Category: Health


Shane O’Mara—a professor of experimental brain research, focusing on stress, depression and anxiety; and learning, memory and cognition—has written a new book titled In Praise of Walking. The Guardian did a feature on in him. Some quotes:

  • Guardian: “He knows this not only through personal experience, but from cold, hard data – walking makes us healthier, happier and brainier.”
  • O’Mara: “Our sensory systems work at their best when they’re moving about the world.”
  • O’Mara: We can see “from the scientific literature, that getting people to engage in physical activity before they engage in a creative act is very powerful. My notion—and we need to test this—is that the activation that occurs across the whole of the brain during problem-solving becomes much greater almost as an accident of walking demanding lots of neural resources.”
  • O’Mara: When you’re walking “there are all sorts of rhythms happening in the brain as a result of engaging in that kind of activity, and they’re absent when you’re sitting. One of the great overlooked superpowers we have is that, when we get up and walk, our senses are sharpened. Rhythms that would previously be quiet suddenly come to life, and the way our brain interacts with our body changes.”

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Compare these pictures!

From Time magazine:

Modern exercise science shows that working with weights—whether that weight is a light dumbbell or your own body—may be the best exercise for lifelong physical function and fitness.

… [T]he “load” that this form of training puts on bones and their supporting muscles, tendons and ligaments is probably a bigger deal when it comes to health and physical function. … Through a process known as bone remodeling, strength training stimulates the development of bone osteoblasts: cells that build bones back up. While you can achieve some of these bone benefits through aerobic exercise, especially in your lower body, resistance training is really the best way to maintain and enhance total-body bone strength.

From the New York Times:

“Why do some older people remain mentally nimble while others decline? “Superagers” are those whose memory and attention isn’t merely above average for their age, but is actually on par with healthy, active 25-year-olds.”

Guess what? It comes down to doing hard things.

“Many labs have observed that these critical brain regions increase in activity when people perform difficult tasks, whether the effort is physical or mental. You can therefore help keep these regions thick and healthy through vigorous exercise and bouts of strenuous mental effort. … This means that pleasant puzzles like Sudoku are not enough to provide the benefits of superaging. Neither are the popular diversions of various “brain game” websites. You must expend enough effort that you feel some “yuck.” Do it till it hurts, and then a bit more.”

Read this outstanding article at PJ Media:

There are times when The Conventional Wisdom and The Reality of the Situation are at odds. Our recent presidential election provides a poignant example, as does the idea that running makes you skinny, that little kids always tell the truth, and that we have to pass another law so you’ll stop doing things we don’t like.

Here’s another one: Your back hurts, so you have to rest it, stretch it, go to the chiropractor for 30 visits, and then get your “core” stronger with situps and various odd-looking movements performed on a balance ball, and if that doesn’t work, surgery will. The reality is that your back hurts because you are a bipedal, upright human over the age of 30, you can’t alter this fact, and the best way to make it stop hurting is to make it stronger with squats and deadlifts.

Deadlifts and barbell squats for a low back in pain sounds like the stupidest idea that has ever appeared on PJ Media, I know. It flies in the face of The Conventional Wisdom. The fact is that it works nearly 100% of the time if you do it correctly, and that 90% of the time a stronger back not only stops hurting but also returns you to full unencumbered activity in less than a month.

Read the rest here.

From Time magazine:

Doctors, researchers, scientists—even ancient philosophers—have long claimed exercise works like a miracle drug. Now they have proof.

In studies where blood is drawn immediately after people exercised, researchers have found that many positive changes occur throughout the body during and right after a workout. “Going for a run is going to improve your skin health, your eye health, your gonadal health,” he says. “It’s unbelievable.” If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed. View full article »