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Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Workout Might Ruin You

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Getty Images / iStock

There is nothing quite like being humbled by the fitness regimen of an octogenarian, which is why you might want to proceed with caution. POLITICO reporter Ben Schreckinger recently got a glimpse into the workout of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and it’s entirely possible you’ll need to work your way up to it.

Political pundits have been focused on the health of the 83-year-old Ginsburg (who has a birthday coming up on March 15) due to her liberal leanings and the desire to see her remain on the bench for the duration of a Republican presidency. Part of what keeps her sharp is a twice-weekly exercise protocol developed by her personal trainer, a Sergeant First Class in the Army Reserves named Bryant Johnson.

While the hour-long workout can vary at times, Johnson explained that it more or less looks like this: After a five-minute warm-up on an elliptical bike, Ginsburg does some light stretching (toe touches, seated ankle-grabbing with legs extended) followed by a strength routine. Johnson uses weights that Ginsburg can heft for 10 to 13 reps, including a 70-pound bench press, chest flies, lat pulldowns, and leg presses, all using a machine. Ginsburg then performs one-legged squats by extending one leg and rising from a seated position 10 times per leg.

The latter effort seemed to give Schreckinger pause. "This was not easy," he wrote. The squats are followed by two sets of 10 pushups and 30-second planks, which is a bit like holding a pushup posture on your forearms to work your core.

Next, Ginsburg uses an exercise ball to perform dynamic dumbbell presses and curls before moving to an 18-inch platform that promotes knee stability. That’s followed by more leg exercises and squats on a Bosu ball. Finally, Ginsburg catches a medicine ball from a seated position, stands, and tosses it back to Johnson. The effort is meant to replicate getting up from a toilet unassisted, an important skill for any age.

Despite being a good half-century younger than Ginsburg, Schreckinger said the workout left him "sore, disoriented, and cranky." If you haven't hit the gym in awhile, it might be prudent to consult with a doctor before attempting the Ginsburg protocol.  

[h/t POLITICO]

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Smart Shopping
11 Savvy Gifts for the Runner in Your Life
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Sneakers and a willingness to sweat are the basics of what a runner needs to get going, but these gifts go the extra mile, helping your favorite 10K devotée or aspiring marathoner stay moving whatever the distance, weather, or terrain.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. YAKTRAX RUN TRACTION CLEATS FOR RUNNING ON SNOW AND ICE; $32

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Snow and ice won't slow down runners when they wear Yaktrax cleats, which can be secured to running shoes to prevent slippage. Replaceable carbide-steel spikes and stainless-steel coils provide great traction, while reflective stripes on the sides and heels make night runs safer.

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2. GARMIN RUNNING DYNAMICS POD TRACKER; $69

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Way beyond a basic pedometer, this tracker pod links to a compatible watch and sends real-time information about six running metrics: cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance, vertical oscillation, and vertical ratio. It clips onto a watch wristband and weighs less than 5 ounces, so your giftee will barely notice it's there.

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3. RUNTASTY HYDRATION BELT; $30

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This hydration belt holds two BPA-free water bottles (17 ounces total) to keep a runner going through a longer distance. Slip your phone into one large pocket with a touchscreen for easy control. Keys, cards, and everything else fit in the roomy other pocket. They're both sweatproof to keep your electronics safe. Anti-slip texturing keeps it from sliding around, and it's adjustable to fit a wide variety of bodies.

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4. JULBO AEROLITE SUNGLASSES; $143

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Ultrarunners and mountain bikers helped design these high-tech polycarbonate sunglasses. They're super lightweight, rimless, and provide 100 percent protection against UV A, B, and C rays. Air circulates easily through them, so they won't fog up.

Find It: Amazon

5. RUN INK MARATHONER MAPS; $13 AND UP

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Run Ink

These personalized printed maps are perfect for marathoners who have all the gear they need, but could use a well-designed memento of their endurance, tenacity, and spirit. Each colorful map shows the location, course, date, and name of a specific race, along with the runner's name, time, and bib number. Not a marathoner? Run Ink customizes maps for any race. They'll frame it too.

Find It: Run Ink

6. GRAND TRAIL: A MAGNIFICENT JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF ULTRARUNNING AND RACING; $31

cover of Grand Trail by Frederic Berg and Alexis Berg
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Set that New Year's resolution high. Really high. Inspiring and beautiful, this coffee-table book visits 13 iconic ultrarunning locations across the world in stunning color and black-and-white photography, and profiles 16 astonishing champions who've mastered these breathtaking, supremely challenging courses.

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7. GRAZE SNACK SUBSCRIPTIONS; $42 FOR THREE BOXES

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Graze

The right kind of fuel is essential to running, especially during long distances. Gift your favorite runner with Graze snack boxes; each box has eight energy-packed snacks that easily travel. Snacks are each perfectly portioned into six servings. And with more than 100 options, there's a lot to choose from. Three categories a runner is likely to try: nuts and seeds, superfoods, and protein bars, bites, and toppers.

Find It: Graze

8. BABY TREND EXPEDITION JOGGER STROLLER; $103

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New parents are often eager to get moving after a baby is born. They can start running again—and give a kid a fun ride—using this jogger stroller. It has a trio of large bicycle tires to smoothly roll over all surfaces, four cup holders (two for an adult, two for a child), a storage compartment, and a five-point harness to keep baby secure. It easily folds into a compact unit for stashing in the car.

Find It: Amazon

9. T-SHIRT QUILT; $75 AND UP

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Project Repat

Wrapping a runner in a blanket just after they cross the finish line is a long-standing tradition—and a necessity in cold-weather races. Give the practice a unique spin with this customized T-shirt quilt. Crowdsource some favorite or meaningful T-shirts from the runner's friends, and ask for tees from the runner too (but keep the end product a secret!). Ship them to Project Repat, choose a color for the fleece backing, and within weeks your runner will have a personalized quilt to warm up with—and keep forever. And don't worry about a little post-race sweat—the quilt is machine washable.

Find It: Project Repat

10. FITBIT ALTA FITNESS TRACKER; $124

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Data-obsessed runners are all about the metrics while running. The Alta Fitbit can illuminate their activities during the rest of the day (and night) as well. It uses an array of sensors to track activity levels, sleep patterns, steps taken, floors climbed, calories burned, and more. Using Bluetooth, it automatically, wirelessly connects and syncs with more than 200 leading iOS, Android, and Windows devices. It's also sweat, rain, and splash proof, so it doesn't need to come off in the shower.

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11. SPOTIFY GIFT CARD; $30

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A runner's soundtrack is important—and often carefully chosen. With this gift card, runners who are Spotify subscribers can choose from millions of tracks to keep them going through three months of runs. 

Find It: Amazon

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Health
This Fitness Startup Lets You Pay for Gym Time by the Minute
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In a perfect world, factors like time, money, and convenience would never stand in the way of your workouts. But as anyone who’s signed up for a gym membership and never got around to using it knows, that isn't always the case. A new startup aims to make fitness more accessible to people who are unwilling or unable to make a serious financial commitment up front. As Fast Company reports, POPiN lets users at several participating health clubs in New York City pay for gym time by the minute whenever they want.

The concept applies sharing economy principles to the fitness industry. Members with the app on their iPhone or Android phone can choose from four gyms currently partnered with the startup. Each center includes luxurious amenities that are normally exclusive to members paying roughly $200 a month. With POPiN, users can walk in, check in with the front desk, pay $.15 to $.26 for each minute they’re there, and check out before they leave. A 45-minute workout might end up costing them around $8.

The average gym membership goes for nearly $60 a month, and gyms depend on the fact that a significant chunk of their customers let memberships go to waste. POPiN claims it is designed for people who might be more comfortable hitting the treadmill every day one week and taking a break from the gym the next, as opposed to adhering to a strict schedule. With a variety of fitness centers in their system, POPiN also wants to give its users greater access to a diverse range of equipment than they would get with a single gym.

The app has been around for only a few months and is limited to New York City for now, but the long-term plan is to expand to more cities across the country within the year. If you’re still waiting for POPiN to arrive in your area, here are some more app-based ways to improve your exercise regimen today.

[h/t Fast Company]

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