Monday, July 30, 2018

Enjoy The Rest of Your Summer!

On June 15, I wrote a post about taking the summer off from blogging to do some work on my new house before my upcoming wedding. Last week I made a few posts about some items that I felt were important to share and was told by a friend that it's good to see that I'm blogging again. Well, I'm diving back into working on my new house (interior painting and some other items) and will be away from this blog for the next couple of months. Enjoy the rest of your summer!



Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Friday, July 27, 2018

Running from Kenai, Alaska to Key West, Florida -- All Alone!

On October 24, 2016, I wrote a blog post about Pete Kostelnick setting a new world record for a crew-supported run across America (averaging 73 miles per day), surpassing a record that had stood for 36 years! Well, he has rested up and is about to embark on his next big running adventure. On August 1, 2018, Pete is going to begin a 5,300-mile run from Kenai, Alaska to Key West, Florida... aiming to average about 50 miles per day SOLO!

Pete is going to push a jogging stroller of gear, as I did when I ran across America in 2006, and will not have a crew this time to support him. He's quoted as saying, “In 1999, my family and I drove most of this route from Kenai to Iowa. I’ve wanted to go back since, this time to run another transcontinental route, this time in a self-supported manner. I came up with this idea about a year ago. I’ve done a lot of research to see if it’s feasible. I won’t really know until I start, but I am confident it is.” The run should take just slightly more than 100 days.

I grew up in Alaska and did a 500-mile solo run in Alaska back in 2009. I know the geography of Alaska and the Yukon/British Columbia territories of Canada very well and this is a massive undertaking that Pete is about to embark on. A few years ago, a guy in Florida planned to run from that state to Juneau, Alaska -- but the adventure never got to the starting line. If Pete can pull off this run, it will be a first!

You can learn more about Pete at his website, and you can track his progress on social media at his Facebook page and his Instagram page -- and you definitely don't want to miss Pete's live tracking map! Good luck, Pete!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Death of Paul Staso -- Fact or Fiction?

As bizarre as it may seem, there appear to be some people who are under the impression that I'm dead. The topic of my supposed death first arose in 2013 when an ultra-endurance runner I know was told that Paul Staso died while on one of his running adventures. Of course, I was quite alive and the runner put that man's mind at ease... and then he chuckled when telling me the story about it. The topic of my demise arose again in 2016 when a teacher sent a message through my website sending her condolences to my family regarding my death -- which she was told about by a former student who read online that a "Paul Staso" had died. Wrong again! There are actually around six different people with the name of Paul Staso. Well, today the subject of my running off into the great beyond has once again surfaced.

I have an old online guestbook from past running adventures that hasn't seen any activity in years. Today, I was alerted to an entry needing my review and approval to officially post it. This is what I read:


Someone apparently "heard" that I died somewhere. I'd like to know how this person heard that. I have no way of contacting the writer, but once again am surprised that there are those who believe that I'm no longer a part of the 7.6 billion people on planet earth. I've said it and written it before, and I'll say it and write it again: I AM NOT DEAD!

For goodness sake, just Google "Paul Staso" and you'll see on the first page of results that I have an active blog and work in a law firm. Come on, is it really that difficult to conclude that I am still alive? No, I didn't die on one of my running adventures. I haven't been hit by a bus, been eaten by a shark, or had a piano fall on my head. I'm alive and well... recently purchasing a new home and looking forward to my upcoming wedding. So, once again, if you or someone you know has "heard" that Paul Staso (the former adventure runner) is dead, do some quick Google research and find out the truth yourself! Now, I'm putting the topic to rest... in peace.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Swede Björn Suneson, Age 70, Completes 6th Run Across America

In my last blog post back on June 15, 2018, I shared that I'm taking the summer off from blogging in order to spend my spare time doing some interior painting and other projects on a new home I purchased -- particularly since I'll be getting married soon. However, today I just had to share the news that yesterday Björn Suneson of Sweden completed his sixth solo run across the United States, and yes... he's considering a 7th crossing.

