Just One Thing - with Michael Mosley

By BBC Radio 4

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Category: Health & Fitness

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 Jun 3, 2022

 May 9, 2021


If time is tight, what's the one thing that you should be doing to improve your health and wellbeing? Michael Mosley reveals scientifically proven top tips to change your life.

Episode Date
Take a Break
In this episode, Michael reveals why adding regular breaks to your day can benefit your body, your mind and even your productivity. What’s more, if you allow your mind to wander freely during your breaks - no social media! - the benefits are even greater. Michael speaks to cognitive neuroscientist Professor Moshe Bar from Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv to find out exactly what goes on in our brains when we allow our minds to wander, and why it could be a good thing for mood, problem solving and creativity.
Jun 22, 2022
An Apple a Day
In this episode, Michael delves into the surprising research on the humble apple, revealing how it can help your heart, gut, and brain. He speaks to Dr Catherine Bondonno from Edith Cowan University in Australia to find out how and why simply eating more apples could reduce risk of dying early by up to 35%! They discuss what apples can do to our gut bacteria and blood vessels to keep them healthy. Meanwhile, our volunteer Lee overcomes sensory challenges, finding different ways of adding apples to his diet.
Jun 15, 2022
In this episode, Michael enters the world of creative fiction to discover how simply reading a story for half an hour a day can bring big benefits to your body and brain - from reducing stress and helping stave off depression, to strengthening your social skills and even helping you live longer! With the help of Professor Raymond Mar from York University in Toronto, Canada, Michael discovers why reading for pleasure could have such a significant impact on overall health and longevity, and delves into research revealing the unique benefits of reading narrative fiction.
Jun 08, 2022
In this episode, Michael uncovers the secret of mindfulness - how just a short mindful meditation a day can enhance your mood, your immune system and your brain. Our willing volunteer Peter has a go at ten days of daily mindfulness practice, and Dr Sara Lazar from Harvard University expertly guides Michael through the mechanisms by which meditation can train your attention, improve working memory, and even rewire your response to physical pain.
Jun 01, 2022
Enjoy Oily Fish
In this episode, Michael speaks to nutritional neuroscientist Dr Simon Dyall from the University of Roehampton to get to the bottom of the many benefits behind oily fish and Omega-3s. He finds out how consuming Omega-3 could affect your mood, your brain and even your walking speed! They discuss the different types of oily fish, other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, revealing why these fatty acids are so important.
May 25, 2022
Drink Coffee
Coffee drinkers rejoice! Did you know that a simple cup of coffee can improve your mood, boost your workout and even stimulate your brown fat, helping you burn calories? In this episode, Michael Mosley finds out all the benefits of our beloved bean - with research suggesting that it could help your brain and heart. What’s more, if you time it right, a simple cup of coffee could help you get more out of your workout and could even change the way you break down fat. Michael speaks to Professor James Betts at the University of Bath to find out how much coffee is the best dose, and what to bear in mind when having a cup.
May 18, 2022
In this episode, Michael gets out his dancing shoes & shines some light on the many benefits of dancing, revealing that dancing has been shown to be BETTER than traditional fitness exercises for improving your muscles, your balance and even the size of your brain. He speaks to professional-ballet-dancer-turned-neuroscientist Dr Julia F Christensen at the Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt, to find out how dancing can improve our balance and coordination, and trigger new connections in our brain, while our volunteer Lorne has a go at adding some disco dancing to her everyday routine.
May 11, 2022
Take a Nap
Michael reveals how getting some shut-eye during the day could boost your memory and your heart health - and even help your productivity! Research reveals that a simple daily nap could slash your risk of heart attack by half, and have a noticeable impact on your brain, by helping improve your emotional control and boosting memory. In this episode, our volunteer Caroline catches some Zzzs in between work meetings, while nap expert Dr Sara Mednick delves into the different stages of sleep, telling Michael when to nap, and for how long, for the greatest benefit.
May 04, 2022
Eccentric Exercise
In this episode, Michael reveals how the part of your workout that often feels easier - running downhill after a brutal run up to the peak, or lowering down weights rather than lifting them up - is one of the quickest ways to improve your strength and enhance your workout. It’s the flip side of a lot of movements you’ve already been focused on. To find out more, he speaks to Prof Tony Kay at the University of Northampton who delves into the bizarre benefits of Eccentric Exercise. He reveals why the muscle-lengthening phase of exercise is more effective than the muscle-contracting phase… and how lengthening your muscles is the key to stronger muscles, bones, a healthier heart, and could even help burn more calories than a seemingly tougher workout when you’re finished.
