thesciencegirl RUNS

My BIB!!!

In April of 2012 I joined a running group call BGR (black girls Run), this group is dedicated to the health and fitness of African American women, by coordinating and maintaining daily running groups across America. So far I have ran 109.6 miles!!! Recently I just completed my first marathon that included a bib and T-shirt (every runner loves the t-shirts), although the marathon was 5.6 miles I left feeling empowered and also addicted to the sport. Being a scientist and also a woman who loves to ask questions, I wanted to know why am I addicted to running when during the course of the run, I sweat, yell and vow to never do it again. So I started my research with a basic definition what is running….

Running is a means of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans to move rapidly on foot. It is also defined as a gait in which at regular points during the running cycle both feet are off the ground, in contrast to walking where one foot is always in contact with the ground. The benefits of running include improved vascular fitness, reduced cholesterol, strenghthening of the immune system and an improved self esteem and emotional state.

Research also states that running can also have psychological benefits, as many runners in the sport report feeling an elated, euphoric state, often referred to as a “runnner’s high”. Running is frequently recommended as therapy for people with clinical depression and people coping with addiction.

This explains why when I’m in a funk my first thought is to grab my running gear. But what is happening chemically in my body to produce this runner’s high?

Current research states that the body produces cannabinoids, lipids, that action resembles those of the active ingredient of marijuana…so that explains it (lol). This lipids suppress pain, inhibits swelling and inflammation, dilates the blood vessels and makes breathing easier. So the addiction is due to this powerful chemical that is naturally produces by the body.

Running increases your metabolism which explains why i raid the refrigerator after every run. Another fact about running it helps you to maintain and also lose weight.

So i know you are asking yourself why don’t I run? Well its never to late to be apart of this movement and if you dont want to run you can walk, the point is to keep your body moving and you will be rewarded with the release of a natural chemical that will keep you happy!!

Dimensional Analysis

In chemistry one must have the ability to solve problems, many problems are unit conversion problems. Using units as a guide to solve problems is called Dimensional Analysis. When students start the course this is the second topic (sig figs are the first) that must be  conquered in order for you to excel in this course.  Now in the textbook the general problem solving technique tells you to start with the given quantity to find the required unit.

For Example:  Convert 1.76 yards to centimeters

1.76yds X 1m/1.094 yd X 100cm/1m = 161 cm

During the time when I was a student in chemistry my professor said ALWAYS START WITH WANT YOU WANT TO GET i.e. start the problem with whats required. This has been my method of solving problems for years, now that I am in the teaching position what do I teach my students? My high school students take my chemistry course over the summer before there fall semester begins and i know that there  curriculum will groom them to start with the given unit. And this method often times leads to confusion therefore I must stay true to my inner chemistry self and teach them the old school method.

For Example: Convert 1.76 yards to centimeters

100cm/1m X 1m/1.094 yd X 1.76 yd= 161cm

That just feels so much better!!