Think you’re too old to run the Boston Marathon? You may just be training the wrong way.
Not all marathoners are twenty-somethings, or even forty-somethings. Last year, the oldest finisher in the Boston Marathon was 84. This year, a 79-year-old, three-time cancer survivor is running the race.
What is the secret of these older athletes?
That’s the question journalist Jeff Bercovici set out to answer after he started playing competitive soccer in his thirties, and got injured. Bercovici shares what he’s learned in his new book, "Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age."
There are many factors – from diet, to medical technology and pychology. But Bercovici says the biggest thing is the underestimated importance of rest.
“Most people, what we do is we go too hard on easy days and too easy on hard days,” said Bercovici. “You sort of get out there and you run pretty hard for what feels like a pretty long time. It turns out, that’s the worst way to do it.”
That kind of exercise routine can lead to built-up fatigue, which not only hurts performance but can also lead to injuries.
Instead, Bercovici says that about 80 percent of the time, we should be going so easy we barely notice we’ve worked out. Then, 20 percent of the time, we should go for broke.
There's 'no free lunch' when it comes to coastal resiliency
Severe coastal flooding during storms in January and March of this year jolted Massachusetts residents and officials into an unwelcome awareness of just how vulnerable we are to rising sea levels. Last month, Governor Baker announced a 1.4 billion dollar bond bill to finance climate resilience efforts.
Now, UMass Boston has released an analysis that finds that’s not enough. The analysis says that near to mid-term adaptation measures for a portion of Boston, alone, will likely cost between $1 and $2.5 billion.
“At some level we have to confront the issue that we are going to have to pay for resilience,” said David Levy, director for the Sustainable Solutions Lab at UMass Boston. “It’s not free. There isn’t really a free lunch here.”
One thing that could come out of a climate resilience bond is a coastal buy-out program, which would pay homeowners to turn over their flood-prone properties. Rebecca Kihslinger, a science and policy analyst with Environmental Law Institute, says such programs are becoming more common as the costs of natural disasters rise.
Scientists get major gift to study the twilight zone
The twilight zone. It’s not just a spooky 1960s television series. It’s what scientists call the part of the ocean between about 600 and 3,000 feet below the surface. It’s deep, it’s dark and it’s relatively unstudied. But it may be home to more life than the rest of the ocean combined, and also key to the ocean’s ability to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
Now, the TED Audacious Project has selected Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) as one of its inaugural grant recipients, awarding $35 million over six years for exploration of the twilight zone. Other Audacious Project recipients focus on issues like public health, food security, and civil rights. But WHOI president Mark Abbott says twilight zone research fits the name.
“What we’re really trying to do is transform the world,” Abbott said. “We’re trying to transform our understanding of a global resource, an area that’s never been explored.”
Eventually, that new understanding could lead to public policy changes on issues like fisheries or climate change.
The fish that inhabit the twilight zone tend to be small, and they’re unlikely to show up on restaurant menus, but Abbott says they add up to ten times the weight of all other fish in the ocean. There is global interest, he says, in sucking them up to make fish oil health supplements or fish food for aquaculture.
Besides the fact that we don’t know how much could be harvested sustainably from the twilight zone, reducing the number of fish in that region could have climate repercussions. Abbott says the Audacious Project grant will enable his institution to connect with colleagues and stakeholders around the globe to attempt to understand the twilight zone before we exploit it.