Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Low energy levels lead to high-calorie intake...and low productivity

Having just proven my previous research correct, I just finished a bunch of cake. Late at night. When my will power was (is) low.

Studies and personal experience confirm how much easier it is to resist processed and high-calorie foods in the supermarket than in your fridge.

I pretend that putting desserts in the freezer will hide them from me and I won't remember to go for them. Except late at night, when I just KNOW they are there and sometimes give in.

While I'm not the only person that does this, it's still frustrating to feel full with no real benefits from the intake.

The key to these lapses may be our pre-snack energy levels because self-control requires energy (this downloads a PDF).

Monday, September 7, 2015

A dose (or two) of Nature

Doctor-recommended antidote to a whole host of office- and city-related ailments:

(and, of course, laughter is good for you too!)

According to a Harvard Med School review, various studies have found that people living near parks have fewer psychological problems than city residents who lack access to green spaces.

Trees are thought to improve our psychological, as well as our physical, health.

Visiting natural places has been shown to lower levels of stress hormones and lift our mood and decrease anxiety by literally changing our brain's functioning.  (scientific results here).

It also seems to improve our immune system and help us maintain focus.

Plus, walking or cycling through a local park or forest is often free!

So be safe, wear your sunscreen, take care with stormy weather, and discover (and support!) your local green spaces.

Here's mine -- Rock Creek Park (roughly 2,000 acres / 800 ha) in Washington, DC:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bikes work, even when you don't!

To all you cyclists: do you know how bikes stay so stable?  How they can even remain upright without a rider?

A bike pushed forward at sufficient speed will continue moving steadily forward on its own.....but why?  This video from Minute Physics explains the forces behind how bikes can steer even without a rider.

Basically, the handlebars need to be loose enough to help compensate for uneven ground and for the lean of the bike in either direction off center.

"For a bicycle to be stable, the steering mechanism has to be unstable; if the bike falls, the steering should fall even more quickly," says Arend Schwab, a Professor at Univ. of Delft in The Netherlands.

A little quantitative, but fun and informative on a machine many of us use daily for the most mundane of tasks.  Enjoy!

of course!
photo: BikeParkSlovenia