Fascinating facts to motivate Wings for Life World Run athletes on May 3.

Fascinating facts to motivate Wings for Life World Run athletes on May 3.

NASA and ESA scientists have studied space's impact on astronauts and learned some surprising benefits of running to prime participants ahead of the Wings for Life World Run on May 3.

Global Wings for Life World Runners, walkers and rollers have run to the moon and back eight-plus times since 2014 so who better to ask than NASA and ESA scientists about how space's impact on astronauts can lead to finding running benefits for Earth dwellers.

Former European Space Agency physiologist Dr. Rebecca Forth said: "We all know running releases happy hormones, improves sleep, reduces anxiety, boosts strength, metabolism and general fitness. But by studying astronauts in space, scientists found some exciting benefits of running that most people wouldn't even think about. Space flight shows a sped up version of ageing. Scientists see how living in micro gravity affects the fit, healthy bodies of astronauts. They lose muscle tissue, bone density and balance – and it gets worse the longer they're in space so we've learned how to stay healthier on Earth. Losing muscle mass and bone density is a characteristic of ageing, but running increases both and stimulates positive body changes so running helps us run away from age."

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Rebecca's twin and former NASA fellow Dr. Katharine Forth added: "Just as micro gravity affects astronauts, our bodies age the more we sit and do too little."

Both are international Ultimate Frisbee athletes and Katharine explained balance: "The body is incredibly good at adapting, mainly thanks to the feet. They send sensory information to tell the rest of the body what we're standing on and how slippery or stable it is. Feet help us adapt to our environment and react effectively."

Fascinating facts to motivate Wings for Life World Run athletes on May 3

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In terms of running to keep the brain strong, Katharine revealed: "What people aren't talking about is sensory motor control. With every step we run, our body and brain get more data to process. At a walk, there's so much time to process the environment, so reactions can slow. At a run, that window is much smaller, forcing reactions to be faster – the quicker we are, the better our sensory motor control and the stronger the brain."

Katharine's favourite way to run is backwards up a hill because it pushes her body to think differently and exercises muscles regular running just can't reach.

She clarified: "We sit, stand, walk and run, but all these things are in a single plane of motion. We need to move outside that plane – think lunging and dancing – to tune the body and force it to adapt effectively."

Fascinating facts to motivate Wings for Life World Run athletes on May 3

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About the Wings for Life World Run

The Wings for Life World Run is held each year across the globe in Flagship locations and via the App. All participants start at the same time, worldwide. It doesn't matter whether they are professional athletes, fun runners or total beginners. There is no finish line. Instead, 30 minutes after the start, a Catcher Car begins pursuit, passing the runners and rollers one after the other. Results aren't measured in time, but in distance achieved. Best of all: 100% of entry fees and donations goes directly to spinal cord research and will help to find a cure for spinal cord injury. In six completed editions since 2014, the Wings for Life World Run has attracted more than 620,000 people from 193 nationalities to participate in more than 70 countries across all seven continents.

Fascinating facts to motivate Wings for Life World Run athletes on May 3

RUN WHEREVER YOU ARE

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The Wings for Life World Run App

The Wings for Life World Run App allows everyone to join the Run, together with others or on their own. No matter where they are, a virtual Catcher Car makes it easy and fun. 

www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com      #wingsforlife     #worldrun

https://www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com/en/locations/app

RUN WHEREVER YOU ARE

 

With the App, you can run alone anywhere you are. You’ll still participating simultaneously with participants all over the world. And the virtual Catcher Car will find you! Once you’re caught, your race is over. Then it’s time to celebrate, and you’ll see your name on the Global Result List. If you’re an ambitious runner, you can even become Global Champion using the app. But no matter what distance you cover, you’ll be helping to find a cure for spinal cord injury.