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Want to Raise Your IQ and Improve Your Memory: Exercise!

abstract: As a book group moderator in a ski-resort town, I like to say, "You already exercise your body, come exercise your mind!" in my bid to get people to join our village book group. But studies show aerobic exercise actually doubles blood flow to the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for neurogenesis (new brain cell growth, new memory). It works for everyone: from aging brains to children, and everyone in between. Exercise in combination with social stimulation is even better, they say. That old adage "the body feeds the mind" turns out to be true. Here are three excellent books on fitness for three age groups. Motivation for everyone. Click the title for the full article describing the science and some cool products to use while working out.


August 28, 2007

The Science

Researchers in Illinois tested a group of sedentary elderly, scanned their brains with an MRI, then took half the group and gave them a stretching and aerobic routine for one hour, three times a week. After six months researchers re-scanned everyone and the aerobic group showed significant new brain growth in several areas.

Researchers aren't sure exactly what the mechanism stimulating neurogenisis is. It could be the change in serotonin levels, or an insulin-like protein growth factor that circulates in greater quantities in aerobic individuals that can cross the blood-brain barrier better. Social stimulation and other learning activities compound the gains. Don't let your brain shrink. Exercise and read! The same researchers said that people who socialized had a higher result than those who were solitary.

Fitness For Kids

It is a proven fact that children are not as active as they used to be; television, computers, video games, all sedentary activities, vie for their playtime attention. Researchers at the University of Illinois tested school-age children and discovered that "school-age children who have a higher level of aerobic fitness processed information more efficiently; they were quicker on a battery of computerized flashcard tests. The researchers also found that higher levels of aerobic fitness corresponded to better standardized test scores among a set of Illinois public school students."

Total Training for Young Champions Total Training for Young Champions provides coaches, instructors, teachers, and parents of potential future sports stars the best conditioning advice and training programs for establishing an overall fitness base and maximizing athletic development from the ages of 6 to 18.

Fitness for Adults

I can't think of a better workout book than Cat Smiley's second edition of The Bootcamp Workout. Cat just obtained "Canadian Fitness Trainer of the Year" for the third year in a row. Her regime really works -- I've done it, and I've witnessed non-fit people in my class utterly transform their bodies. How's that for a testimonial!

Studies show that socialization and exercise together improve memory and mental capacity. It's a great excuse to join a book group. No time to read? Download an audio book from iTunes or, and listen to your book while jogging the trails. There's even a waterproof iPod for surfers! Crikey -- why didn't I think of that before?

Fitness for Elderly

Since many of us are in the "sandwich years" with straggling teens and aging parents to look after, here is a book to help keep mom and pop active so that you actually get to enjoy the golden years together. Beats nursing homes and Alzheimer's.

Fitness Over Fifty: An Exercise Guide from the National Institute on Aging (With DVD)A simple guide to exercise for men and women over fifty with a foreward by John Glenn.

Get your fitness regime happening, join a book group (and start one for your kids) and live a longer, smarter life.

Need-to-Have Toys

  • The iPod Armband Jogger

    DLO 003-4446 Action Jacket - Pink for the nano 1G, 2G

  • The Earbuds
    PARENT ASIN - V-MODA Bass Freq Earbuds

  • The Mini iPod -- light and just the right amount of memory
    Apple 6 GB iPod Mini Pink M9805LL/A

  • Sources for Audio Books

  • Trade-in used audio books.
  • Rentable audio books.


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