Björn and I exchanged messages today and he said that seeing me while he was running through Indiana was one of the highlights of his journey. Those are very kind words! You may recall that on May 16, 2018, I wrote about meeting Björn along the road after I had gotten off from working at the office. I also wrote a couple of other follow-up blog posts... one regarding his comparing my laugh to that of John Denver, and another about Björn drinking Coke.

When I saw Björn on his 30th day of running during this year's coast-to-coast adventure, he was quite surprised. This is what he wrote in his blog about it: "I’m running on a road with little traffic between Peru and Logansport in Indiana. I see a man get out of his car holding a camera. Is it the local press that is out on a job? I think. But suddenly I recognize the person who says: 'Hi Björn, nice to see you!' Oh My God, it is Paul Staso, the old coast to coast runner! Paul as well as our own Rune Larsson is the person who has inspired me the most when it comes to running across the USA. I met Paul in 2010 when he lived in Missoula, Montana. It was 2006 and he was running across the USA. I took in all that he wrote in his blog and was fascinated by his video clips." Back in 2006 when I was contacted by a long-distance runner in Sweden I had no idea that 12 years later I would watch online as he completed his sixth crossing from one ocean to another!

It's time for Björn to fly back to Sweden after running 3,300 miles in 100 consecutive days from Boston, Massachusetts to Newport, Oregon. His first coast-to-coast run across the USA occurred in 2007, the year following my crossing. Björn had tracked my progress via my website and told me in late 2006 that he would be attempting a solo crossing of America in 2007. Well, it is many years later and this tough Swedish endurance runner has now logged six solo crossings of the United States -- a world record. Absolutely amazing! Well run and well done Björn. Safe travels back to your homeland. I look forward to your next running adventure!



Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Friday, June 15, 2018

Taking a Summer Break From Blogging to Work on My New Home

On May 3rd I wrote a blog post titled "I Have Arrived... Finally." In that writing I shared that I have purchased a new home, one that will be filled with love and laughter. As my wedding day approaches, I want to do some interior painting and other projects prior to the wedding. I work a full-time job at a law firm and over the next few months I won't have time to do as much reading outside of the office or writing in this blog. With that said, I'm going to be taking a break from posting writings here. It was two years ago that I started writing this blog, and in that time I've made 281 posts. You can use the blog's archive to read through any of those writings. Have a great summer!



Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Social Media and Adventure -- Crowds, Posers, Fakes, and Death

In the past 10 years, social media has become a huge part of our world. There are so many options: Facebook; Instagram; Twitter; Pinterest; Snapchat; and others. I didn't use any of these tools during my big adventure running days between 2006 and 2011. However, many adventurers are using these social media platforms to share details about their endeavors. I know that social media has contributed to the increase in interest of running or walking across America -- with more people taking on the challenge each year.

However, there is a negative effect of providing a social media window into adventures. For instance, Trolltunga is a cliff above Lake Ringedalsvatnet in Norway. The photo accompanying this post is a stock image, but apparently there is a long line of hikers waiting their turn for this iconic 'alone in the wilderness' image. National Geographic published an article about how Instagram is changing travel and in it is written, "Between 2009 and 2014, visitors to Trolltunga increased from 500 to 40,000 in what many consider a wave of social media-fueled tourism." The location has become so popular due to social media that being "alone" there is nearly impossible.

True adventurers have criticized those who post photos on social media of "adventures" that are not actually being done. As an example, a person may post a picture of climbing a mountain just so that others can see them on a mountainside, but did they actually make it to the top? Were they on the side of the mountain for a selfie opportunity or because they were truly engaged in an adventure? Social media is filled with 'posers.'

Unfortunately, it is well documented that there have been many adventurers killed as a result of trying to get an outrageous photo. In 2014, Clif Bar stopped sponsoring five rock climbers known for climbing without ropes or safety gear. Sadly, ordinary people have been enticed by risky adventurous images to try stunts they don’t have the skills for, and have died as a result.

Perhaps the most outrageous part of this is that not everything you see of adventures via social media are true. Case in point -- the "Amanda Smith" Instagram account, which has been discontinued. Marketing agency Mediakix did a test to see if anyone can fake an adventurous Instagram account and build followers to the point of attracting sponsorship dollars. The agency created a fictitious Instagram account for "Amanda Smith" (wanderingggirl). The entire feed was composed of free stock photos of random places across the world and blonde girls, always posing facing away from the camera.

