Welcome to our "Coolest Things" series. Each week, the running editors at ACTIVE.com will tell you about the coolest things happening in the running industry so you're never a step (or fartlek) behind. See last week's post here.
New Study Shows Running Boosts Brain Power
Most runners are already aware of the many physical benefits of running, but according to a new study published in the Journal of Physiology, the sport's mental benefits are just as notable.
The study, which was performed by the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, found that running (specifically long distances) produced a significant amount of new cells in the brain—much more than other popular forms of exercise.
The supporting research looked at four different groups of rats, each separated by a type of exercise and activity level: endurance running, interval training, weight training and a sedentary group.
After six to eight weeks, scientists compared the groups.
The rats running long distances had two to three times more new cells than sedentary rats—which was nothing unexpected. What was surprising, however, was that interval training showed little cell growth in the rats' brains and weight training showed none. Endurance running was the clear frontrunner in terms of new brain cell growth.
The researchers believe that if applied to humans, they would see similar results.
So the next time you struggle to get out the door for a long run, remember that running isn't just about improving your physical fitness. Your mental health will benefit, too.
Woman Attempts to "Zorb" Across the Irish Sea
Why swim across the Irish Sea when you can zorb it?
That's what Lindsey Russell, a presenter for the British children's television program "Blue Peter," tried to do this week as she took on the 20-mile journey over open water.
For those of you who don't know, zorbing involves being encased in a massive, inflatable, floating ball and running across the ground or a body of water—think hamster wheel, but for humans. Russell took on the challenge to raise money for Sport Relief, a charity event aiming to help those in need in the UK.
Russell had been training for months, but unfortunately, due to weather, she had to give up her journey at the 17-mile mark, when a support vessel picked her up.
Though disappointed, Russell was greeted by a large crowd of supporters—including many young fans of her show—as she arrived in Portpatrick, Scotland, on Thursday.What do you think was the coolest thing in running this week?
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