President Obama and Vice President Biden Promote Running and Hydration

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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6 Responses to President Obama and Vice President Biden Promote Running and Hydration

  1. Peter Smith says:

    I think it is marvellous that the leaders of the nation promote fitness but disastrous that they set their sights so low. The sight of Biden and Obama in a leisurely jog around the White House in suits was laughable.

    In 1963 JFK popularized the 50 mile hike in 20 hours, a significant challenge(see also the Kennedy March). Robert Kennedy completed the hike. This electrified the world and, in another country, I bunked out of my boarding school to do the same. Later, during my military training, my entire regiment did the same.

    This is the effect of visionary leadership by example that challenges people to do the extraordinary. Obama is a pale and ineffective shadow pandering to a soft and obese nation.

    • Peter Smith says:

      By the way, the emphasis on hydration is misplaced. Most runners become over-hydrated and this results in hyponatremia. See Hyponatremia.
      Exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH), however, is common at marathons and other endurance events.[4] 13% of the athletes who finished the 2002 Boston Marathon were in a hyponatremic state, i.e. their salt levels in their blood had fallen below an acceptable level.

      This has led to many deaths in ultra-endurance events, such as our own Comrades ultramarathon.

      See Marathoners Warned About Too Much Water
      Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, the medical director for the New York City Marathon …, said he was taking every opportunity this year to educate runners about the biggest threat to their lives on race day – drinking too much water.

      • Peter Smith says:

        It is worth explaining why under-hydration is preferable to over-hydration during endurance sports. With under-hydration the symptoms are dramatic and readily recognised, thus almost never leads to death. You would have to be the most determined fanatic to do as I did, run for five hours without drinking, and still that did not kill me.

        With over-hydration(hyponatremia) the symptoms are insidious and not easily recognised. They are usually confused with the symptoms of fatigue. The surface of the brain swells, the runner become disoriented and confused, his judgment is disturbed. They quite literally run to their death without knowing they are doing it.

        It used to be advised that one should drink frequently during a race and at all costs avoid dehydration. Now the advice is to run until you are thirsty and then hydrate. We evolved to cope well with moderate dehydration.

        See Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports
        The author, Dr Tim Noakes, is a renowned sports scientist with extensive ultramarathon experience.

  2. David Yates says:

    I have to say, I find this video not only silly beyond belief but positively insulting; it’s both ridiculously contrived and horribly condescending. (But aside from that, I’m sure this is a regular routine for these two, and that they both engage in a vigorous jog like this in their shirts, ties, and dress shoes all the time. Puh-leese!) And besides that, how can anybody take this president seriously anymore? Obama can’t attend a security meeting concerning the crisis in Ukraine, but has time to take part in this video to promote his wife’s constant and meddlesome efforts to get everybody else to exercise?!? Also, to appear on what was (ostensibly) a comedic web show, a mock interview called “Between the Ferns” w/ Zach Galifianakis?!? I’d say this guy is a joke as a president except there’s nothing funny about it.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Uptight that Obama is not uptight–that he is loose and lapping conservatives around the track?

      You may not like it, but Obama beat conservatives in two election cycles and gets to have the ball all the way to January 2017. Then he’ll pass it to Hillary (or some other female Democrat for another eight years of Democratic control of the presidency). Feel free to hate on Obama, but he is winning; the demographics of the country are breaking his way.

      Republicans have to figure out what to do.

    • Peter Smith says:

      to promote his wife’s constant and meddlesome efforts to get everybody else to exercise

      I can only support that. The most important single health intervention, by far, is to encourage regular, intensive exercise. The research data is abundantly clear on this. As I said above, my criticism is that he is promoting the myth that a little exercise goes a long way. On the other hand I must recognise the fact he is promoting some exercise and that those who begin mild exercise often move up to strenuous exercise.

      It seem to me to be part of the American psyche to look for the easy solution to everything and so we have two minute and five minute exercise programs. This desire for quick, easy or instant solutions is what is so harmful, in all spheres of life. Real achievements require persistence, dedication and hard work in the face of setbacks. It is called resilience and endurance training is a form of resilience training whose payback is not just improved health but better psychological and social health.

      I think that Obama should resurrect JFK’s 50 mile march programme.

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