After setting up the fake personality and generating content, the agency started purchasing followers (yes, apparently you can do that). They started with buying 1,000 followers per day and ultimately jumped to purchasing 15,000 followers at a time. The cost? Between $3-$8 per 1,000. Essentially, if the followers don’t like or comment on posts, they’re kind of worthless. So the next step was for the agency to purchase fake engagement -- buying likes and comments. Mediakix paid about 12 cents per comment, and between $4-9 per 1,000 likes. For each photo, they purchased 500 to 2,500 likes and 10 to 50 comments. The entire experiment ended up costing Mediakix about $300 for the "wanderingggirl" Instagram account. After the account reached 10,000 followers (the threshold amount for signing up on most influencer marketing platforms), Mediakix started applying for sponsorship deals -- securing two paid brand deals for the wanderingggirl account. Before the account was closed it had over 64,000 followers... and it was completely fake!

So, don't believe everything you see about "adventurers" on social media. Unfortunately, sometimes they're posers or are not real at all.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Is Keeping a Promise an Unrealistic Goal?

This month marks 12 years since I took that first step away from the Pacific Ocean to embark on a 108-day solo journey of 3,260 miles to the Atlantic Ocean -- simply to keep a promise I had made to a group of elementary students. The children shown in the photos accompanying this blog post met a challenge I posed to them of running 3,200 miles as a team during a single school year. I had promised that if they could do it, I would run their virtual coast-to-coast route across the U.S. for real, which I did. Those children are now around the age of 23 and are striding through life on various paths that they've chosen. I do hope that they remember their 2006 running and walking accomplishment, since they became the first recorded students in the United States to virtually run/walk coast to coast within one 9-month school year -- each participating child logging the equivalent of 3 marathons. I am still inspired every time I think about what they achieved!

Yes, I ran 3,260 miles all alone across America through the second hottest summer ever recorded just to keep a promise. Many thought I was nuts for doing so. However, it meant a lot to me to do all that I could to keep my word to those children, to try and show them promise keeping and integrity in action, and to let them know that their running/walking efforts were not in vain.

A few years ago, Psychology Today magazine published an article titled Why We Can't Keep Our Promises. The article states, "There are a number of commonly understood reasons promises are broken, including that our feelings, capacity, or circumstances have changed over time. The fading of romantic love for one’s partner is emblematic of this -- what once was is no more. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the birth of a child, falling in love, and developing illness, to list but a few, are all events that can shift our feelings and consequent behavior -- often monumentally. We may no longer have the capability or willingness to keep a specific promise, or it may no longer benefit those concerned to do so."

The article goes on to say,

"Should We Ever Promise? Trying as best one can to keep promises is crucial. These interpersonal contracts facilitate trust and love. But since so much is out of our awareness, are we all doomed to keep making promises we cannot keep? Well, yes. People will always struggle against themselves. We disregard human complexity when we harshly criticize others -- and ourselves -- for "failing" to feel and behave exactly as promised. But we can make a concerted effort to know ourselves better, to attend to that which we might prefer to ignore. Then, when we make a promise, we can be alert to the possibility of having contradictory feelings."

I know, that probably sounds like a bunch of psychological mumbo jumbo. However, the article is accurate in that sometimes people make promises that they are not able to keep -- either due to a change in circumstances, a change in feelings, a change in awareness, or due to situations beyond control. There were many things that could have happened during the 3,260 mileposts I reached for across America that could have prevented my finishing that endeavor. Fortunately, I was able to keep my promise... although it required absolutely every ounce of strength and perseverance I had. To me, it was worth it and I hope the students who put me on the road during the summer of 2006 will always remember our efforts that year.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Growing Number of Studies on "Juicing" Reveal Concerns

On page 10 of the book, Juicing and Smoothies for Dummies 2nd Edition, it states: "The Dead Sea Scrolls have revealed that mashing pomegranate and figs for “profound strength and subtle form” was practiced from before 150 b.c. This is perhaps the first record of man’s attempt to separate the vital juices from fruits and vegetables for their healing benefits." Juicing has certainly grown in popularity over the years and today I want to share with you an article that I recently read.

