An excellent op-ed piece in today's New York Times about the value of exercise - of the physical variety - in mental gymnastics. A Risser suggestion to supplement the intent of the opinion writers: get out there and walk around, but take a camera with you - not only do you get the physical exercise, but you challenge yourself cognitively (and may well get some framable results!)
Exercise on the Brain
By SANDRA AAMODT and SAM WANG
Published: November 8, 2007
How might exercise help the brain? In people, fitness training slows the age-related shrinkage of the frontal cortex, which is important for executive function. In rodents, exercise increases the number of capillaries in the brain, which should improve blood flow, and therefore the availability of energy, to neurons. Exercise may also help the brain by improving cardiovascular health, preventing heart attacks and strokes that can cause brain damage. Finally, exercise causes the release of growth factors, proteins that increase the number of connections between neurons, and the birth of neurons in the hippocampus, a brain region important for memory. Any of these effects might improve cognitive performance, though it’s not known which ones are most important.
[ ... Read the full piece ... ]