Social Acceptance of Mediocrity

Social Acceptance of Mediocrity

I read this article the other day and thought it was just plain awesome. I wanted to share it with everyone to hopefully encourage people to exercise and stay active.

“I have a list of sayings that make my blood curdle, and “hey now, at least they’re up and moving” is close to the top of that list. We’ve all heard it before and probably have said it ourselves, but if you think about it, it’s depressing to see how that saying has become a norm nowadays.
           We now live in a society where doing the bare minimum required to keep your heart beating is supposed to earn you a pat on the back and a sugar-free cupcake (don’t worry, its only 100 calories…guilt free!). Since when did getting off the couch and moving around become an acceptable form of exercise? You may say, “Hey, at least they are moving around”, and yes, you’re right, that is the least they can do–but the problem is that they shouldn’t be stopping there.  Getting off your ass should be the thing you do when you wake up, not the physical highlight of your day.
90% of the time, I hear this saying when discussing those who walk as their main form of exercise. Sorry, but walking 15 minutes is NOT a workout; it’s a warmup for your warmup. Just for comparison, Alexander’s army marched over 5000 miles from Thessaloniki to the Indus river. That isn’t even counting the stops at tourist attractions or the journey home.
How long would this take you at 15 minutes a day?
Seriously, what happened to the grit that people used to have? My grandpa would call those people “the old breed”. When he lived in Africa, he would run 9 miles to school and 9 miles home everyday, with no shoes. See if you can get one of your fellow Americans to do something remotely intense for even 9 minutes before crapping out, but not before they congratulate themselves for at least “getting off the couch”.
Folks, you shouldn’t be fine with doing the least amount of work. Putting in the least amount of effort will get you the least amount of results. It shouldn’t be enough to simply walk around, you should be challenging your limits almost daily. I understand if you have a debilitating injury that limits your mobility, but most people don’t have debilitating injuries, they are just bloated and lazy.”
Directions on walking, in case you forgot.”
Conclusion
I really enjoyed reading this. I see this in the gym all the time. People get dressed in their “workout gear”, grab a sugar loaded gatorade, and sit on the bike and pedal at a slow to moderate pace for 15-20 minutes before calling it a day. 100 calories-burned later and mission accomplished. I get the same reaction when i talk to people about this. “well, at least they are in here trying”. I would much rather have people burn 100 calories playing with their kids or doing something active in the community then doing a moderate cardio routine like this. However, we live in a lazy society where convienience and luxury take priority over physical well being and activity. Do yourself a favor and surround you and your family with a group of people who live an active and healthy lifestyle so they hold you accountable when you say you are going for a 15 minute stationary bike ride and claim it to be a “workout”.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions.

From South Bend,
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Exercise For A Healthier Brain

Exercise For A Healthier Brain

“Beginning in our late 20s, most of us will lose about 1 percent annually of the volume of the hippocampus, a key portion of the brain related to memory and certain types of learning.”

Everyone knows that exercising can help your heart, weight, and countless health benefits,  but what many don’t know is that exercising can also make you smarter and better at what you do.”Exercise is really for the brain, not the body. It affects mood, vitality, alertness, and feelings of well-being.” says John J. Ratey, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Exercise affects many sites within the nervous system and sets off pleasure chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that make us feel calm, happy, and euphoric.

“When one exercises,” Anderson says, “you can think more clearly, perform better, and your morale is better. This is pure science — stimulate your nervous system and function at a higher level.” In a recent publication by the New York Times, even more ground breaking evidence and research has been linked to a healthier brain as a result of exercise. Here is a summary of the research and studies.

 “For more than a decade, neuroscientists and physiologists have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. But the newest findings make it clear that this isn’t just a relationship; it is THE RELATIONSHIP. The most persuasive evidence comes from several new studies of lab animals living in busy, exciting cages.

The Experiment

Researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, gathered four groups of mice and set them into four distinct living arrangements.

  1. Group 1-Lived in a world of sensual and gustatory plenty, dining on nuts, fruits and cheeses, their food occasionally dusted with cinnamon, all of it washed down with variously flavored waters. Their “beds” were colorful plastic igloos occupying one corner of the cage. Neon-hued balls, plastic tunnels, nibble-able blocks, mirrors and seesaws filled other parts of the cage.
  2. Group 2-Had access to all of these pleasures, plus they had small disc-shaped running wheels in their cages.
  3. Group 3- Had cages held no embellishments, and they received standard, dull kibble.
  4. Group 4- This group’s homes contained the running wheels but no other toys or treats.
  • All the animals completed a series of cognitive tests at the start of the study and were injected with a substance that allows scientists to track changes in their brain structures. Then they ran, played or, if their environment was unenriched, lolled about in their cages for several months.

The Results

“Only one thing had mattered,” Rhodes says, “and that’s whether they had a running wheel.” Animals that exercised, whether or not they had any other enrichments in their cages, had healthier brains and performed significantly better on cognitive tests than the other mice. Animals that didn’t run, no matter how enriched their world was otherwise, did not improve their brainpower in the complex, lasting ways that Rhodes’s team was studying. “They loved the toys,” Rhodes says, and the mice rarely ventured into the empty, quieter portions of their cages. But unless they also exercised, they did not become smarter.

The Science

The brain, like all muscles and organs, is a tissue, and its function declines with underuse and age. Beginning in our late 20s, most of us will lose about 1 percent annually of the volume of the hippocampus, a key portion of the brain related to memory and certain types of learning.Exercise though seems to slow or reverse the brain’s physical decay, much as it does with muscles. Even more heartening, scientists found that exercise jump-starts neurogenesis. Mice and rats that ran for a few weeks generally had about twice as many new neurons in their hippocampi as sedentary animals. Their brains, like other muscles, were bulking up.

Here is a link to the full article

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/how-exercise-could-lead-to-a-better-brain.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&seid=auto&smid=tw-nytimes

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

From South Bend,

Kevin