QUESTION: Is juicing a good way to eat more fruits and vegetables?

ANSWER: You may have thought about juicing to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Here’s how it works:
1. You put some fruits and vegetables into a highpowered juicing machine.
2. It removes the fiber and pulp.
3. Out comes a nutrient-rich juice.
If you’re not getting enough fruits and vegetables, juicing is a great first step to improve your diet. Stripping out the pulp and fiber makes them easy to gulp down, which might sound better than eating broccoli. But the process isn’t perfect. It can get expensive. And it may not be as healthy as simply eating an apple or leafy-green salad. Some potential problems with juicing include:

High blood sugar

Foods with a lot of fiber and pulp help control blood sugar levels. Juicing can cause a spike in blood sugar. This can increase:

  • Hunger
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue, and
  • Risk for diabetes

A recent study found that juicing on a regular basis, compared to eating fruits and vegetables, increased the risk for diabetes.1

Tummy troubles

Let’s say you set up your juicer and feed it a cucumber, an apple, two celery stalks, two carrots, and three beets. Your juice will have about 40 grams of dietary sugar. That’s almost the same amount as a 12-ounce soda! But this dietary sugar, called sorbitol, isn’t easily digested. Gulp down the drink, and what follows is a bout of gas, bloating, and discomfort. That’s a lot less likely to happen if you eat fruits and vegetables instead of juicing.

Harmful bacteria

Toss your favorite mix of fruits and veggies into a juicer. That might sound fast and easy. But there’s a critical step you need to complete before that. Wash the fruits and vegetables. A recent study checked freshly squeezed juice for bacteria.2 It found unhealthy levels in 43 percent of the samples. If you don’t thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables, your juice could be contaminated. Freshly-squeezed juice can also develop harmful bacteria in a short amount of time, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If this happens, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache, and other symptoms of food poisoning may occur.

Weight gain

Most people who juice do it as a way to lose weight. And if you follow a low-calorie diet and only drink juice from fruits and vegetables, you will lose weight at first. However, this approach to dieting often backfires. Research shows that it’s common for people who lose weight rapidly to gain all the weight back.3 The better approach to weight loss is a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Eat the whole thing

Juicing fruits and vegetables may seem like an easy way to improve your diet and lose weight. It’s certainly a better option than burgers, fries, and sugary drinks. But eating whole fruits and vegetables is better for you. Aim to eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day, and 11/2 to 2 cups of fruit per day. If that’s hard for you to do, get the extra servings you need from juice
____________________________________

References

1. Muraki, I., et al. (2013). Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: Results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. British Medical Journal, 347:f5001. doi:10.1136/bmj.f5001

2. Sospedra, I., et al. (2011). Incidence of microorganisms from fresh orange juice processed by squeezing machines. Food Control, 23(1):282. doi: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2011.06.025

3. Nackers, L.M., et al. (2010). The association between rate of initial weight loss and longterm success in obesity treatment: Does slow and steady win the race? International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 17(3):161-167. doi: 10.1007/s12529-010-9092-y

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Monday, June 11, 2018

Have You Ever Had The Words "Get a Job" Yelled at You?

In 2016, Pete Kostelnick established the new world record for running across America. Today, he is 30 years old, married, and on May 22, 2018, announced that he is quitting his job as a financial analyst in order to embark on a solo run from Kenai, Alaska to Key West, Florida -- a run that he feels compelled to take on because it has never been accomplished before. He begins his 5,000+ mile run on the first day of August and will be apart from his wife during the undertaking. He recently wrote that he's taking a big risk to try and accomplish his planned adventure, stating: "...leaving a great job behind permanently, and no guarantee that another will be waiting for me when I finish."

When I ran across America solo in 2006, I was the father of four children (ages 6 to 13) and operated my own business. Included in the gear on my support stroller was a laptop computer, which I used at the end of each day to communicate with subcontractors and to keep my business operating. Most people just saw a guy along the edge of the road with a stroller -- and I think some believed I was homeless. I remember being only a few hundred miles into that USA run when a guy, younger than I, yelled across the roadway "Get a job!" I glanced at him, and kept running... thinking to myself that he has no idea that I'm running over 3,200 miles just to keep a promise to some school children, that I am the father of four kids, and that I'm operating a business from the edge of the road as I cross the country. To that young guy, I just looked like some sort of athletic apparel wearing drifter.

