Nuturing brawn means more brains

New York Times Exercise on the Brain is an op-ed piece by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang, who know what they’re talking about. The article looks at the computer software programs that claim to delay aging mental abilities, especially memory. The NY Times has a news article, Calisthenics for the Older Mind, on the Home Computer that deals with this type of progam. Aamodt and Wang play down their significance, but point in another direction:

“One form of training, however, has been shown to maintain and improve brain health — physical exercise. In humans, exercise improves what scientists call ‘executive function,’ the set of abilities that allows you to select behavior that’s appropriate to the situation, inhibit inappropriate behavior and focus on the job at hand in spite of distractions. Executive function includes basic functions like processing speed, response speed and working memory, the type used to remember a house number while walking from the car to a party.”

I am going jogging at lunch time with some colleagues from work. I am a bit hesitant to exposing my white calves and running habits (or slow times) to others, but it will be a nice change of pace.

Postdata: I ran for about 60 minutes with three friends from my office. We covered six miles on the Mall, running from near the Vietnam Memorial to the Capitol Building and back, and the walk of three blocks from and to our office building, in effect, our warm-up/cool-off period. I surprised myself. I ran for twice the distance as I do in my maximum workout. Once I got warmed up, I glided along at a nice clip without overexerting myself. Towards the end, I could tell that all the bounce had gone out of my legs. We are planning to continue with the CICAD Road Runners Club Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch time. We’ll see how long we can keep it up.