Twitter can help runners train for marathons. (KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Social Media
Can Twitter make you a better runner?
Runner’s World, December

Faster. Stronger. Longer. This triumverate of adjectives is the holy grail of running, and training plans abound to help runners seeking to improve their mile splits, power up a hill and go farther than before. But might the solution lie in something as simple as a hashtag? In the December issue of Runner’s World, writer and avid runner Clare Trageser examines the role that social media and networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and play in training.

Trageser details her own efforts to break a half marathon personal record through a running group she joined on The members connect on Facebook, share training plans and pep talks in online forums, and post inspirational photos on Pinterest. All for the good, says James Fowler, a medical genetics and political science professor at the University of California at San Diego, pointing out that the best way to get someone to start running is to make it social. Still, Runner’s World columnist Bart Yasso gave Trageser some advice: “If you’re tweeting while you run, you aren’t running fast enough.”

Mental Health
Making the ‘golden years’ more golden
“Depression and Anxiety in Later Life: What Everyone Needs to Know,” by Mark D. Miller and Charles F. Reynolds III, Johns Hopkins Press

Millions of elderly men and women suffer from depression and anxiety, not surprising given the health issues, anxiety about the future and bereavement that often accompany aging. But a new book by geriatric psychiatrists Mark D. Miller and Charles F. Reynolds III argues that mental disorders are not a natural or inevitable part of getting older, no matter how common they may seem.

The book delves into the causes, symptoms and treatments of mental illness. According to Miller and Reynolds, the characteristics traditionally associated with “grumpy old men” — irritability, disorganization and social withdrawal — may actually be symptoms of depression caused by such issues as memory loss, physical pain, difficulty sleeping and eating, and end-of-life anxiety. The book aims to help older people, their family members and caregivers identify the symptoms and make positive lifestyle changes to make the so-called “golden years” a little less gray.

Maggie Fazeli Fard