Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Physical Excercise Can Boost Memory

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When I was merely a young lad (with very little promise), my elementary teachers would frequently inquire of me, "Douglas -- are you sitting on your brains?" {for some reason, the the 1960s, each of us had "brains" - plural - but none of us actually had a brain - singular - or half a brain. While we are speaking etymologically, one of my favorites when when a teacher would observe, hands on hips, with bitter sarcasm, "If you had half a brain, you'd be dangerous!"

They saw this as a clever way of saying that we (the underachievers, daydreamers and juvenile delinquents) each had less than half of a brain. I saw it as something different -- to me, I knew that I had a whole brain (albeit impaired in functionality) -- I just thought it axiomatic that if  reduced to half-brain status, anyone might be dangerous. With this logic, I managed to avoid being personally insulted. My teachers likely thought that I was just too stupid to be rightly insulted. But I digress.

Seriously, there is a great deal of correlative and causal evidence to support the argument that if we exercise sufficiently, it helps to keep our brains functioning better. This is absolutely true. Please take a look at the article which follows, and then hit the "BACK" button and come back here so that we can supplement this article with some extra information and considerations.

Middle-Aged Adults Who Cycle or Stretch Improve Memory
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

April 6, 2012 -- Your brain isn't a muscle, but as you age exercise can improve your memory and other thinking skills, a new study shows.

And the exercise doesn't have to be as rigorous as a marathon, the research suggests.

In the new study, middle-aged men and women who cycled or did a stretching and coordination routine for two hours weekly for six months had improvements in memory and other thinking skills. [more]

Some other food (and exercise) for thought from The Braintenance Blog :

1) Exercise improves blood circulation, which is crucial for information processing at Brain Central;

2) Exercise generates the production of our bodies' natural analogs of euphoriants, analgesics amphetamines, as well as a host of neurotransmitter which enable thinking, memory, visualization, possibility thinking (creativity), association, projection (trending, and futurescape creation), and all types of problem-solving;

3) Anecdotally, the rhythm of exercise gives our minds an opportunity to quietly, subconsciously, sift, sort out and "digest" information. This break from conscious thought very often frees the mind to do its own work (creatively, ingeniously and miraculously) without our trying to force conclusions, or stifle the creative processes by being to narrowly-sighted and tunneled-in. Sleep and physical exercise, give our brains a period to process information and ideate without our exerting either force or strict parameters upon them.

4) Empirically, exercise makes it easier for us to attain certain creative and suggestive mental states such as alpha, hypnogogic, and others -- some of which are not fully understood.

5) The linkage between the mind and the body (of psyche and soma) cannot be denied, and neither can function fully and to its maximum potential without the other being in a suitable state.

Have you ever heard someone say that he or she needed to exercise or take a walk to "clear his or her head." In light of the foregoing bits of information, that would now seem to make sense, wouldn't it?

Douglas E Castle

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