathon) in 3:05:11 and Bill Koen in 3:07:50, a 20-minute PR. Estonia’s gift to Austin – Ivi Kerrigan – ran 3:13:33 to win the ‘big girl’ division (over a certain amount of weight) to take home some prize money. James Hill of Buda, 75, won his age division in 3:48:02, while Bill Jakobeit of Austin won the very, very old guys (80-84) age group in 5:50.
O The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is on top this weekend (I’m missing it, sob) and hordes of Austin runners are headed that way. The weather looks good with temps in the low 60s on race morning. Making her marathon debut is Allison Mendez. The former UT runner has already qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials (via her half marathon time) as has her Rogue teammate Scott MacPherson who is also running Chicago. ScottyMac reports that he’s fit, ready to roll and hoping to bounce back from a disappointing Boston (2:20:55). Liza Galvan Hunter of San Antonio, who had a great Boston, winning the masters division, is also running Chicago but will face stiff competition from Deena Kastor.
O Lindsay Marsh took a bad fall last Saturday on her long run (a really bad fall) and broke both her ankles. After surgery, she’s back home but is wheelchair bound for the next couple of months.
O This is a little late (I’ve been on the road a lot), but big congrats to Desiree Ficker and her husband Matthew Berry on the birth of their son Brandt “Bear” Annesley Berry. He joins sister Beau in their busy household.
O Also belated congrats to Stephanie Terrell Guth and her husband Dave Guth on the birth of their daughter Maisie Laine Guth.
O More congrats to road runner (Capital Grille barkeep) Joe McCelleon on his engagement this week to Kayla McWhirter.
O On a less happy note, we extend our heart felt sympathy to our friend Dick Beardsley on the tragic loss of his son, Andrew Jon Beardsley of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota on Sunday. Funeral services are Saturday in Minnesota and Andrew will be buried next to his grandfather in South Dakota on Monday. Andy was just 31 and had served in Iraq.
O Also sad to report the death last month of one of the pioneers of women’s marathoning – Miki Gorman – at the age of 80 after a five-year fight with cancer. Gorman won the New York City (1976-77) and Boston (1977) marathons, the final Boston of her two Boston victories coming when she was 42. Her PR of 2:39:11 at the ’76 NYC Marathon was less than a minute slower than her teammate (and lifetime friend) Jacqueline Hansen’s world best of 2:38:19. If not for colliding with a dog on the course she might have bettered Hansen’s time. Gorman has been inducted into just about eery running Hall of Fame, including the Road Runners Club, New York Road Runners and National Distance.
O Finally, Mark Hurst, the long-time track and football coach at Westlake HS, died on Sunday after a long battle with cancer. Hurst, who was 59 at the time of his death, taught art for 36 years and led the Chaps to 15 district track titles. The Westlake HS track is named for him. Funeral services will be Monday at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church at 1 p.m.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Where We All Belong” by the Marshall Tucker Band, including the great live version of â€œ24 Hours At a Timeâ€ with Charlie Daniels on fiddle. The Caldwell Brothers are no longer with us, but the Tucker Band is still on the road and will be playing tonight at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels. They’ll also be in Austin next month, but it’s a private gig.
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