Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Smart Pill

Interestingly, a few days after I wrote my last entry I came across an article in USA Weekend which expounded on new research showing how exercise has direct biological effects on the brain and functions controlled by the brain. According to this article written by Dr. Tedd Mitchell, a researcher, John Ratey ( who wrote Spark : The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain ) among others- talk about brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is a protein that builds and maintains the brain's cell circuitry. According to Ratey,

"Researchers have studied how exercise affects things like improved memory, academic performance and executive function at work. The connection is powerful. As our nation ages, we'll be concerned about preventing neurological disorders like Alzheimer's. Kids ability to remain focused for learning is critical and for active adults everyday stress paves the way for a need for achieving mental calmness. Exercise plays a strong role in raising these BDNF levels which are essential for our well-being in these areas and can be used as a medicine- a 'smart pill', if you will," Ratey says.

Put all this together with what I already wrote and you can see that regular exercise is crucial for maintaining health in many areas besides weight control. As we move into the 21st century I believe exercise will be relied upon more and more as technology advances and we would be likely to become more and more sedentary. For my money it's the best and most economical way to maintain my health- both mental and physical. There are most likely many benefits that don't get mentioned because studies remain centered on our most pressing issues in the modern age. I can vouch for the way I feel after a good walk and taking thirty free shots at our basketball court in the local park. There's nothing that can take the place of that !

Keep your happy feet walking !
The Castle Lady
The preservation of health is a duty.
Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality.
- Herbert Spencer

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