How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain

The value of mental-training games may be speculative, as Dan Hurley writes in his article on the quest to make ourselves smarter, but there is another, easy-to-achieve, scientifically proven way to make yourself smarter. Go for a walk or a swim.

For more than a decade, neuroscientists and physiologists have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. But the newest findings make it clear that this isn’t just a relationship; it is the relationship. Using sophisticated technologies to examine the workings of individual neurons — and the makeup of brain matter itself — scientists in just the past few months have discovered that exercise appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhance cognitive flexibility. Exercise, the latest neuroscience suggests, does more to bolster thinking than thinking does.

Source: How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain – The New York Times


Small Amount of Exercise Could Protect Against Memory Loss in Elderly, Study Suggests

A new University of Colorado Boulder study shows that a small amount of physical exercise could profoundly protect the elderly from long-term memory loss that can happen suddenly following infection, illnesses or injury in old age.

In the study, CU-Boulder Research Associate Ruth Barrientos and her colleagues showed that aging rats that ran just over half a kilometer each week were protected against infection-induced memory loss.

Source: Small Amount of Exercise Could Protect Against Memory Loss in Elderly, Study Suggests – University of Colorado, Boulder, August 9, 2011


Exercise: In Women, Training for a Sharper Mind

Older women who did an hour or two of strength training exercises each week had improved cognitive function a year later, scoring higher on tests of the brain processes responsible for planning and executing tasks, a new study has found.

Researchers in British Columbia randomly assigned 155 women ages 65 to 75 either to strength training with dumbbells and weight machines once or twice a week, or to a comparison group doing balance and toning exercises.

Source: Exercise: In Women, Training for a Sharper Mind – The New York Times