Over the past 12 years since I completed that coast-to-coast run, I've heard of many people who have left their jobs to attempt a run across America. Some have fallen into financial ruin and didn't even get the joy of experiencing the finish line. Some go into their adventure with little or no money, relying on the kindness and generosity of strangers to provide all that they need. Others ask for money online through a number of different fundraising websites, such as "Go Fund Me." My solo run across America had a price tag of around $7,000. I had to put in a large majority of that money, while some was donated by people who wanted to support the purpose of the run. I was never unemployed and matters regarding my business were dealt with timely and professionally.

Honestly, I would not quit my job in order to attempt an adventure. Of course, that's just me. A decent job in today's economy is something worth hanging on to, and I don't understand the perspective of those who are married and/or have children and choose to quit a job and let go of the security and benefits of that in order to reach for the horizon through countless miles. Throughout all of my running adventures (USA, Germany, Alaska, Mojave Desert), I operated my business. It was not uncommon for me to complete my miles for the day, sit in an ice bath, and answer business e-mails or provide direction to subcontractors over the phone. That's the part of my endeavors that people didn't see. To those who saw me on the road, I just looked like some guy who only possessed what was in the stroller I pushed. If they had only been able to see behind the initial appearance, they would have learned that I was juggling many different balls while running down the road -- athlete, father, business owner.

To all who quit their jobs in order to take on an "adventure" that they feel prompted to do, I wish you well. In today's ever-increasing competitive professional world, it is indeed a risk. Believe me, not all future employers will understand your exiting the job market in order to embark on a multi-month undertaking. Some will question whether you'll be content to work in a 9 to 5 environment, thinking that you might head for the door when the next adventure bug bites you. For me, I would not have taken on any of the adventures I did unless I was able to generate an income concurrently. I'm now 53 years of age and eventually retirement will come. When that day arrives, I'll go into it knowing that I generated an income steadily throughout my adult life -- which, I believe, will be a feeling of satisfaction equal to, if not greater than, crossing any of the finish lines of my adventures.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Proud Dad Alert! -- My Youngest Son Graduated From High School

Last week, I had the joy of traveling to Montana with my fiancé, Kelley, to see my youngest child, Brian, graduate from high school. His graduation was held in the Adams Center on the University of Montana campus -- because it can accommodate the large audience for the 300 graduates. In fact, it was nearly 30 years ago that I graduated from the University of Montana in the same room that Brian's high school ceremony was held. As I sat there watching the graduation, I couldn't help but to have my eyes well up as I thought about the 25-year road of fatherhood that I've been blessed with so far. I now have four adult children and am so proud of each of them.

It was Kelley's first trip to Montana and she really enjoyed seeing my children and experiencing a little time in the mountains. Montana is the fourth largest state in the USA and the population is slightly over one million people. There are actually more cows in Montana than people! The number one industry in Montana is agriculture, and livestock makes up approximately two-thirds of the agriculture industry. Of the livestock portion, cattle make up the largest fraction. In fact, there are 2.6 million head of beef cattle in Montana.

Prior to relocating to Indiana several years ago, I resided in Missoula, Montana, for 30 years -- first showing up in "Big Sky Country" in January 1984 to attend the University of Montana at the age of 18. Back then, the town was much smaller and less bustling as it is today. Just in the few years that I've been away from Montana, I returned to find many new commercial construction projects underway, bumper to bumper traffic, and less of a 'laid back feeling' and more of an 'on the run' feeling. Missoula has been named everything from one of the most livable cities in America, to one of the worst-designed cities in the world. In 2015, Missoula was named the most "fitness-friendly city" in the United States.

As beautiful as Montana is, from the clear rivers and lakes to the snow-capped mountains, it is also a state that has its fair share of health concerns. According to Montana public health statistics, of the one million people that call it home, 15 percent live in poverty, 10 percent have diabetes, and 24 percent of adults are considered obese. Hypertension affects 29 percent of Montanans and 19 percent use tobacco. Nearly 20 percent of Montana residents do not have health insurance and approximately 21,000 are unemployed. Also, 14 percent of Montana high schoolers do not graduate. I'm proud that my son, Brian, is one of the 86 percent of Montana young people who graduated from high school this year.

