April 29, 2012

Growing Brains

Well...  I bet you didn't expect to find a new post from me.  Can't say that I did either, to be honest.  Life over the last year has been insanely busy, not always good, but certainly full of changes.  I all but gave up running for a while, not because I wanted to but because I felt like life demanded it.  Then a couple weeks ago the weather changed: it's been warmer, sunset is later, and I started going on runs.  Then running longer.  Only a few weeks later, I've barely restrained from throwing myself back into distance.

In case I even doubt the value of running in my life again, I ran across this article in the NY Times.  Not unsurprisingly, scientists have found that not only is exercise good for your health and body, it's good for your brain:
"... 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."
Exercise appears to have a protective effect against Alzheimer's disease.  It can prevent or improve health problems including diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, depression and more.  It can improve your sex life (not just because you look sexier).  It can increase your life span.  Frankly, it's hard to find anything actually bad about exercising.*

So what are you waiting for?  It's a nice day to get moving!

*Too much, too fast and not listening to your body can result in injuries.  Always consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen, diet or activity.

For the original scientific paper, it's available free on the web here.

Kohman RA, Rodriguez-Zas SL, Southey BR, Kelley KW, Dantzer R, et al. (2011) Voluntary Wheel Running Reverses Age-Induced Changes in Hippocampal Gene Expression. PLoS ONE 6(8): e22654. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022654