We were hiking a new section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the Eno River today when we came upon an old rail line, which I realized was the Norfolk Southern line that, for a while, looked like it might turn into a rails-to-trails project running from Person County south to downtown Durham. Downtown Durham and rails-to-trails projects reminded me of the American Tobacco Trail, the northern end of which begins downtown, near the American Tobacco Complex. The ATT reminded me of a gaping gap I’d been wondering about lately, which reminded me to call Dale McKeel when I got home. Which I did.
You’ve got more important things to do today than read a long, windy blog. Like vote and get in some exercise — which you can likely do at the same time.
I just got back from fulfilling both my obligation as a member of the greatest democracy mankind has known, and my obligation to my body. Walked about a mile to my polling place, voted, walked another half mile to Starbucks where I celebrated the privilege of being part of the greatest democracy mankind has known with a little caffeine, walked a mile and a half home. Fulfilled my duty as a citizen, did my heart and assorted other body parts good in the process. And, a caffeinated beverage. Is this a great country or what?
You’ve seen people jogging on the greenway or plodding away on the treadmill, oblivious to all but the ear buds pumping a driving beat into their ears. And, according to science, pumping an extra boost of juice into their workout. The American Council on Exercise recently reviewed seven studies conducted since 1999 that all agreed that listening to music has a positive impact on your workout. (There’s a caveat, but first the facts.)
Another reason you should go for a walk today: Putting in six to nine miles a week may help you remember that you left your keys in the freezer. This from a University of Pittsburgh study published in the journal Neurology that followed 300 seniors whose average age was 78 at the beginning of the study in 1989. Over time — about 13 years — one-third had developed “mild cognitive impairment or dementia.” But testing showed that more active walkers in the group had more gray matter and thus better cognitive skills. Thus, they were able to remember that after getting home from the grocery their hands were full as they pushed their way through the front door, climbed the stairs, entered the kitchen, shimmied the freezer door open with an elbow and put the ice cream in the freezer — along with the keys they were still clasping in their right hand.
Last week I heard an ominous observation on a British TV show. The context escapes me, but the phrase, intended as a benign descriptor, stuck. In referring to the United States, the narrator referred to us as “currently the most powerful nation in the world.”