Montana is a state that spans over 145,000 square miles and during the 30 years that I lived there I saw a lot of that state -- particularly when I ran solo across it both ways (2006 and 2008)! It is a state of beauty, but also a state that has some ongoing health and economic concerns. It was wonderful to return to Montana in order to see my son graduate and now it is time for him to blaze his path in life. As always, I look forward to seeing all that he will accomplish.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Is Coke a Good Source of 'Fuel' for Endurance Athletes?

Pictured here is Björn Suneson, of Sweden, who is currently running all alone across America. I was fortunate to be able to spend about 45 minutes with him a couple of weeks ago when he was in Indiana. While chatting, I noticed a two-liter Coke container on the support stroller he's pushing. I've followed Björn's running adventures for several years and am well aware that he enjoys drinking coke – both while on the road running and after getting done with his daily miles. I, however, have never been one to drink a carbonated drink while on a run.

The benefits of drinking a caffeinated, high-sugar beverage, such as Coke, toward the latter part of an endurance event, are well documented. Research from many institutions has shown that it helps mobilize fats and sugar into the bloodstream, making it available for use by the athlete, which should improve endurance performance.

However, not everyone's body responds favorably to ingesting caffeinated cola during exercise. Some athletes who are particularly caffeine-sensitive, or ingest excessive amounts of caffeine in any form, will experience negative effects like jitteriness, gastrointestinal distress, and the need to urinate more.

When I did my ultra-endurance runs across states/countries, I used two sources of liquid fuel – water and Gatorade. That's it! I did drink some caffeinated colas after logging my daily miles, but water and Gatorade were primarily my liquid fuel of choice, especially when I was actually putting the rubber to the road. Björn does drink Gatorade and water as he is striding down the road, but unlike me... he likes to include Coke as well.

Increasing numbers of athletes are using Coke to fuel their exercise – and are reporting that it works. Researchers at the Australian Institute of Sport surveyed 11 of the 19 men's cycling teams participating in the U. S. Professional Championships and found that in six of those 11 teams, every single athlete ingested Coke during races. In four other teams, roughly two-thirds of the riders drank Coke. Only one team was Coke-free. Usually, Coke was consumed during the last half of the competitions, which lasted for two to six hours.

Reports show that Coke's carbohydrate content is at about 11 percent, which is considered slightly too high for a sports beverage (exercise scientists have identified 5 to 9 percent as the optimal range for sports-drink carbohydrate concentrations; beyond 9 percent, gastric emptying is retarded, and water may even be dragged into the stomach to dilute the excess carbs, robbing tissues and blood of fluid). Also, Coke offers little in the way of electrolytes, and its carbonation is thought to increase the risk of gastric upsets during exercise. Finally, Coke’s acidic content and artificial colors make it something that some athletes choose to avoid.

Research shows that Coke’s carbohydrate can keep muscles working as glycogen levels decrease, and if Coke is mixed half-and-half with Gatorade (which some athletes do), the resulting mixture possesses a carbohydrate content of about 8.6–8.7 percent, which is within the optimal range of carbohydrate concentrations. Finally, Coke's caffeine cannot be overlooked (a 12-ounce can of Coke has between 30 and 45 mg of caffeine). Caffeine has been shown to be performance-enhancing in a variety of different studies.

With that said, I lift a can of Coke to salute Björn on his running into the state of Nebraska yesterday. You're almost to the halfway point. Well done!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Are You Drinking Enough Water?

Over half of your body is made up of water. According to ThoughtCo.com, water comprises 60% of adult males, 55% of adult females, 65% of children, and 75% of infants. Most of the body's water is in the intracellular fluid (2/3 of the body's water). The other third is in the extracellular fluid (1/3 of the water). According to a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the amount of water in the human heart and brain is 73%, the lungs are 83%, muscles and kidneys are 79%, the skin is 64%, and the bones are around 31%.

