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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog
A hug is duct tape for the soul.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Exercise and the Brain
The New York Times
FEELING a little less mentally quick than you did a few years ago? Maybe you are among the many people who do “brain exercises” like sudoku to slow the cognitive decline associated with aging. We’ve got a better suggestion.
Computer programs to improve brain performance are a booming business. In the United States, consumers are expected to spend $80 million this year on brain exercise products, up from $2 million in 2005. Advertising for these products often emphasizes the claim that they are designed by scientists or based on scientific research. To be charitable, we might call them inspired by science — not to be confused with actually proven by science...
...One form of training, however, has been shown to maintain and improve brain health — physical exercise. In humans, exercise improves what scientists call “executive function,” the set of abilities that allows you to select behavior that’s appropriate to the situation, inhibit inappropriate behavior and focus on the job at hand in spite of distractions. Executive function includes basic functions like processing speed, response speed and working memory, the type used to remember a house number while walking from the car to a party...
...Exercise is also strongly associated with a reduced risk of dementia late in life. People who exercise regularly in middle age are one-third as likely to get Alzheimer’s disease in their 70s as those who did not exercise. Even people who begin exercising in their 60s have their risk reduced by half.
Read the entire article.
NOTE: If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that we've long promoted physical exercise as one of the best things you can do for your brain. Jack himself (81 years old) is proof-positive. He showed tremendous improvement in memory and impulse control after getting back into tennis and playing regularly several times a week. Within a year's time, Jack's friends began to notice the difference. Nothing short of amazing. Please, please get up and move. Walk, ride a stationary bike, play tennis, swim, dance, whatever. Just get that body moving. Brain improvement will follow.
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