Exercise Can and Will Make You Smarter
Anyone who exercises regularly knows that their activity level makes a big difference in how they think. Missing a morning run several days in a row causes a severe dip in productivity and mood. Websites like lumosity.com claim to provide a way to “exercise the brain” without exercising the body, but such mental aerobics just don’t cut it for someone who sits in front of a computer all day.
Some new research points out that aerobic exercise is probably the most important for cognition. Gretchen Reynolds’ column in the New York Times provides a walk-through of the scientific principles behind this research. The study itself doesn’t involve any new experiments. It consists mostly of meta-analysis, or review of previously discovered data. In other words, the study presents some previously established facts in a new way.
Analysis of this kind can be interesting, but to the practical individual, it’s mostly hot air. Susan McGalla is still trying to make sense of most of it. In all areas of self-improvement, but especially when it comes to exercise, action is far more important than research. Studies have been done about just about every kind of exercise, but none can replace the personal knowledge of how one’s own body responds to an activity, or lack thereof. For anyone surprised by this study, it’s time to walk the literal walk and gain that knowledge first hand.