Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Health and Prevention In Aging, Higher-Order Cognitive Functions in Aging, Neuroscience, Successful Aging.

Description: Exercise is good for your brain. Well there is a no-brainer! Of course maintaining healthy fit lifestyle is good for all aspects of your physiological functioning but the research discussed in the article linked below takes a much more specific look to this question and indicates that exercise alone is not optimal. Read the article and find out what kind of exercise or perhaps more specifically what kind of sport engaged in a middle age is best for your brain.

Source: Learning a New Sport May Be Good for the Brain, Gretchen Reynolds, Well, New York Times.

Date: March 2, 2016


Photo Credit: Lynn Tran

Links: Article Link —

Okay what sorts of things are good for your brain? Typically the first sorts of things that come to mind are intellectual things such as doing crossword puzzles adding numbers remembering things learning a new language. There is substantial evidence that all these things are good for your brain promoting both plasticity and physical changes in areas the brain associated with higher order cognition. More recent research is begun to look at a fairly basic area of the brain, the motor cortex, and the results are finding in relation to physical activity and particularly in reaction to novel physical activity are somewhat surprising. For example learning a new physical skill seems to help some mice increase the level of mile as a nation of certain motor neurons something which was generally believed not to happen after early childhood. The implication is that learning a new sport in midlife may be both psychologically and physically beneficial.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What impact do things like crossword puzzles have on certain areas of the brain and what areas of the brain are involved in those activities?
  2. Does any sort of physical activity help us in middle-age, particularly in terms of areas of brain function?
  3. What do researchers suggest learning a new sport does for our brains?

References (Read Further):

Sampaio-Baptista, C., Scholz, J., Jenkinson, M., Thomas, A. G., Filippini, N., Smit, G., … & Johansen-Berg, H. (2014). Gray matter volume is associated with rate of subsequent skill learning after a long term training intervention. Neuroimage, 96, 158-166.

McKenzie, I. A., Ohayon, D., Li, H., De Faria, J. P., Emery, B., Tohyama, K., & Richardson, W. D. (2014). Motor skill learning requires active central myelination. Science, 346(6207), 318-322.