Water is the primary building block of cells and acts as an insulator, regulating internal body temperature. Water is needed to metabolize proteins and carbohydrates used as food, and is the primary component of saliva -- used to digest carbohydrates and aid in swallowing food. Water lubricates joints, acts as a shock absorber, and insulates the brain, spinal cord, organs, and fetus. Water is used to flush waste and toxins from the body via urine and is the principal solvent in the body. It dissolves minerals, soluble vitamins, and certain nutrients. Also, water carries oxygen and nutrients to cells. Water plays a vital role in the body's regulation, protection, and function.

When I was running solo across America in temperatures that were typically around the 100-degree mark, I would drink at least two gallons of water on a 35-mile day as my body exerted tremendous energy covering the distance while pushing a jogging stroller averaging 65 pounds in weight. Even at the office, I drink water regularly and it is the only form of liquid I drink during the work day. The percent of water in your body depends on your hydration level. People feel thirsty when they have already lost around 2-3% of their body's water. Mental performance and physical coordination start to become impaired before thirst kicks in, typically around 1% dehydration.

So, how much water should you drink each day? There are many different opinions! The health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember. However, there is also a way to calculate how much water you should drink daily based on your weight. For instance, a 200 pound man and 100 pound woman require different amounts of water every day. To figure out how much water to drink each day based on your weight, I've read that you multiple your weight by 2/3 (or 67%). For example, if you weigh 190 pounds, you multiple that by 2/3. That would mean that you should be drinking about 127 ounces of water every day (or 1 gallon). If you want to adjust that number based on how often you work out -- since you are expelling water when you sweat -- you should add 12 ounces of water to your daily total for every 30 minutes that you work out. As an example, if you work out for 45 minutes daily, you would add 18 ounces of water to your daily intake.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

New "Active Shooter" Video Game Uses School Environment

According to a recent poll, ten percent of Americans (32 million people) consider themselves "Gamers." Last year, a study published in Molecular Psychiatry stated that people who play action video games that involve first-person shooters, such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, experience shrinkage in a brain region called the hippocampus. That part of the brain is associated with spatial navigation, stress regulation and memory. Playing Super Mario games, in which the plumber strives to rescue a princess, had the opposite effect on the hippocampus, causing growth in it.

In recent years, scientists have done dozens of studies looking to see if playing video games affects people's health and behavior. There is some evidence that video games may improve people's visual short-term memory and eye-hand coordination. Five months ago, Newsweek featured an article which stated that playing video games for a 12-hour streak could be a mental health problem, and Forbes reported that the World Health Organization is adding gaming disorder to a beta draft of its International Classification of Diseases.

According to the draft, gaming becomes more than just a hobby when you’re unable to control how often you play or can’t seem to stop even after battling it out for hours on end -- the game often taking over your life and gets in the way of everyday activities. And despite any negative consequences, like getting fired for too many skipped work days, people who have the disorder can’t stop themselves from playing. The draft states, "The behavior pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behavior may be continuous or episodic and recurrent."

The International Classification of Diseases, or ICD, is used by health professionals globally and serves as an international standard for defining health conditions and diseases. The 11th edition includes this new gaming disorder.

Last week, a Fortune magazine headline caught my attention. It reads, "Upcoming Video Game Lets You Play as a School Shooter." With all of the tragic school shootings that have been taking place, I shook my head in disbelief as I read the headline -- and felt sick at the same time. "Active Shooter" is slated to go on sale June 6 on the Steam digital distribution platform. The game describes itself as a simulation of an active shooter situation, where players can opt to be either the killer or the SWAT team tasked with neutralizing the situation. Screenshots from the game show attacks taking place in both an office and school environment.

Active Shooter will be sold for between $5 to $10 and is being highly criticized by gamers on social media and it is reported that the developer appears to be hoping that the controversy will boost sales. Yesterday, CNN reported that parents of slain students of school shootings -- as well as the general public -- are outraged about the video game. However, Fortune magazine reported, "Video games are protected under the First Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled in 2011. And while some can be hyper-violent, few developers push this far beyond the line of good taste."

