Monday, August 20, 2007

Smarten Up

Running in the rain wasn't perhaps the most obviously intelligent way I might have spent time this weekend, but Monday morning I found that in fact, it might have been just the thing the brain needed:

Scientists have suspected for decades that exercise, particularly regular aerobic exercise, can affect the brain. But they could only speculate as to how. Now an expanding body of research shows that exercise can improve the performance of the brain by boosting memory and cognitive processing speed. Exercise can, in fact, create a stronger, faster brain.
The neuroscientists don't yet understand how exercise causes "neurogenesis," the growth of new brain neurons, or for that matter if it's really happening, but they have some interesting hypotheses, described in the article. Even better is a neatly interlocking list of other behaviors and substances that can improve brain functioning: alcohol, social interaction, a good diet, chocolate, reduced stress - even marijuana. Sounds like a good weekend!