Go Hiking: It’s Better For You Than You Thought

hiking, walkingNot feeling healthy? Go hiking. Two new studies from the UK show that a hike, or even a good walk around the city streets, boosts mental and physical health.

A new survey by Ramblers, the British walking charity, found that a quarter of adults in Britain walk for an hour or less a week. And when they’re talking about walking, they don’t mean hitting the trails in the local nature reserve, they mean all types of walking, including walking to the shops, work or school. Presumably walking to the fridge to get another lager isn’t included. Of the more than 2,000 people surveyed, a staggering 43 percent said they walked for only two hours or less a week.

The Ramblers cites government health advisers who recommend that you get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Walking counts in this, and is one of the easiest ways to get fit. Not only does it reduce the risk of several physical ailments like heart disease, it reduces weight and improves mental activity and emotional well being. It also saves money on gas and public transport.
The British Heart Foundation has more details on their webpage.

Another new study shows that being outside more is more beneficial than we generally think. While many people worry about the harmful effects of the sun, a new study by Edinburgh University has found that UV rays cause the body to produce nitric oxide, a compound that reduces blood pressure. Researchers suspect that the benefits of exposure to the sun may outweigh the risks.

[Photo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources]

Best ESL video ever: Japanese diarrhea aerobics

Teaching English as a Second Language can be a great way to see the world. You actually get paid to be immersed in a foreign culture and spend all your time speaking with the locals!

Here in Madrid most of the Anglos I know are English teachers, but they all complain that it can sometimes be hard to engage students. That may be because they’re teaching in a traditional classroom environment, like this room full of bored Chinese students submitted by user Strudelmonkey to Gadling’s flickr pool. What not try something different to liven up the lesson?

Back in the Nineties, Fuji TV in Japan decided to break the mold, and came up with Zuiikin’ English, a combination of catchy tunes, scantily clad female exercise goddesses, and important phrases such as “I was robbed by two men” and “It’s your fault that this happened.”

By far the best is the one below, which shows you how to tell someone you’ve eaten some bad sushi and are now paying the price. Note the biologically appropriate pelvic movement.

The Internet being what it is, many of these aerobic sequences have made it onto YouTube, including ones on how to avoid sexual harassment and important phrases for surviving a mugging. It’s all very educational, but don’t expect to scare off your attackers by singing “spare me my life” while hopping up and down and smiling.

If you can read Japanese, check out Zuiikin’ English’s official website and start getting into shape!