Walking with robots

Last week, I went to Carleton University’s Human Computer Interaction building to interview Richard Beranek, the CEO and co-founder of Ottawa-based rehabilitation robotics company GaitTronics, a two-year-old spin-off from the university’s Advanced Biomechatronics and Locomotion Laboratory. With industrial design support from local consultancy The Federal, Beranek and his colleagues have created SoloWalk, which is essentially a robot that can…

Chi walking — and me walking

On a rainy August day in Ottawa, I attended a free noon-hour presentation at City Hall, part of a series of monthly walking events programmed by the city. Led by Dr. Barry Bruce, the subject was “chi walking” — a form of walking inspired by the ancient Chinese martial art tai chi. Bruce, whose medical practice is…

Tar Sands Healing Walk

From June 27th to 29th, for the fifth time in as many years, there will be a walk in northeastern Alberta…. “This year we gather for the final Athabasca region Healing Walk. We do this not because the problem has been solved, or because justice has been served, or practices of honour and integrity have…

Walking Man, the documentary

In April 2013, in the wake of a series of suicides at Missouri high schools, Mark Norwine, a bullying prevention coordinator at a non-profit called CHADS Coalition for Mental Health, walked across the state on the Katy Trail. Norwine, who has bipolar disorder, was accompanied by his son Eric, who has also been diagnosed with…

New Year’s revolution

An oldie but a goodie, Dr. Mike Evans’ smash-hit video (3.7 million views and counting) on the single most constructive thing you can do for your health. It came to mind, yet again, because of Doc Evans’ advice in today’s Globe and Mail, a new-year list of things to do to be more healthy this…

Maintain your brain

Not only does walking help people process traumatic memories and deal with stress, it also helps stave off cognitive and memory problems. How? By preventing brain shrinkage — an important factor in the fight against both mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. “Because a cure for Alzheimer’s is not yet a reality, we hope to…

Walking away from PTSD

My Q&A on ex-Marine Sean Gobin’s Warrior Hike program, in which American war vets thru-hike the 2,180-mile-long Appalachian Trail to come to terms with the traumatic sights and sounds of battle, ran as the Big Idea feature in the Focus section of Saturday’s Globe and Mail. Considering how Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan are struggling…