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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 2, 2007 / 14 Adar, 5767

Exercise your brain

By Betsy Hart


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's not your father's exercise routine anymore.


Forget the fit body — what about a fit brain?


New research is suggesting that whatever exercise does for one's physique, there's a benefit we're understanding only now: exercise makes us smarter.


This isn't just about exercise making us feel perkier and better able to focus. This is about the brain performing at a higher, better level, over time, in people who work their bodies.


So Newsweek just revealed in "Stronger, Faster, Smarter" by Mary Carmichael. She looked at the work of researchers like Dr. Charles Hillman, a neuroscientist at the University of Illinois. He and other scientists are discovering that brawn leads to the brain. And so in a study of grade-school students, for instance, he found that the most fit kids also did the best on statewide standardized tests, "even when factors such as socioeconomic status were taken into account."


Just a few weeks ago, "researchers announced that they had coaxed the human brain into growing new nerve cells, a process that for decades had been thought impossible, simply by putting subjects on a three-month aerobic-workout regimen." There are also growing indications that physical activity can stave off Alzheimer's disease.


We've known for a long time that exercise sends blood to the brain, and that has benefits. What's new? Well, as Carmichael lays it out, a lot. There's new understanding that a chemical that's produced with exercise, BDNF, "fuels almost all the activities that lead to higher thought." Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey calls the molecule "Miracle-Gro for the brain." Conversely, a brain that's low on the Miracle-Gro "shuts itself off to new information," as Newsweek put it.


Unfortunately, the kind of exercise I do — intense, slow weightlifting — may be great for strengthening thighs, but unfortunately it isn't the most helpful for the brain, and no one knows why. Does running after four kids count? But at least it's something.


Believe me, I'd drive myself to the bathroom if I could. Let's just say that given how often I can't seem to recall a name or find my car keys, I shudder to think where I'd be if I didn't exercise at all.


Anyway, it's the research on kids that really intrigues me. There, exercise probably has "a more long-lasting effect on brains that are still developing," one expert explained.


As Hillman told me, there are clearly implications here for kids with conditions like ADHD for whom exercise, whether or not it's combined with medication, can be especially useful in helping the brain overcome what may be abnormal wiring.


But this also has implications for the average youngster, for whom recess has been curtailed and playtime has too often been replaced by videogame time in recent years.


Perhaps, Hillman speculated to me, it may just be that we were designed for the physical and the mental to profoundly work together and reinforce each other. That it's such a part of our make-up that when the former is thrown off because of a modern sedentary lifestyle, it deeply subverts the latter in ways we are only now beginning to understand.


Of course, Bill Gates and his cohorts who changed the world were the product of a generation that probably "sits around" more than any other in history. An irony? Well maybe there isn't a paradox. Maybe we should just imagine what that generation could do if they were all in shape!


The bottom line, so to speak, is that in an age of obesity and desk jobs and kids parked in front of videogames, it's worth reflecting on the incredible value, to the brain and the body, of just regularly going out and taking a fast walk. Or, maybe doing what my mom used to: kicking her five kids outside and saying, "Go play until I let you back in."

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JWR contributor Betsy Hart, a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel, can be reached by clicking here.

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