The value of mental-training games may be speculative, as Dan Hurley writes in his article on the quest to make ourselves smarter, but there is another, easy-to-achieve, scientifically proven way to make yourself smarter. Go for a walk or a swim. For more than a decade, neuroscientists and physiologists have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. But the newest findings make it clear that this isn’t just a relationship; it is the relationship. Using sophisticated technologies to examine the workings of individual neurons — and the makeup of brain matter itself — 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.
Here’s a few extra tips from Forbes (NYC Psychiatrist and Hemingway On The Benefits Of Exercise On Work And Depression, posted April 20):
If you feel trapped by your schedule or mind, enter spring knowing that the weather itself will make becoming physically active easier. When I see the sun, blue sky and feel balmy breezes on my skin, my inner voice of resistance looses its strength. I know that I will feel better and more joyful if I throw on my athletic attire to run the reservoir, ride my bike, or do my yoga practice. For you it might be:
- Heading to your office gym or fitness club to do at least 20 minutes of cardio a few days a week: the elliptical, treadmill, rowing machine, stair master, pool, power plate, or any other form of cardio are all excellent options for getting your workouts done (what you choose to do should depend on your individual condition, body type, and goals).
- Walking or biking to the office and between meetings.
- Getting up from your desk to strike a few yoga poses or taking a stroll around the block.
- Joining a sports team or club one evening a week or on the weekends
According to a well-known NYC psychiatrist, who specializes in rx of depression, exercise is not considered to be a treatment for depression, especially clinical depression (we all know that Hemingway did not die a kind death), but it does help to enhance mood when used in conjunction with medication.