Fit or foolish?

Published on October 31st, 2011
Fit or foolish?

The brain is a wonderful thing. This squishy, icky hunk of junk runs…well, you. And you’d better take care of it if you want it to keep running you well.

Sure, your brain’s doing okay for now … or so you think. But once you hit your 20s, it’s a slow downhill creep as far as your brain’s concerned, with you losing thousands of neurons a day (but don’t be too worried – you have billions).

So what can you do about this? Just listen to your PE teacher and get some exercise! People who exercise in their 20s (and older) lose their memory and quick-thinking skills much more slowly than their less active buddies. What’s more, if they exercised regularly as kids, they’re more likely to stay sharp even if they’re not big on fitness anymore. In other words, exercise is like putting some brain away in a bank account for use later on.

There are also more direct benefits: in children, college students and young adults, exercise improves learning and intelligence scores. It can also act as an antidepressant – when you’re working out, your body releases chemicals called endorphins to counteract the stress it’s undergoing. As a side effect, you get really happy … at least for a while.

So what are you still here for? Get out there and take a run around the block. Your brain will thank you some day…