Janice Stanger, PhD

Janice Stanger, PhD

Posted October 13, 2013

Published in Health

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Running With Dr. Ruth Heidrich

Read More: Dr. Ruth Heidrich, Forks Over Knives, whole foods plant based diet

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Lifelong Running, Dr. Dr. Ruth's Latest Book, Will Get You Moving

In Lifelong Running, Dr. Ruth Heidrich observes that children begin to run as soon as they learn to walk, and "stop running" is a frequent refrain parents and teachers aim at children. Adults fall into sedentary habits, their nature to run Ruth Heidrich Borobudur Indonesia smaller.jpgstifled by myths about this activity.

Dr. Ruth is a well-known runner who has won numerous gold medals in her 45 years of competing in marathons and triathlons. She aims to reignite your childhood habit of quick movement, and her love of running is infectious. In fact, of the many things to like about this book, Dr. Ruth's positive outlook, encouragement, and shared experiences top my list. You start out the book running across the Sydney Harbour Bridge with her, and the fun never stops.

Lifelong Running systematically busts 11 common myths about this sport, using science, success stories, and the personal experiences of Dr. Ruth and her collaborator, Martin Rowe. Although grounded in science, this is not a technical book. Dr. Ruth really wants you to get started at whatever level you are at. She describes the necessities of running as proper shoes and socks, and clothes that allow free movement and absorb sweat. Everything else is optional. Her common sense advice short circuits excuses to delay.

You can just go out and enjoy the scenery at a fast pace, feeling yourself getting leaner, fitter, more energetic, with a healthy heart and strong bones. In fact, the book advocates starting out with short distances, gradually increasing your running distance and pace, and giving your body time to recuperate if the new exercise is causing pain.

Yet Dr. Ruth, a cancer survivor whose 1982 victory over metastatic breast cancer is part of the documentary Forks Over Knives, is quick to let you know that diet is even more important than running to maintaining health. But, she points out, this is not an either/or choice.

The whole foods, plant-based diet she recommends optimally supports athletic performance. She describes how her athletic accomplishments soared after she went from a routine American diet to one based on a wide variety of whole plant foods, with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. She thrives on her diet and shares her enjoyable daily food routines with you as well.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to talk with Dr. Ruth and find out more about her ideas and experiences. I wanted to know her opinion of why more people aren't runners.

Click to read the rest of the interview with Dr. Ruth Heidrich