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Adventure : Fitness

Spinal Implant Enables Exercise for Paralyzed Limbs

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Engineers have developed a microchip muscle stimulator that can be implanted into the spinal canal, allowing paraplegics to exercise paralyzed muscles, ScienceDaily reports.

The implant, which is the size of a child's fingernail, is the first device small enough to be inserted into the spinal canal and contains electrodes and muscle stimulator in one, providing better and more muscle stimulation. 

"Stimulation of more muscle groups means users can perform enough movement to carry out controlled exercise such as cycling or rowing," said Professor Andreas Demosthenous, who led the project.

According to ScienceDaily, the chip could also be used to restore functions such as bladder stimulation and suppress spasms.

--Nick Davidson

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Stuff You Should Click On: Week of November 12

Obscure sports, a brief history of fossil fuels, "will write for ski swag," and... Dick Van Dyke?  Here's the stuff you click this week.

I Can Ride My Bike with No Handlebars:

Those Are 'Shrooms, Dude!
Making Plastic from Mushrooms (Wend)

It's a... headlampternpod?
Headlamp + Lantern + Tripod = Sheer Brilliance (Wired)

Want Some Ski Swag? Use Your Words:
An Essay Contest? An Essay Contest (

I Think We're Going to Need Some More Sunscreen:
California's Whales Suffer Sunburn (NewScientist)

Beats Community Service:
Irish Judge Sentences Man to Climb Mountain (

In Case You Missed It:
Nikolai Novosjolov Wins Epee Title (ESPN)

Live Like the Other Half:
A Training Plan: for Spectators (Runner's World)

A Brief History of Fossil Fuels:

Never a Dull Moment:
Porpoises Rescue Dick Van Dyke on His Surfboard (Surfersvillage)

--Michael Webster

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How Height Effects Your Metabolism

Photo courtesy of SashaW on Flickr

If you and a shorter friend go for a walk, your friend will burn more calories. That is the gist of a new study published today in the Journal of Experimental Biology, according to Science magazine.

"When walking the same distance, short people burn more calories per pound of body weight than do tall people," writes Science, because short people have to work harder to get there by taking more steps.

For the study titled Why Big People Walk More Economically Than Small People, researchers measured the metabolism and biomechanics of 48 children and adults as the subjects walked on a treadmill. Everyone burned the same amount of calories per pound per step, but the children had to take more steps to cover the same distance.

Don't worry, tall people, you still have a metabolic advantage. Chances are your basal metabolic rate-- the minimum amount of calories you need to function--is higher than that of your short friend.

--Erin Beresini

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The Top 10 Blogs from October

What made big news last month? Scroll down to find out. Here are the top 10 posts from October. At least you'll be armed with good dinner party conversation.

Number 10: The Top 10 Adventures in Scotland


Number 9: The Top 10 Things To Do in Tofino


Number 8: Fatal Shark Attack in California

Picture 2

Number 7: Red Bull Stops Stratos: Freefall Jump from 120,000 Feet

Number 6: The Gear Junkie Interview: Clif Bar's Gary Erickson

Number 5: The Marathon Diaries: The Stubborn Gene

Number 4: Gear Army: CW-X Running Tights


Number 3: Twitter Contest: Win Custom Folsom Skis

[Editor's note: Sorry, contest ended October 31st. But follow us on Twitter and you'll find other contests worth entering]


Number 2: The Top 10 Fitness Trends of 2011

Number 1 (and reigning champion for two months!): Woman Saves Choking Bear


Anything we missed that you'd like to share?

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Former Child Soldier Becomes Fitness Warrior


Tchicaya Missamou, once a child soldier in the Republic of Congo, is now helping hundreds of Americans shape up in his Warrior Fitness Camp in California, CNN reports.

As a child in the Republic of Congo, Missamou was taught brutality and forced to participate in taking lives. Later, he joined the country's elite military force. To avoid fighting, he began a private security militia that helped white families flee during the Republic of Congo's civil war in 1997, though even his own men turned against him and brutalized his family, setting fire to their home while some were still inside. Missamou managed to escape and fled to the United States.

Missamou quickly joined the U.S. military and was soon leading men into battle in Iraq. After eight years of service and a harrowing return to the Republic of Congo that landed him in jail there, Missamou opened his gym, offering "warrior" classes to help Americans shed pounds and gain self-confidence.

"You're going to see them rolling, sweating, and crying," he told CNN. His tough training style includes spraying clients with water as they don a full military pack and pull dollies piled with tractor tires. "My workout is a mind game," he says, "because I believe when your mind is strong, your body will be strong."

Missamou, who recently published his memoir In the Shadow of Freedom, also lectures around the country on the plight of child soldiers in Africa, CNN says. "All my life, I lived in the shadow of freedom," he told CNN. Now, "I am not dreaming freedom. I am living freedom."

--Nick Davidson

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