Hot off the web, while we tighten our buttocks, so too our brains grow. The New York Times reported findings from a recent University of Pittsburg study on fitness and how it affects brain function as we age. Sounds pretty boring ? I know, but what they discovered might just surprise you. In fact, if you are a over the age of 49, this bit of information might actually motivate you to exercise 3 times a week.
I do not want to bore you with statistics, they can be read in the Times, so I will just give you a general synopsis. 120 Sedentary men and women, average age 60, were divided into 2 groups. The first walked around a track. The second did less aerobic exercise including yoga and light resistance training. They both worked up to 40 minutes, three times a week.
After one year all parties were in much better physical condition. The surprise came when the brainscan results were examined. The walkers brain volume, in the hippocampus area had actually increased, while the less aerobic groups' decreased. So what does that mean you ask? The hippocampus is the part of our brain that controls memory function. This small , but enlightening bit of knowledge demands further study, both in the lab, and out in the real world. Let me explain.
Is it too much to think, if all Americans were armed with this minor tidbit, that our rate of obesity might actually decrease? If, say, Joe Schmo, average junk food eater, super sized drink drinker, was to get wind of this , might he actually,take a walk, get smarter, and break his unhealthy habits? A larger brain could could be a very motivating factor.
If I walk my dog 2 times a day, I might be wiser by the end of a month and perhaps brilliant by the end of the century. I might even be able to remember to pick up my drycleaning. Gotta go! My dog awaits.
*(A version of this story is an excerpt from this week’s Noticing newsletter. You can read more about Noticing here.) * In a rare interview, Italian auth...