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Mind on the move: does walking make us smart?

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Around 4.4 million years ago, the ancestors of man developed the upright gait. Up until the emergence of Homo sapiens 200,000 years ago, the volume of the brain ‹‹ ›tripled›. It is undisputed that walking upright has shaped brain development. Because both the upright gait and the large brain are the characteristics of Homo sapiens that make up its evolutionary success over competing animals. Scientists now want to investigate the connections.

Will Homo sapiens become Homo sedens?

Time is running out. Because compared to the dimensions of human history, it only took the blink of an eye for everything to change. We have only been moving less and less for around 150 years, since the beginning of mass mobility. Hunters and gatherers, cattle breeders and arable farmers, and even industrial workers, were still constantly on the move. What happens to Homo sapiens when it becomes Homo sedens? Eyesight, back pain and obesity are obvious consequences. Thanks to scientific studies and brain scans, we are beginning to suspect that the spiritual consequences are also serious. As toddlers we crawl and crawl the world, and we may keep this form of learning about the body and about the spaces that body traverses throughout life.

The close correlation between mind and movement also offers opportunities: movement scientists use the latest research findings to detect dementia or Parkinson's earlier on the basis of movement patterns and to prevent old-age diseases.