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How to make time for exercise — even on your craziest days
A new study shows choosing to be active is a lot of work for our brains. Here are some ways to make it easier.
There's no shortage of science suggesting that exercise is good for your mental as well as your physical health — and yet for many of us, incorporating exercise into our daily routines remains a struggle. A new study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, asks why. Shouldn't it be easier to take on a habit that is so good for us?
The study's answer points towards what's holding us back: According to the researchers, picking physically active behaviors over sedentary ones actually requires more brain power than picking active behaviors over sedentary ones. Whether it's evolutionary or cultural, our brains seem to be wired to have an easier time lying on the couch than running on the treadmill — or even out in the park.
This means that it's crucial to have structures in place that help you keep active, even when your brain is already tired out and would love some couch-lounging. Your brain will reap the benefits if you force it to: you'll find that moving around even just a little bit will leave you less stressed, in a better mood — and even more energetic.
Here are a few microsteps to get yourself working out:
Pick a regular (sedentary) part of your existing routine and switch it out for an active choice
A great bet for incorporating change into your routine is attaching it to an already familiar habit. You may currently be in the habit of taking the elevator up to your office, using the closer train entrance or parking lot on your morning commute, or standing in front of the mirror as you brush your teeth and floss every night. Instead of the elevator, take the stairs; instead of using the nearest entrance or lot, budget a few extra minutes and walk to the farther one; instead of standing still as you floss, walk around your house. Small changes like these are a structured way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine without making any significant changes. Because they are attached to habits you already have, they should be easier to make routine.
Pinpoint the most frustrating, stressful part of your week, and commit to movement right after that
This could be a weekly meeting or work task, or a regular phone call with one of your parents — simply pinpoint a moment of peak stress in your week. Then, commit to some physical activity immediately afterwards. Hold yourself accountable by writing a note to yourself in your calendar or an iPhone reminder. Depending on where and when this moment of stress happens, that activity could be as quick as running down the office stairs for a walk around the block, or as comprehensive as scheduling in gym time or a quick run. Whatever the activity is, sticking to it in those moments of tension will have an outsize effect on your stress by catching it immediately and diffusing tension through movement.
Work out while you watch TV
This is one of my favorites: You get to indulge the part of your brain that's telling you to lie down on the couch while actually circumnavigating laziness. There are tons of exercises you can do while sitting or lying down in front of a show — pilates leg exercises are particularly great, because they often don't require moving your upper body and interrupting your viewing experience. And there are plenty of videos with clear instructions to get you started on Youtube — run a quick search and find some moves that work for you. Every time you settle in for an hour of TV, take the first twenty minutes to exercise, as well.
— Published on September 24, 2018--
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Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
A scientist in Sweden makes a controversial presentation at a future of food conference.
- A behavioral scientist from Sweden thinks cannibalism of corpses will become necessary due to effects of climate change.
- He made the controversial presentation to Swedish TV during a "Future of Food" conference in Stockholm.
- The scientist acknowledges the many taboos this idea would have to overcome.
Depiction of cannibalism in the Medieval ages.
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President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.
A new coronavirus vaccine on display at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/ Russian Direct Investment Fund via AP
Medical workers draw blood from volunteers participating in a trial of a coronavirus vaccine at the Budenko Main Military Hospital outside Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.
- In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
- Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
- It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
Talkspace.com<p>Former employees also questioned the legitimacy of certain interventions by the company into client-therapist interactions. For example, after one therapist sent a client a link to an online anxiety worksheet, a company representative instructed her to try to keep clients inside the app.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I was like, 'How do you know I did that?'" Karissa Brennan, a therapist who worked with Talkspace from 2015 to 2017, told the Times. "They said it was private, but it wasn't."</p><p>Other former employees said the company would pay special attention to its "enterprise partner" clients, who worked at companies like Google. One therapist said Talkspace contacted her for taking too long to respond to Google clients.</p><p>Talkspace responded to the Times with a Medium <a href="https://medium.com/@founders_22883/talkspace-founders-respond-to-a-new-york-times-article-78d6f5c45c59" target="_blank">post</a>, which claimed the Times report contained false and "uninformed assertions."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Talkspace is a HIPAA/HITECH and SOC2 approved platform, audited annually by external vendors, and has deployed additional technologies to keep its data safe, exceeding all existing regulatory requirements," the post states.</p>