As a father of four children, a Christian, a former 5th grade teacher, and a man who despises shootings as those promoted by this latest video game... please, do not support the sale of the "Active Shooter" video game or the Steam platform, which is owned by Valve Corporation -- a video game developer based in Washington state. The game was developed by Revived Games and published by a Russian company called Acid. Please, boycott those companies.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Friday, May 25, 2018

Arlington, Virginia Ranked as Fittest City in America for 2018

The results are in! The 2018 American Fitness Index report from the American College of Sports Medicine ranked the 100 largest U.S. cities on health and fitness. Rankings are based off of cities' overall scores, which include data on fitness, nutrition, chronic disease, smoking, mental health, access to parks and public transportation.

Based on the report, Arlington, Virginia is America's fittest city, taking the top spot with a score of 77.7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, took last position with 26.3.

RankCityStateScore
1ArlingtonVA77.7
2MinneapolisMN77.2
3WashingtonD.C.74
4MadisonWI72.4
5PortlandOR71.6
6SeattleWA71.5
7DenverCO70.2
8St. PaulMN70.2
9San JoseCA69.8
10BoiseID69.2
11OaklandCA68.5
12PlanoTX67.9
13IrvineCA67.8
14San FranciscoCA67.3
15Boston,MA67.1
16San DiegoCA66.4
17LincolnNE65.7
18RaleighNC62.9
19FremontCA62.3
20AtlantaGA61.5
21AnchorageAK60.6
22Aurora,CO60.5
23St. PetersburgFL60.4
24Colorado SpringsCO58.1
25MiamiFL57.4
26DurhamNC57.2
27SacramentoCA57.1
28AlbuquerqueNM57
29CincinnatiOH57
30Virginia BeachVA56.9
31DallasTX56.7
32ChicagoIL56.7
33OmahaNE55.8
34MilwaukeeWI55.8
35Chula VistaCA55.3
36PittsburghPA55.1
37TampaFL55
38OrlandoFL54.8
39Long BeachCA54.8
40Santa AnaCA53.7
41AnaheimCA52.8
42AustinTX52.5
43BuffaloNY52.5
44NorfolkVA51.9
45New OrleansLA51.8
46HonoluluHI51.5
47TucsonAZ51.5
48RenoNV50
49ClevelandOH49.2
50Los AngelesCA48.9
51GarlandTX48.9
52New YorkNY48.6
53HialeahFL48.2
54IrvingTX48.1
55RichmondVA47.7
56Fort WorthTX47.6
57St. LouisMO47.4
58GlendaleAZ47.3
59CharlotteNC47.2
60HoustonTX46.9
61ScottsdaleAZ46.9
62RiversideCA45.8
63Las VegasNV45.1
64JacksonvilleFL45
65NashvilleTN44.2
66BakersfieldCA44
67Baton RougeLA43.4
68San AntonioTX43.4
69Jersey CityNJ43.2
70LexingtonKY42.9
71GreensboroNC42.8
72PhoenixAZ42.5
73HendersonNV42.4
74Kansas CityMO41.5
75ChesapeakeVA41.5
76ChandlerAZ40.9
77Corpus ChristiTX40.6
78BaltimoreMD40.5
79 (tie)ColumbusOH40.3
79 (tie)El PasoTX40.3
81MesaAZ40.2
82PhiladelphiaPA39.8
83ArlingtonTX39.7
84Fort WayneIN39.2
85StocktonCA38.8
86NewarkNJ38.6
87LubbockTX36.6
88MemphisTN35.5
89LaredoTX34.9
90Winston-SalemNC34.5
91TulsaOK34.4
92North Las VegasNV34
93GilbertAZ33.5
94FresnoCA33
95WichitaKS32.5
96ToledoOH30.3
97DetroitMI30
98LouisvilleKY27
99IndianapolisIN26.9
100Oklahoma CityOK26.3
It should be noted that in the finer details of the report it shows that Madison, Wisconsin residents are the most active, with more than 90% saying they exercise regularly. However, Boise, Idaho has the biggest percentage of residents who meet aerobic fitness standards, and Plano, Texas, has the most residents who meet both aerobic and strength guidelines. Yet, it is Arlington, Virginia that the 2018 American Fitness Index report states is the fittest city in the USA.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com