Exercise and anger, muscle memory, sugary drinks

This month, I’m jumping around on topics a bit but that’s because I have three very interesting articles I want to discuss.

Exercise and anger

I’m sure most runners have experienced it. On a day you don’t run, your temper is a little shorter, maybe even a lot. I know I’ve experienced this.

Is there something behind this? Yes, research has already shown that. However, what is the connection?

The first thing to understand is that there are two different things that can be measured here, mood and emotion:

In broad strokes: moods tend to be longer-lasting, they are less strongly associated with an immediate trigger, and there’s nothing you can measure in the brain that reveals them. In contrast, emotions are shorter, are a response to a specific triggering event, and are linked with consistent and measurable patterns of brain activity.

As for what exercise does, it seems to improve your mood but not your emotion. So you might get upset when something happens whether you run or not but, if I understand this correctly, you’ll be better able to get over it and keep a positive mood overall.

Muscle memory

If you’ve been running for a while, then taken some time off before returning, you’ve most likely experienced what we often call muscle memory.

In short, it’s easier to regain fitness than it was to gain it the first time. But why?

Well, Alex Hutchinson has some answers.

In short, when you work out, you structurally change your muscle cells. They produce more nuclei and more mitochondria. When you stop exercising, the mitochondria go away but the nuclei don’t. And the nuclei contain the information on how to produce mitochondria. So your muscles can more readily produce mitochondria next time you begin exercising.

Remember, while this means that regaining fitness is easier than it was to gain fitness the first time around, it’s even better to not lose it in the first place. Keep going consistently. That said, if you do take some time off, know that the fitness will be easier to get the second time than it was the first. And now we know a little bit of why that is the case.

Sugary drinks

Finally, it seems like I’m constantly ripping on sugary drinks. Well, in my opinion, they have earned my wrath but here I go again: sugary drinks are tied to a shorter life span.

“The optimal intake of these drinks is zero,” said the lead author, Vasanti S. Malik, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “They have no health benefits.”

They make it hard to manage your weight. They have numerous negative health effects, from diabetes to heart disease and cancer. They have no health benefits. Yet they are ubiquitous in modern society. While I don’t think it’s the end of the world to have an occasional sugary drink, it’s hard to argue with the quote above that the optimal intake is zero.

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