Healthy Bits

By AFM Team – June 1, 2014

Texting while walking can be more dangerous than you might think. Sure, everyone understands the negative implications of being distracted while moving, but a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia) and published in PLOS ONE, a science and medicine journal, found that the act of texting while walking actually changed the pedestrian’s gait…for the worse. Whether reading or writing texts, the body was held in a more rigid position, everything stiffened, range of motion in the neck was limited, and walkers moved more slowly and were less able to hold a straight line. Short term, this change in gait can lead to discomfort. Long term, this type of rigid, limited posture leads to falls—researchers know this from studying aging, as it’s a common injury among the less flexible elderly.

Are you having trouble powering through your creative brainstorming session? You might want to consider getting up and going for a walk. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition found that study participants who got up for a short walk increased their creativity on the Guilford’s alternate uses test by 81 percent. So step away from your desk, and get your legs moving.

If you’re having trouble sleeping or relaxing, L-tryptophan, an amino acid, might be missing from your diet. According to the International Journal of Tryptophan Research, this amino acid is not only an essential component of the human diet and critical to metabolic function, it also plays a major role in synthesizing brain serotonin. Serotonin can create feelings of well-being and can be converted into melatonin, the chemical that regulates sleep. Tryptophan can be found in a number of products (cheese, tofu, and milk) but is said to be most abundant in kefir, a tangy-tasting drink made from cow’s milk and fermented with abundant pro-biotic bacteria. And, no, it’s not L-tryptophan in turkey that makes you sleepy at Thanksgiving; while turkey does contain the amino acid, chicken actually has more L-tryptophan than turkey.



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