Apr 27, 2022
Eat Beetroot
In this episode, Michael explores the extraordinary effects of beetroot on your body and brain – from helping lower blood pressure to keeping your brain healthy as you age. He speaks to Professor Andy Jones from the University of Exeter who has found that simply drinking a shot of beetroot juice can improve your endurance during intense exercise by 16%, and finds out why these bright red jewels can have such significant benefits on your heart, your muscles and your brain.
Apr 20, 2022
Announcing Series 3 of Just One Thing
Michael Mosley looks ahead to the new series of his podcast in which he'll be revealing more surprisingly simple and scientifically proven ways to improve your health and wellbeing.
Apr 14, 2022
Stand Up
We are sitting more than ever before - and our sedentary lives are having a big impact on our long-term health. In this episode, Michael stands up to the allure of the couch and reveals the science behind how just standing up - without even doing any exercise - can burn more calories and lower blood sugar levels. With Dr John Buckley, Michael explores how the experience of astronauts in space proves how important the force of gravity is on our bodies - and how standing up can help keep our bones and muscles strong.
Oct 27, 2021
Drink Water
Did you know that even mild dehydration can have damaging effects to your cognition, mood, and physical and mental performance? But drinking litres of plain water every day isn’t necessarily the solution. In this episode, Michael debunks the many myths about how much water we should drink, and enlists the help of Dr Stuart Galloway, professor in exercise physiology from the University of Stirling, to reveal how much water we need, how to avoid the negative effects of mild dehydration, and how drinking water with every meal may even help to lose weight.
Oct 21, 2021
Think Yourself Stronger
Pumping iron in the gym is the only way to improve strength, right? Wrong. In this episode, Michael explores the power of the mind to boost strength by up to 24%... Our willing human guinea pig Tom has a go at improving his goal-shooting skills with his mind, and Michael speaks to cognitive neuroscientist Dr Helen O’Shea to reveal how your thoughts can influence your muscles and why it’s surprisingly similar to doing the actual thing.
Oct 14, 2021
Get Some Houseplants
Not only do they look good, but surprising research is revealing the health benefits of houseplants. In this episode, Michael Mosley explores the science, discovers which houseplants have the biggest impact, and reveals just how many you need in a room to feel the effects. Michael speaks to Dr Tijana Blanusa of the Royal Horticultural Society, to explore the science behind how houseplants can not only improve productivity and cognition at work, they can also improve air quality, helping you literally breathe easier.
Oct 07, 2021
Ever noticed how good singing makes you feel? In this episode, Michael is joined by comedian Sindhu Vee to embrace the joys - and health benefits - of singing on the top of your voice. He finds out all about its unique mood-lifting ability and how singing can produce similar effects to cannabis. He speaks to Dr Daisy Fancourt to find out about her research on revealing how singing can boost your immune system and how it could help treat chronic pain.
Sep 30, 2021
Play Video Games
Do you struggle with multi-tasking, filtering out distractions, and prioritising your to-do list? Believe it or not, video gaming might help. In this episode, Michael Mosley enters the world of gaming to find out how it can benefit our brains! He enlists the help of cognitive neuroscientist Professor Daphné Bavelier to find out how, to Michael’s surprise, video games could actually help improve our vision and what types of features we should look out for when we play...
Sep 23, 2021
Change Your Mealtimes
Can’t face cutting down on your favourite foods? In this episode, Michael Mosley speaks to Dr Emily Manoogian from the Salk Institute in California to find out how simply changing when you eat - not what you eat - could help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure and cut your risk of Type 2 diabetes. They reveal what exactly happens when your eating times work against your body’s internal rhythms, and why eating late at night can stop you from going to sleep.
Sep 16, 2021
Exercise Less, More Often
It can be hard to fit a full workout into every day - but it turns out you really don’t need to! In this episode, Michael enlists the help of Marie Murphy, Professor of Exercise and Health at Ulster University, to explore why doing short bursts of exercise can actually be more beneficial than a hard gym session. A brisk 10-minute walk here, taking the stairs there, and it really does add up.
Sep 09, 2021
Eat Chocolate
Could eating two squares of dark chocolate a day really help you reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease - and enhance blood flow to your brain? In this episode, Michael Mosley champions the wonders of chocolate. With the help of Professor Aedín Cassidy at Queen's University Belfast, he reveals the secret ingredients behind the benefits and why we should start to embrace the bitter taste of high cocoa chocolate.
Sep 02, 2021
Get Some Sun
