Right or left? Chicken or fish? Stairs or elevator? Sneak a piece of chocolate now when your kids might catch you and you’ll have to share or later when they’re asleep but you’ll probably end up eating the whole bag?
Decision making is part of life and a new study could shed light on how exercise helps us make decisions more quickly. I say could because the results might take a while: scientists are studying snails to try to pinpoint the link between exercise and decisiveness. That’s right, folks, snails. You know, the first animal you think of when you hear the word “exercise”.
The scientists put the snails into uncomfortably shallow water, “forcing” the shell-haulers to walk around the tank looking for deeper digs. Then they put the snails on dry land to see how long it takes them to make a decision (right or left? stairs or elevator?) and act on it. Apparently, snails who have been walking for a couple hours decide faster than snails who’ve been been soaking in deep water for hours. Why study Speedy Gon-mullusks? Their nervous systems are simple and straightforward so scientists can draw conclusions quickly.
The thought of snails with sweatbands and Spandex shell coverings is funny, but do you have a better reason than that for bringing this up, Katie? Barely. I mean, yes! And here it is: if exercise can improve the mental capacity of a snail, then imagine what it can do for us! Exercise-even walking at a snail’s pace-not only strengthens bones and muscles, helps fight heart disease and a host of other medical woes, improves sleep, and boosts energy, it also increases blood flow to the brain which helps the brain work better and-as the snails will testify-faster. Some of us feel like snails when we exercise, but this escargot study is showing that it’s not the speed that counts, it’s the fact that you’re moving. If you don’t want to exercise for your body, do it for your neurons.
One more cool thing and then I’ll share a snail joke.
I learned about this snail study on a radio show called The Strong Road (think Car Talk but about the Bible). I was a guest on the show on Sunday September 18th (you’ll need to know this when you look up my interview in their archives). The snail story was part of their (tongue in cheek) Biggest News Story of the Week. You can listen to the show anytime on the APH Radio app (download, look for The Strong Road, then choose 9-18-2016) and more info is available on The Strong Road Facebook page.
We talked about my Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating book and how the Bible plays into weight loss. I come in around minute 16, but they discuss the book earlier than that as well. They seemed to get distracted after reading the first word of the title: “We have a special guest coming up on the show today. She’s written a book called Sex….I love it already, who cares what the rest of the title is.” Funny guys. I have a new favorite radio show to listen to while I cook!
And now for the joke, courtesy of http://www.manandmollusc.net/jokes.html.
A guy goes to a Halloween party with a girl on his back.
The host asks him, “And what are you?”
The guy says, ” I’m a snail.”
The host says “And who’s that on your back?”
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. Psalm 145:8