Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Jay Ingram Gives His Secret to Vitality

“There’s nothing more fun than being a nerd!” says Jay Ingram, the Canadian science broadcaster and writer who hosted Daily Planet for sixteen years. At sixty-nine years young, Ingram’s eternal youth is seen regularly through his work. He’s done some really cool things up to this point, like running into a velcro wall, taking a few (fake) punches, hosting three hours of live coverage of a spaceship landing to Mars that never actually landed and – coming soon – taking a bath in a chocolate bathtub.

Ingram is most popular for having been the host of Daily Planet – or @Discovery.ca, as it was originally titled – from the channel’s start in 1995 to Ingram’s retirement in June 2011, where he was succeeded by Dan Riskin. However, an honorable mention is that he also took over for David Suzuki to host Quirks and Quarks on CBC Radio One from 1979 to 1992. The author of several bestselling books, Ingram has received three Canadian Science Writers’ Awards, and since 2005 he’s held the chair in science communications at the Banff Centre. In 2009, Ingram was made a Member of the Order of Canada for his contributions towards making complex science accessible to the public as a broadcaster, public speaker and author, and for his leadership of future generations of science journalists.

The broadcaster and writer’s invigorating ability to make science relatable through non-scientific terms has made studies and experiments accessible to a wide range of audiences, expanding peoples’ knowledge about the world around them. But after reaching so many milestones, you have to wonder – what keeps the senior constantly excited to continue his persuit to teach people about science?

“I started to feel that way when I was in university, but I also realized that it wasn't so much working in a lab that turned me on, but thinking and talking about the entire range of cool stuff that was coming out of hundreds of labs,” says Ingram. “And science doesn't just inform us about the world around us, it fills in the blanks about ourselves.”

The Torontonian, who’s been living in Calgary for four years now, says that he’s really happy to be back in the mountainous west after been away for a long time. Having been an undergrad at the U of A and working at Lake Chateau Louise in the summers, he fell in love with the mountains and was itching to return.

“For me, Calgary has a lot of the things I like about Toronto – good friends, lots of cool projects to work on, great restaurants – without some of the disadvantages [like] traffic and broiling summer days. That said, I love Toronto; it's just that Calgary is a better fit for me now.”

And Calgary couldn’t be more thrilled for his contribution to the city. Three years ago, Ingram co-founded a new project called Beakerhead, a hands-on, city-wide week in September where science, engineering and art come to collide – turning Calgary into a giant laboratory. Engineers show their creative sides, artists get technical, science hits the streets and everyone who participates learns something new.

In its first year, 62,500 people came to Beakerhead to scale a 40-foot rocketship, jam with Berlin’s most famous robot band, get shocked by 1,000,000 volts from Arc Attack, sample Engineered Eats at restaurants around the city, sing with Commander Chris Hadfield and learn from the dozens of pop-up presentations over the course of five days.

The next Beakerhead will take place this year from September 16-20, and it’s a great opportunity to get your brain moving and have some fun – but you don’t have to wait until then to catch Ingram’s fever for exploration. His newest book, The End of Memory, has recently been released in stores and is a fascinating read about the history of Alzheimers, as well as lifestyle choices that can help prevent the disease. In his book, the sixty-nine-year-old talks about how exercise and education are the most proven ways to stay sharp.

“A couple years ago the Ontario Brain Institute did a meta-analysis of all studies that had looked at ways of reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease,” says Ingram. “There were several things that could have an effect, but they said very clearly that if you're going to do just one thing, then make it exercise. I'm talking about minimal exercise, like walking at a moderate pace for thirty-five or forty minutes a day.”

Ingram emphasises that while exercising doesn’t guarantee that you’ll avoid dementia, there’s good evidence that you’ll feel better and it’ll reduce your risk at the same time. So whether or not you’re a science nerd like this broadcaster and writer, take it from Jay Ingram’s example that the recipe for vitality is getting up and enjoying the amazing things that surprise you about life every day.

Published in Calgary Senior News.

No comments:

Post a Comment