In this episode, Michael reveals the power of the sun’s rays to lower blood pressure and improve your mood, bones, muscles and immune system. He challenges TV presenter Mehreen Baig to sunbathe herself healthy, and speaks to Professor Ann Webb at the University of Manchester to shed new light on how going out in the middle of the day is the best way to boost your Vitamin D, and how to do it safely depending on your skin type.
Aug 26, 2021
Count Your Blessings
Surprisingly simple ways to boost your health and wellbeing - in one easy step.
Jun 04, 2021
Hot Bath
In this episode, Michael takes a long soak in the bath, and explores why it might be good for our heart, metabolism and sleep. He speaks to one of the UK’s leading sleep experts, Professor Jason Ellis, Director of the Northumbria Sleep Centre, to find out why a hot bath a couple of hours before bed can help us get to sleep. They discuss the interplay of responses in your brain and body that work together to get your body ready for rest - and why a hot bath one to two hours before bed can help kick start the process… Crucially, it is not the warm, relaxing bath that’s important, but what happens afterwards.
May 27, 2021
Take A Breath
In this episode, Michael reveals how slowing down and focusing on your breath can have a wide-reaching effect on your body and brain - from reducing pain, to improving concentration. He speaks to psychologist and neuroscientist Professor Ian Robertson, Trinity College Dublin, who’s discovered how spending just a couple of seconds to control your breath can act as a powerful reset button for your brain.
May 20, 2021
Stand On One Leg
In this episode, Michael is reborn as a one legged yogi to reveal why the one leg stance is one the best thing you can do for a longer and more active life. He speaks to Professor Dawn Skelton at Glasgow Caledonian University, to find out what happens to your balance as you get older, why our balance is getting worse with each generation, and how regularly making yourself wobble could help improve your body and your brain.
May 13, 2021
Green Spaces
Michael explores the science behind the soothing power of nature, revealing how nature not only makes us feel good in the moment, but how it also has a more lasting effect on our stress levels and our mental health. Michael speaks to Professor Ming Kuo at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who has been looking into the surprising ways nature could be having an effect on your immune system and mind. They discuss everything from mood boosting microbes in the soil, to the aromatic chemicals released by plants that could be enhancing your immune system.
May 06, 2021
Intelligent Exercises
In this episode, Michael reveals the best exercises you can do – to help your heart and your brain. He now does press ups every morning – having discovered research that shows being able to do 10 could help you live longer, and doing 40 nearly doubles your protection against heart disease. But strength exercises can do more than just improve your muscle tone and heart. Michael speaks to Professor Damian Bailey at University of South Wales who’s been researching the effects of exercise on your brain. He’s discovered that one of the best exercises you can do to boost your brain power is the simple squat. Michael discovers how many and how long you need to do them for to get the best benefit – and it’s surprisingly little!
Apr 29, 2021
Learn a New Skill
From easing your nerves to improving concentration, in this episode Michael explores the hidden brain benefits of taking up a new hobby. He finds out why learning a new skill is one of the best things you can do for mental agility and speaks to Professor Alan Gow at Heriot-Watt University to discover the best - and most fun - ways to keep your brain active, and how taking on a new challenge could help build new connections in your brain, whatever your age!
Apr 22, 2021
Cold Shower
Michael delves into the science of cold water immersion, revealing how just a little bit of physical stress might go a long way to improve your heart health, boost your mood and help keep colds and flu at bay. To find out more, he speaks to Professor Mike Tipton from Portsmouth University who’s been researching exactly what happens in your body when you’re doused with cold water, and why it might have a positive impact on your body and brain, with lasting effects.
Apr 15, 2021
Eat Some Bacteria
In this episode, Michael speaks to expert Kirsten Berding Harold, University College Cork, for all the latest science on all things good bacteria. Our willing human guinea pig Clare has a go making her own kefir at home and Michael has a go at cultivating some healthy bacteria in the form of sauerkraut - which he claims is far simpler to make at home than you might think!
Apr 08, 2021
Early Morning Walk
Michael explores the secret power of early-morning light, revealing the surprising ways it can affect your brain to boost your mood and help get a better night’s sleep. But it’s not just when you go that’s important… He speaks to Marie Murphy, Professor of Exercise and Health at Ulster University, who’s shown how a simple change to the way you walk could cut your risk of heart disease by 20-50%.
Apr 01, 2021
Welcome to Just One Thing with Michael Mosley
If time is tight, what’s the one thing that you should be doing to improve your health and wellbeing? Michael Mosley introduces his new series in which he reveals surprisingly simple tips that are scientifically proven to change your life.
Mar 26, 2021