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Monday, August 16, 2010

Lifestyle Shift

Trevor and I read an intriguing book whilst on our travels this past few weeks - we actually read several intriguing books, but one that has inspired a lifestyle shift at our house.

It is fascinating and written by this man. My mother went to a conference he was speaking at and recommended his book, Brain Rules, and we LOVED it.

I have been thinking about several of the ideas he introduces and the different things he suggests. PLUS, the man is a lovely writer. The writing is very scientific and research driven, yet the concepts leap off the page and stick with you (which makes sense as one of his main posits is that our brains don't pay attention to boring things).

The very first idea Medina mentions is that our fancy brains did not become fancy by lounging around - he cites loads of research suggesting that our early ancestors walked and walked and walked (not unlike pioneer children) and that is a major component in how human intelligence was honed and sharpened. Medina's big complaint is that we have become a stationary society. And the man isn't far off on that observation. Instead of exploring the more obvious and extensively discussed consequences of this societal shift like obesity, health care cost and shorter life expectancy, Medina instead looks at how all the sitting around we do (at work, at school, at home) effects our brain.

He has some great suggestions for incorporating more movement into educational and work environments. But what I like most are his ideas about incorporating exercise into our daily lives, without necessarily setting aside more time to exercise. His idea is to take things we are already doing and add exercise to them. One such suggestion was to read reports, books, etc while walking on a treadmill.

Most of you know that I have been studying my tail off for the GRE Lit Subject test, so tonight I walked and studied that tail off simultaneously.

Admittedly, it took some getting used to. My brain is not used to walking and reading together, but after about ten minutes I found a groove and worked up a smooth-sailing sweat while reviewing the great works of Christopher Marlow (I may never get the phrase, "Come live with me and be my love..." out of my brain, which is Medina's point and which - when it comes to my test - is a good thing.).

It was exhilarating. And I am not sure if it is an exercise-endorphin or simply great pleasure at my multiple accomplishments that has me grinning from ear to ear. Either way - I think this is a lifestyle shift I want to embrace and keep.

So, I may be upping my pace a bit tomorrow night and hitting Sir Walter Raleigh's works.

****Just a disclaimer to very Christian readers: Medina comes from an entirely evolutionary based view point, and that is pretty foundational to all of his arguments. So that might be a turnoff for creationists - but if you can, take it with a grain of salt and look for the truth that is in all things and positions - the ride is completely worth it.

1 comment:

Kersten said...

Interesting I'll have to check out that book. You may find this article interesting..."Is Google Making Us Stupid?" http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/6868/...not exactly scientific, but interesting non the less.