Salinas Dental Health Tip on Whole Body Wellness

Running Makes You Smart

It’s kind of a good news, bad news thing. We know running is good for us, but dang its hard to get out and do it.  My 3 year old daughter runs everywhere she goes and it does make me remember that running can indeed be fun. In our office we have some very active runners with Dr. Andresen, his assistant Dagmar and hygienist Kristin liking to run so much they pay to partake in races!

We all know it reduces stress, builds cardiovascular health, and even helps beat depression, so if we could just get our brain to convince us that we like it as much as we like potato chips, we’d be out there in one healthy heartbeat.

Turns out that if the brain is really looking out for itself, it’d be shouting at the top of its lungs for you to lace up those sneakers.

Last year, researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois offered mice four different environments:

  1. Highly stimulating sensory environment – various food options, colorful beds to sleep in, mirrors, see-saws – all sorts of fun stuff.
  2. Same as above, but with running wheels.
  3. Non-stimulating environment and standard kibble food.
  4. Running wheels, but nothing else – no special food or activity toys.

When measuring the mice’s brain tissue health and performance on cognitive tests after living in these environments for several months they found that, “[o]nly one thing mattered and that’s whether they had a running wheel.” No matter how enriched their world was, the mice did not get ‘smarter’ unless they went running.

Other researchers have maintained that the reason we were able to evolve larger brains in the first place was because of our ability to run – not sprint, mind you. Just jog. And another study found that 65-year-olds were able to walk their way to a 63-year-old brain.

So, present this information to your brain and see what it says. No need for Dagmar-style heroics – a good old fashioned Sunday stroll could keep your brain just as youthful and spry as that 3-year-old alighting down the street. Okay, maybe not that spry, but you get the picture.

For more information:
PBS – Spark
Alan Alda talks to scientist Dan Lieberman about why the human ability to run could be an important prerequisite for the evolution of our bigger brains — and the emergence of our human spark.

Men’s Health
Science has linked aerobic exercise to improved brainpower, and wildly successful men—from W. Bush to P. Diddy—engage in intense cardio workouts. Why don’t you?

The Guardian
Start running and watch your brain grow, say scientists

New York Times
How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain