Every health guru tells you….
The way to burn calories is to get off the couch and MOVE MORE.
Running on a treadmill at the gym, will see you burn your accumulated fat stores, turning you into a lean machine. Granted it takes a huge amount of moving to get results, but increased physical activity is the ticket. Right ?
A group of researchers from Ohio State have discovered another “ticket”, to burn those extra fat layers.
The ticket ?
LIVING IN THE REAL WORLD.
No treadmills REQUIRED. Sign me up !
Mice growing up in a laboratory environment have it easy.
They get plopped into a nice warm box, the box is lined with fresh clean sawdust, so it is comfy right from the start. And clean………. actually this is problematic, requiring a little effort, you want your sawdust to smell like you.
On one side of the box, a giant water bottle dribbles water on demand. Next to this is a supply of mouse chow – food on demand. Regrettably the food is not the most tasty of things to eat, it is always the same, but it is full of calories and it is there.
Mice living in diggs seldom find themselves living alone….they have a box of “friends”. Okay, “friends” maybe a bit of an exaggeration, the box if full of same same faces, but there is always someone to share body heat with. And the sameness ensures, few disagreements.
I know, I know…..
How dare I say life is easy. Every now and again, lab mice have to deal with a BIG HAND reaching in to nab them. They get poked, prodded………… exterminated.
But, lab mice are a lot like modern humans – they’re really little couch potatoes.
Moving in lab diggs
Not all of them, some “lucky” mice have an exercise wheel, installed in their box.
They have the option to take a run. Of course, they’re going now where, but it is a way to while away the hours.
Lab mice that jog, tend to be skinnier, than mice that just sleep and eat. Once more, the same pattern holds for humans.
Moving out of lab diggs
Some scientists have noticed, lab diggs are UNNATURAL.
So they’re doing animal housing differently, creating spaces that are engaging places to live. More places to go, more mice to meet and more cool things to encounter.
REAL WORLD LIVING – in a laboratory setting.
Happy mice ?
Mice living in these spaces are HAPPIER ! Actually, it is a whole lot tougher – so they may not be all that much happier.
But they are SKINNIER.
And they’re not eating less or moving more. They have more brown fat – this is that fat that BURNS calories.
The fat just melts
The additional brown fat means the calories quite literally …. melt away. NO TREADMILL REQUIRED !
All that is REQUIRED, something TO DO and someone TO DO it with.
Four weeks of enriched living, leaves mice with 50 % less fat. NOT A TYPO. 50 % less – and the fat that is missing, the BAD STUFF, associated with health troubles.
Just like mice, humans are wired to be social. Even if you’re like me i.e. you have a personality which is allergic to people, you still need social interaction. (I avoid STRANGERS, this minimizes allergic reactions).
Not social media. Social interaction.
- Liking a photo of one of your 3000 facebook “friends” is not social interaction. Of course, feel free to LIKE me on facebook and PLUS ONE me on google plus.
- And watching a family sitcom on TV, is not the same as playing a family member in reality.
Loneliness is associated with ill health. Could it also be contributing to obesity ?
This study suggests so..
“It’s not just a sedentary lifestyle and high calorie foods, but an increasing lack of social engagement that is fuelling the obesity epidemic”
Keep it REAL
I suspect in our increasingly CONNECTED world, we’re connecting less and less. Connecting takes energy, calories not just emotional.
See if you can burn a few calories today by doing a little connecting.
DO SOMETHING cool, with SOMEONE.
PS. Try do something that does not involve eating – so many social interactions end up being eating opportunities.
Dinner racing is common practice, and there is always a pace setter in the race. It is good to know who this is, then do your best to avoid fitting in
Modern youth are abandoning the kitchen table and deserting the TV – meal time is spent socializing with a thousand good friends on facebook.