Saturday, May 31, 2008

Exercise Can Boost Your IQ

Studies have shown that some forms of exercise may actually help you
think better, while others have little or no impact on your brain

Here's a sampling of what works and what doesn’t:

~ Aerobic Training

In 2006, Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois used MRIs to prove
that aerobic exercise builds gray and white matter in the brains of
older adults. Later studies found that more aerobically fit
grade-schoolers also perform better on cognitive tests.

~ Impact on intelligence: Strong

Lifting Weights

Researchers have found only the most tenuous link
between heavy resistance training and improved cognitive function.

~ Impact on intelligence: Negligible


When facing a stressful situation or even a scary email, people often
hold their breath. Yoga can break that habit.

Under pressure, "most people breathe incorrectly," says Frank Lawlis, a
fellow of the American Psychological Association and author of The IQ
Answer. The result: more stress and less oxygen to your brain. "So the
first thing that goes is your memory."

~ Impact on intelligence: Possibly strong

Studying on the StairMaster

A spinning class may rev up your mental muscle, but that doesn't mean
you should study while huffing and puffing on the StairMaster.
Research shows you'll just confuse yourself. "It's like doing something
while you're driving," says Charles Hillman, a kinesiology professor at
the University of Illinois. In other words, you won't do either task

~ Impact on intelligence: Negligible

Aerobic exercise is indeed one of the best things you can do to stay
mentally agile into old age.

For example, older people who exercise three or more times a week were
found to have a significantly reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's
and other types of dementia. Healthy people who reported exercising
regularly had a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of dementia, but even those
who devoted as little as 15 minutes to exercise, three days a week, cut
their risk significantly. Even a short, brisk walk every day, the
researchers said, can make a difference.

The trick about exercise is treating it like a drug that needs to be
prescribed precisely so you can achieve the maximum benefit. There are
a number of excellent resources out there for exercise; you can review
mine, or search online or in your book store for further resources.

Wired Magazine April 21, 2008

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