How Exercise and Recovery Produce Olympic Success


Today in Rio, CU Boulder’s own Emma Coburn won the Bronze Medal in the Finals of the Steeplechase, a 3000 meter race over barriers and water. To complete the race, competitors run seven and a half laps on a standard 400 meter track. Each lap has five wooden barriers which, unlike hurtles, do not move when runners crash into them. The fourth barrier in each lap is followed by a water pit 12 feet long, and two and a quarter feet at its deepest. In a single race each runner encounters 35 barriers, including the 7 water pits.

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Research on caffeine and health suggests it’s all about the timing

Caffeine in adolescencecan alteryour (3)

I love coffee, whole-heartedly and irrevocably. I love the way it smells, tastes, and the way it makes me feel. I drink it every day and I probably won’t ever stop. I’m telling you this to illustrate that I’m not discouraging caffeine consumption—that would be hypocritical and insane. I am, however, pointing out that there may be times when we shouldn’t drink it, according to recent science.

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Ten-hundred word challenge, Part 3: Worm Sperm and Brain Pain

In our third installment of the Ten Hundred Word Challenge inspired by this XKCD Up-Goer Five comic (and aided by this Up-Goer Five text-editor), we present two cases of complicated biology made simple. Aggie writes about fear changing our brains, and Paul writes about tiny worm sperm. Read on to learn more! And then, if you’re interested in writing your own, contact us at

worm sperm

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Exercise, Microbiomes, and You

kids running_AM

“Neuroscientists tend to think of our brains as separate entities, or black boxes,” says Aggie Mika, a graduate student in Integrative Physiology at CU Boulder. “But it’s clear we need to start thinking about our central nervous system as being part of the whole.” And Mika doesn’t just mean part of our individual bodies—she means part of the conglomeration of cells that live on us and inside us, not all of them human. We are a walking ecosystem, and the brain must be considered as a part of that.

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Running and injury prevention – it’s all in your head

Exercise is an important part of healthy living. Our Exercise Science series explores the science behind exercise, keeping you up to date on the latest findings from the experts. 


So perhaps I exaggerated with this title, but “it’s all in your nervous system” wasn’t quite as sexy. The truth is, your nervous system is the driver of your body. Most people forget this and just focus on the muscular system. As a yoga therapist and lifelong runner, I see plenty of people plagued with running injuries. I myself was slotted to undergo the knife twice (and twice declined) to treat my Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome and patellofemoral pain (more on what that means later).

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DAT isn’t all that: Cocaine also activates immune cells in the brain, increasing reward and addiction

You’ve probably heard of dopamine before. Whether you know every region of the brain by heart or are still learning how to tell gray matter from the spinal cord, dopamine is likely on your mental radar. As this fun (and informative) article from Slate describes, dopamine is involved in experiences of pleasure, reward, love, and addiction, among other processes in the brain. It’s kind of a big deal. Dopamine isn’t love or addiction itself: how dopamine shapes these experiences is complex and not yet fully understood.


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The exercise evolution: an introduction to the science behind exercise

We all know exercise is good for us. Regular exercise can boost energy and increase physical fitness as well as prevent and treat heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Moving our bodies can help us combat mental illness, stave off age-related mental and physical decline, and improve our ability to think, solve problems, learn, remember, regulate emotions, and cope with stress. We also now know that sitting around for most of our lives can lead to poor health. Simply put, scientists studying the biology of exercise have increasingly shown that we need to exercise in order to be our best, healthiest, happiest selves. Ever wonder why nature molded us in this way? Why is every facet of our physiology seemingly programmed to benefit from exercise? We may be able to shed light on these questions by studying the evolution of our early human ancestors.

ancient greek

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