It turns out, we can affect our brains much more than we used to believe. It’s interesting that when we're younger, we have distinctive stages of our lives. We are newborns, then toddlers, pre-teens, teens and young adults. After that, we’re just adults. Recently, I’ve been reading about Robert Keagan’s stages of development. Similar ideas are shared in Peak. This is fascinating because it means we don’t have to be stagnant. We can continue to grow, improve and get better.
We can still learn and rewire our brains once we’re adults. Exercise seems to be a big influencer of this. Recently, NYT writer Gretchen Reynolds posted an article about how exercise can affect our memory. She referenced a study where long-term treadmill walking made the brain more efficient in some processes having to do with semantic memory. That’s part of our long-term memory that helps us pull information like what colors are, capitals of states, sounds of letters and common knowledge we learn over our lifetime.
The reasons to exercise keep stacking up. Making your brain work more efficiently is just one of them. As more and more research comes out of its importance, I hope more people will be inspired to exercise. It’s not just about developing physically, but mentally as well.