Science Discovers Brain Region Linked to Exercise Motivation

It’s no secret that the Internet is a vast cosmos of information. What you do with your time online can be literally anything your heart desires, from learning Mandarin to playing Candy Crush.

Sadly, it seems that there are more distractions – “brain candy” – than there are educational tools. Amidst the sea of garbage celebrity Twitter accounts and fringe pornography that’s just… weird, there are beautiful islands of intelligence. For example, I *expletive* Love Science (iflscience.com) is generally the first place you should check for daily updates on subjects like environment, technology, and, in today’s case, the brain.

Scientists have recently isolated the area of the brain in mice that causes them to become actively engaged in, well, being active. The dorsal medial habenula is similar in both mice and men, and has been proven in studies to regulate the desire to partake in activities such as running on the traditional wheel. When this region is inhibited, scientists noted that the mice “essentially became couch potatoes”, according to Eric Turner of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

couchmouse
To prove my earlier point, the Internet has at least one picture of a mouse on a decorative couch.

What does this have to do with readers of Mountain Life? It’s simple. While the study and subsequent news stories concentrate on the potential this discovery has to treat and maybe cure depression, it’s a little simpler with us outdoorsy folk.

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We all know that person who just doesn’t get our lifestyle. The ones that choose to spend money on a gym to run on a treadmill when we choose to go for a run in the woods.  The ones who post all of those god damn cat videos on the most effective drug of this generation: Facebook. Or the ones that just don’t “get” skiing.

With a little research, the possibility of getting those people onto “The Dark Side” –  our side.  Not that we need them. It’d just be nice to get our family and friends into a different mindset.  All it takes is stimulation of the dorsal medial habenula, and Dad will be outgunning you on the singletrack.

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