Walking Is Good For You

January 24, 2019

So I wrote a post a few weeks ago about an interesting article where doctors were prescribing taking a hike for their patients. This got me thinking about something I'd heard before, but that was not specifically mentioned in the article, that of the benefit to joints from free walking.

I first heard about the joint benefits of free activity in the context of weight lifting. This is pretty much what you think it might be. Rather than using weight machines, you literally just pick up the weight directly and in the process of doing so your main muscles get worked, but so do your supporting muscles and ligaments and this adds not only to your direct lift capability but also makes your muscles more robust and less likely to suffer injuries. Nassim Nicholas Taleb would call this being antifragile. Weightlifters who follow this protocol appreciate the extra strength benefits, but mostly do it for the durability that it builds into their joints. This is also a compelling reason for recommending that people use kettlebells in their workouts because the non-linear movements that most kettlebell exercises require cause even greater ancillary muscle and ligament strength.

Well, it turns out that the same principle that helps free weightlifters also helps freewalkers. When walking on a flat uniform surface, the ancillary muscles and ligaments get very little use and hence do not strengthen significantly from the exercise. In contrast, when a person walks on a rough surface, their ancillary muscles are forced to do more work to support the ankles and knees and help keep the person upright and balanced. This has the same benefits that free weightlifters get. The walkers get stronger muscles and their joints get tougher and less likely to suffer injury from unexpected lateral movements.

Here are a couple of articles that say the same thing with more sciencey words.

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Quicksort With Hungarian Folk Dance

January 17, 2019

Sometimes the Interwebs are truly as awesome as we all hoped they'd be back at the start of the millennium.

For your edification today we have the classic computer science algorithm for Quicksort presented flawlessly through Hungarian Folk Dance.

If this outstanding (and world class) geekiness has gripped you tight, fear not, there are other videos using other music styles to demonstrate other algorithms.

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Getting Old

January 7, 2019

The driver of the blue route in the afternoon has a tendency to leave the radio set to the local classic hits station, so when I start it up in the morning, I get whatever classic hit they're playing at that time. I hadn't listened to the classic station for several years, but was pretty sure that they played stuff that my parents used to listen to. Well, lately the station has been playing songs that are squarely from my teens and I'm starting to feel old.

This morning, they were blasting Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. This song was huge during my late teens and was also used as the theme music for the American Footbal show on Channel 4 back in England. Given that misery loves company, I'll share it with you as well. You get the instrumental version, as I don't think that the lyrics come anywhere close to being considered family friendly.

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New Years Day Walk

January 1, 2019

Well-bundled for a New Year's Day Walk

One of our family traditions is to take a walk on New Year's Day in our local state park, Governor Dodge State Park, which is just a few minutes north of Dodgeville. The weather cooperated and provided us nearly 3 inches of snow the night before so that our walk was delightfully wintry with lots of fresh snow. While cold, the air was almost completely still, so after bundling up, we were cozy and warm.

Iowa County North of Govenor Dodge State Park

After our walk we then took the long way home on county highway ZZ and captured the above scene looking North towards the Wisconsin river.

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Take A Walk

December 30, 2018

So, it turns out that my mother was right. And likely every other mother in the history of mothers. Going outside is officially good for you.

Scottish doctors are now issuing prescriptions to go hiking

When I was a lad, growing up in England, I played outside on a regular basis. As often as I could I would be outside. As I got bigger, my activities switched from playing to hiking and cycling. I would range all over the surrounding countryside that was close to my parents house as we lived at the edge of town. I couldn't even begin to number the miles that I've walked through fields or cycled down country lanes.

While I respect those who run, I've always been more of a walker/hiker. My constitution and leg strength are just more suited to distance walking. And with the exception of a small number of people with body types suited for distance running, most people get more benefit from brisk walking than running.

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