Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Brain over Brawn? Or, More Accurately, Brawn Builds Brains.
Brawn builds brains. That’s the conclusion of writer Gretchen Reynolds. She’s recently written a book, entitled The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer. Her book backs up that assertion with a review of the latest exercise and brain-building research.
I listened to her interview (and she’s a really fun interview) with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air which hooked me even though it mostly focused on her new insights on exercise. Here’s a link to that interview: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=152336802&m=152339817
In an April 18th New York Times article, though, she asserts that “The value of mental-training games may be speculative… 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.”
That last line is both well-written and provocative.
I haven’t read her book, but have a hold on it at the library. I have read her NY Times article and it sounds a lot like something Barbara Strauch would say.
Interested? Here’s a link to her NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/how-exercise-could-lead-to-a-better-brain.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1