Move! (2021) is a step-by-step guide based on the latest research in sports science to move your body and mind, providing information on developing creativity, improving mental health, and preparing your brain for multiple impacts in the future—the practical skills of aging.
About the author:
Caroline Williams is a British science writer with more than 20 years of writing experience, writing for publications including New Scientist, The Guardian, BBC Future, BBC Earth, and Boston Globe. He holds a bachelor’s degree in life sciences from the University of Exeter and a master’s degree in science communication from Imperial College London.
What can I get? Learn how exercise improves brain health.
Thousands of years ago, hunters and gatherers trudged miles in search of their next meal. Finding food today is as easy as clicking the “Deliver Now” button. However, despite its convenience, technological innovation has hurt human health.
As a species, we stop moving; compared to our Stone Age ancestors, we are mostly lazy. 70% of our lives are spent sitting, and as a result, our brains are affected.
This practical workbook will help you break the cycle of laziness.
Through motivating exercise, it can lead to a healthier and happier life.
People took a lazy way.
Have you always wanted to swap places with sloths? These arboreal mammals are known to do almost nothing, sleep for up to 20 hours a day, and are relatively immobile when awake.
It’s wild, right? Well, it turns out that humans do not have to envy the life of sloths. We have already lived this life.
As a species, humans have reached a new level of laziness. Today, adults spend an average of 70% of their time sitting or lying down. Think about it: if you are 80 years old, you will only pay 24 years moving during these years, the other 56 years, more than 20,000 days, on the sofa or the bed.
The tendency of laziness does not vary with age. Nowadays, children spend almost half of their free time sitting, which has not considered school time. As many as 80% of people have barely moved their muscles during their waking days.
These numbers are terrible and will only get worse. Modern people are about 30% less active than their peers in the 1960s.
At this point, you may be wondering: What motivated this massive behavior change? Looking around, the answer is obvious. Have you seen a smartphone, TV, or computer nearby? Very lazy.
Are you hungry? There is no need to hunt bison like our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Just press a button, and you will receive a hand-delivered hamburger. Are you looking for entertainment? Turn on the TV instead of going to the old theater. Do you like social interaction? You can connect with people from all over the world without leaving home or moving your fingers.
It is undeniable that, as we know, technology has changed the world, but does it make human behavior better?
People were forced to move.
Unlike sloths, humans are not forced to stand still for several hours, which can have many harmful effects.
In addition to the increased risk of obesity, a sedentary lifestyle is also associated with decreased IQ, increased antisocial behavior, reduced concentration, memory loss, fell creative thinking, and even the global epidemic of mental illness, with particular attention to anxiety and depression.
A sedentary lifestyle can also accelerate aging and make us premature. Studies have shown that middle-aged people who sit for more than two to three hours a day lose their mental acuity faster than relatively active people.
If you are an active athlete, you may think that you are protected from these health effects. If you are an aspiring athlete, you can guarantee that you will eventually get a gym membership. I believe that going to the gym is not an option, at least not entirely.
Although 30 minutes of exercise is much better than eating on the sofa, training is not enough. Exercise guru Katie Bowman pointed out that short-term exercise is like taking vitamins to compensate for lousy eating habits-although they are helpful, they will not make you healthy.
To improve your overall health, please reduce your total sitting time. It means regular exercise throughout the day, not just sporadic high-intensity interval exercises. In other words, One hour of CrossFit cannot offset the eight hours in the cabin.
The first step to break the cycle of laziness? Place one foot in front of the other. It sounds effortless, but a recent survey found that only 17% of people run for themselves, and this statistic includes dog owners who don’t have much choice.
Are you ready to learn about the many benefits of walking? The next moment, you will fall into the position of one of the most innovative thinkers in history, and he did just that. Pack up and set off!
Walking makes your mind move.
Charles Darwin had to relocate in many ways.
Five years after returning from the now-famous Beagle trip, the young biologist worked hard to turn his field records into a fully realized theory of evolution. In the hustle and bustle of London, easier said than done. Darwin moved to a quiet corner of the English countryside.
There, he began to walk through the hilly meadows and dense forests along the outer ring every day, which he proudly called the “Road of Thought.”
The theory of evolution will soon appear here.
Darwin is not the only one who builds muscles. From Friedrich Nietzsche and Virginia Woolf to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, many great thinkers and innovators have done the same thing.
You may be wondering what the relationship between walking and thinking is? To answer this question, let us take a closer look at Darwin’s theory because it applies to humans.
Before the hunter-gathering era, our ancestors walked an average of 3,000 to 5,000 steps per day, just like modern people. However, unlike everyday people, their brains are not affected when their bodies are still because their physiological functions have been prepared—low activity.
Then the climate began to change, and our physiology also changed. Driven to a colder and poorer environment, people have to wander around searching for food—creative ways to fight predators and find non-toxic plants. Exercise and thinking are complementary. So far, biological anthropologist David Reichlen has called us “cognitive endurance athletes.”
