by and large, the research has shown that for people predisposed to migraines, regular exercise, at least a few times a week, either does no harm or may have modest benefits.
From the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest blog.
Note, for those who don’t have an instinctive sense for metric temperature measurements (ahem), 2.5 degrees Celsius is 36.5 degrees Fahrenheit; 14.6 C is 58 F.
People underestimate the psychological benefits of spending time in nature. That’s according to Elizabeth Nisbet and John Zelenski who say the consequence is that people spend less time outside in green spaces than they would do otherwise: this undermines their affiliation with the natural world and reduces the likelihood that they will care about the environment.
One hundred and fifty Carleton University students participated in what they thought was a study of “personality and impressions of the campus area”. Carleton is located in Ottawa, with a green corridor that runs through the city located nearby. Half the students took a 17 minute walk - either along a canal path near the campus to an arboretum, or via underground tunnels used on campus for getting around. Afterwards they completed questionnaires about how they felt. The other students predicted how they would feel, either after the outdoor, nature-filled walk or after the tunnel walk, but they didn’t actually take the walk. Both routes were equally familiar to all the students. The study was conducted on dry Autumn days with temperatures ranging from 2.5 to 14.6 degrees Celsius.
The key findings are that students felt more positive emotions after the natural walk than they did after the tunnel walk, but that those in the forecasting condition underestimated the positive benefits of a natural walk and overestimated the positive benefits of the tunnel walk. The students in the natural walk condition also reported feeling more connected to nature, an association that was mediated by their more positive emotions.
A second study was similar to the first, but this time the students who took the walks were the same ones who made predictions about how they’d feel afterwards. Also, different indoor and outdoor routes were used. Exactly the same findings were observed - students felt in a better mood after outdoor, natural walks and more connected with nature, yet they failed to anticipate the magnitude of these benefits.
What Should Your Step Count Goal Be?
Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke recommends the following based on research:
Classification of pedometer-determined physical activity in healthy adults:
1) Under 5000 steps/day may be used as a “sedentary lifestyle index”
2) 5,000-7,499 steps/day is typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise and might be considered “low active.”
3) 7,500-9,999 likely includes some exercise or walking (and/or a job that requires more walking) and might be considered “somewhat active.”
4) 10,000 steps/day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as “active”.
5) Individuals who take more than 12,500 steps/day are likely to be classified as “highly active”.
From a post at Barefoot Running University.
For me, the scariest part of this debate isn’t that people object to the premise of barefoot or minimalist shoe running. The scariest part is they seem to completely dismiss the idea. There’s two competing hypotheses:
1. Humans have an innate “best running form” which takes advantage of our physiology. This form can be seen in children running without shoes. Based on this hypothesis, humans have been running successfully barefoot or in minimalist shoes for at least tens of thousands of years. This is the premise behind barefoot running, and by extension, minimalist shoe running. It’s the idea that you’re a strong, capable organism able to do wonderful things under your own power.
2. The vast majority of humans are inherently flawed and require special artificial devices and technologies built into special shoes in order to run. Since we are all flawed, we need experts to design special plastic, leather, and rubber shoes and shoe inserts that will allow us to run. Based on this hypothesis, our species have only been successful runners for about three or four decades. This is the same group that will claim heel striking is natural. It’s the idea that we’re weak, feeble piles of goo incapable of even the simplest forms of movement without the aid of a magical device.
For some people, #2 may be a better option. After all, there is no one right answer for all people. But is this the way we want to frame all human movement? We’re all fundamentally flawed and need artificial technology?