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THE SPORTY BRAIN

MAKE NEW BRAIN CELLS WHETHER YOU NEED THEM OR NOT

(image courtesy of The Walking Company, Tigard, Oregon)

(image courtesy of The Walking Company, Tigard, Oregon)

Every story since David and Goliath has an underdog, the opponent with no chance of winning.

Examples abound.

Baby boomers cheered the Portland Trail Blazer NBA title in 1977 after coming back on Philadelphia.

Oregon Duck football against Auburn for the BCS Championship.

You vs the ten pounds you want to lose.

You root for Goliath if they’ve always been your favorite, but sympathy still goes to David.

It’s David who faces the impossible. David who makes a move. David who strikes a blow.

Early statues of David show a skinny kid with a big sword with his foot propped on Goliath’s head, the trophy from the battle.

That day was a David win, but win or lose, the important part was taking the chance.

Today the idea of taking a chance is more about competition than life and death. And it starts early.

How many parents stand their kids up before they’re ready? All of them.

How many mimic sounds to prompt their kids’ first words? All of them.

And how many want their kid to know how to compete in a David and Goliath world?

They’ll need to be smart. From nytimes.com:

Using sophisticated technologies to examine the workings of individual neurons — and the makeup of brain matter itself — scientists in just the past few months have discovered that exercise appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhance cognitive flexibility. Exercise, the latest neuroscience suggests, does more to bolster thinking than thinking does.

Don’t close the door on the classroom, this isn’t about teachers. It’s about neuroscience and exercise, which leads to competition and sports. Now that new findings examine the connection between exercise and the brain, it’s “clear that this isn’t just a relationship; it is THE relationship.”

Is exercise the main factor in brain development?

For some time, researchers have known that exercise changes the structure of the brain and affects thinking. Ten years ago scientists at the Salk Institute in California published the groundbreaking finding that exercise stimulates the creation of new brain cells.

Here’s the messy part. This knowledge comes from lab mice running on treadmills, from their dissected brains. It’s called science.

The good news is knowing exercise enhances our brains. It enhances old brains and young.

Imagine an exercise that combines aerobic, coordination, strength, and competition. The whole deal.

Would you expect it to be easy?

More important would you do it, or encourage others?

Think back to the Blazers and Ducks, teams coached by smart guys.

The Blazers had Dr. Jack Ramsay who earned his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. He wasn’t called a genius as coach of the 76ers when he traded Wilt Chamberlain, but his dedication to exercise still helped when he got to Portland, and after.

Chip Kelly coached the Ducks to four BCS games in four years before leaving for the NFL. How smart was he? Smart enough to skip Cleveland, though he may want a word with Dr. Jack in Philadelphia after a few too many cheese steaks.

You can start your smart exercising today. Take a walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About David Gillaspie
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