Today, we have moved from hunting and gathering to the world of fast food and office work. Bad news? Humans are still biologically programmed to think and move at the same time. When we are sitting, our body will choose to save energy by reducing the brain’s capacity. Only when we start to exercise, our mind will begin to exercise again.
So next time you have a mental stalemate, follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin. Find your mindset and take a walk every day; your brain (and body) will thank you.
Exercise can also help deal with emotional problems.
Have you been told it is time to “go on”? It is no coincidence that the word “sports” occupies such a prominent position in this sentence. Exercise can play a good role in elevating mood and disrupt many mental activities.
Experiments show that moving forward physically can create a sense of emotional progress while promoting positive thinking. With every step you take, you will feel spiritual, away from the past and toward the future.
It means that exercise is beneficial for people who are prone to depression and ruminant. When you pass through physical space, you will find that you are mentally surpassing the problems in your mind.
The author’s classmate Markus Scotney suffered from severe depression as a teenager. Then he found that “running up the mountain and then up” could cheer him up.
Today, Marcus is a professional marathon runner. He set a record in one of the toughest races in Europe and completely changed his mental health in the process.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a marathon runner like Marcus to see the benefits of exercise for improving mood. After 20 minutes of brisk walking, endorphins begin to work wonders in the brain, relieve stress, and make you happier. Walking can also improve your mood. In people who tend to bend, correcting and enhancing gait has been shown to promote positive thinking.
If aerobic exercise is not your business, don’t worry! Depression can also be relieved by weight training such as weightlifting or martial arts. They make their own lives happier because of it.
If you are in an emotional stalemate, you may want to hide under the covers and enjoy Netflix. But Marcus’ example shows that you should do the opposite. Next time you feel depressed, get up and walk around, and don’t look back.
For best results, please exercise more, not harder.
Many people are frightened by the prospect of daily exercise. However, improving your physical and mental health does not necessarily mean climbing mountains or re-living as a hunter-gatherer. As a test, let us quickly travel to five world destinations: Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California.
These places do not seem to have much in common. Still, if you look closely at their populations, you will find a significant trend: the population of each tourist destination is ten times the average population. Live to be 100 years old. In addition, residents of these longevity hot spots have lower than average rates of dementia and mental health problems.
But these people rarely train, at least in the traditional sense. What are they doing, you might want to know? The answer is simple: you sit down, collect food, and then go. In other words, they do what the human body should do.
These citizens who walk around during the day will get rich rewards. Studies have shown that increasing bone weight, whether walking, running, or jumping happily, stimulates the release of an essential protein called osteocalcin, which improves memory and “may prepare the brain for future ages.”
Similarly, regular exercise can reduce the risk of lifelong dementia by 28%, which means that reducing sitting time by 25% can prevent more than 1 million new Alzheimer’s diagnoses worldwide.
Fortunately, you can fight sloths anywhere in the world, not just one of these longevity hotspots.
Generally, try to get up and exercise every 20-30 minutes every day. If this sounds overwhelming, remember that “exercise” does not necessarily mean running a marathon. On the contrary, it can be as simple as doing an excellent stretching exercise or using a high table during the workday. It could also mean attending a meeting or turning on the radio and dancing to your favorite song.
Finding time to move around in life is not a luxury or indulgence; it is necessary for a healthy and happy life.
Promote healthy habits from the beginning.
Of course, one person cannot break the vicious cycle of laziness among the entire species. To improve the health of human beings all over the world, we must work together and accept what the author said about the sports declaration.
The first step? Encourage regular exercise since childhood. As the 19th-century American social reformer Frederick Douglas said: “It is easier to raise strong children than to mend broken men.” As a child, you need to teach healthy habits, which will lead to longevity and positivity. Lay the foundation for your life.
Let us first consider where children spend most of their time: school. Around the world, many schools no longer prioritize physical education, shortening or even reducing physical education classes to devote more time to academic activities. Contradictory. As we know today, exercise is essential for creative thinking. When our body stops moving, our brain slows down.
Fortunately, some innovative educators have adopted this sport as their mission statement. Take Elaine Wiley, a Scottish elementary school teacher, for example. In 2012, she discovered that a sedentary lifestyle hurt students’ physical and mental health, so she took action. Once a day, she forces students to leave their desks, jog for 15 minutes or walk on the school playground-she calls it “a mile a day.”
Today, the Daily Mile has grown to 11,000 schools and more than 2 million children. In 2020, researchers conducted a study on 5,000 Daily Mile participants to measure the effects of exercise during school and found that children who regularly participate in Daily Mile perform better than their peers in cognitive and well-being tests. Not very active.
Another inspiring example is Finland: a country with the highest academic achievement in the world. Finnish students will have 15 minutes of rest for every 45 minutes of class to encourage them to do physical exercises, and their brains will thank them.
Encouraging early exercise can have profound effects, including improving overall IQ, reducing stress, improving memory, and even slowing down the aging process. Maintaining healthy exercise habits is one of the most important courses. We can teach our children important things, so it should have a place in the curriculum.