Beet juice for well trained athletes? How much does running extend your life?

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original Blogs.

A couple interesting posts on topics we’ve discussed before. One on a new study that found a surprising result and another to quantify what we’ve known.

Beet juice

We’ve already covered beet juice and its apparent ability to help untrained athletes. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to help trained athletes (or, in the case of the second link, only untrained athletes were studied).

It looked like beet juice truly didn’t help trained athletes and there was an explanation for why that might be the case.

But what if it does? Well, maybe it does:

The performance test was a standard intermittent running test called the Yo-Yo IR1—basically a beep test involving a series of 20-meter sprints at progressively faster paces. The average distance covered in the test was 3.4 percent greater with beet juice than with placebo. Despite covering more distance, the subjects’ average heart rate was also lower (172 vs. 175 beats per minute) when they’d had the beet shots.

These were not elite athletes but amateur competitive soccer players, suggesting similar fitness levels to amateur competitive runners (most of us). Considering this, I’d consider this result promising.

That said, I’d urge at least a little caution. This is just one study. It’s a hopeful sign but hardly definitive evidence that you and I should go out and buy gallons of beet juice. Try it if you’d like, this offers at least some reason to do so, but don’t count on it working yet.

How much does running extend your life?

We all know running is good for us, right? We all know it extends our lives, right? I hope so.

But one of the arguments I’ve heard from people who don’t run is that, if you spend time doing something you don’t like to extend your life, is that really a good thing? Say you spend a year’s worth of time running over the course of your life. If that only extends your life by 1 year (or less) and you didn’t like running, was that time really worth it?

Well, what if that one year spent running extended your life by 7 years? Would that change your decision?

Of course, if you’re reading this, you probably run for reasons that go far beyond longevity and you’re probably not counting the seconds you run, worrying that they are being wasted. That said, it’s nice to know you’re getting more out than you’re putting in, likely in many more ways than one.

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