Jumping – and then there’s that doorway!


It’s still January and at this point many of us have made New Year resolutions. Some of them we’ve already forgotten about or found them too difficult to keep. I don’t do that anymore … it’s just too stressful. Here is my attempt at helping you with your life for the New Year.
The first suggestion will aid in your exercise and body image improvement. The second one hopefully will ease your mind and explain a common problem we all have.
To begin with, if you were a young girl in the 1950s or ‘60s, you knew how to jump rope. The most common form was regular jumping, where a person turns the rope at each end and a third one jumps. Then sometimes we had two ropes going the opposite direction called double-Dutch, and you had to jump side to side very quickly to get over both ropes. We didn’t realize what good exercise it was then. It was just part of our recess routine.
To aid in self improvement, the rope sells for under $20, fits in a briefcase and can be used by the whole family. What a great piece of exercise equipment. Using it for just 15 to 20 minutes will burn off the calories of a candy bar! It dates back to our youth, but that’s the modern day billing for a jump rope!
For beginners, a beaded rope is recommended because it holds its shape and is easier to control. Before you begin, adjust the rope by stepping on it and stretching it so that the handles reach your armpits. Then you need a 4×6 ft. area to jump in. Don’t jump on carpet. It can grab your shoe and maybe twist your ankle – that would be very bad! Also don’t jump on grass or asphalt. The experts recommend jumping on a wood floor or putting down a piece of plywood on top of tile or asphalt if necessary. You could also use an impact mat made for exercise. Of course, as a kid all we had was asphalt, but our bodies were really resilient when we were eight years old.
The website, webMD, suggests to do 50 to 200 repetitions and then stop the rope, march a little bit in place and go back to jumping. You’ll have more endurance that way. Also, start very slowly and make sure your heart is up to it.
This exercise from our elementary school days can put direct stress on your knees, ankles and hips, but the experts say if done properly, it provides less impact on your body than jogging. Jumping rope strengthens the upper and lower body and burns a lot of calories in a short time. It may not be right for everyone but if it’s right for you, it’s the way to go.
Now just to ease your mind, we’ve all experienced this – the common and annoying event of arriving in a different room only to realize you’ve forgotten what you went there to do. We all know why such forgetting happens – we didn’t pay enough attention, too much time passes, or too many things are on our mind. But a completely different idea comes from a team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame. The first part of their paper’s title sums it up:  “Walking through doorways causes forgetting.”
It turns out it’s not really a sign of age because old people and young people all do this. There’s a thing called an “event boundary” experienced when entering or exiting through a doorway. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale. College students participated in the experiment through three different tasks and each continued to show that when walking the same distance across the room or through a doorway, results were different. While in the same room, the task was remembered and after passing through a doorway or an “event boundary” they were more likely to forget why they were there. Sometimes I find myself saying several times – what I am going to the new room to do- so I won’t forget.
This may also explain why when I go back to the room where I had the original thought, I can remember what it was that I went to the other room to do. I’m sure the same thing happens to you.
Before I began this research, I had no idea that this is the well-documented phenomenon of walking into a room and forgetting why you are there. Why is it that the one organ of our body that can keep us breathing while we are sleeping seems to be unable to remind us of why we stepped into the kitchen.
Whew, scientific proof. What a relief to learn this! Thank goodness for studies like this. It’s not a mental problem, it’s that darn doorway!
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)

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