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zensky's avatar

Run for a bigger brain?

Asked by zensky (13280 points ) January 3rd, 2013

Yes indeed

But it is compelling, says Harvard’s Dr. Lieberman, who has worked with the authors of the new article. “I fundamentally agree that there is a deep evolutionary basis for the relationship between a healthy body and a healthy mind,” he says, a relationship that makes the term “jogging your memory” more literal than most of us might have expected and provides a powerful incentive to be active in 2013.

So now will you get off the couch and go for a jog?

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20 Answers

shniernan's avatar

Well, it wasn’t my New Year’s Resolution before, but it is now!

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Rarebear's avatar

Yes, but only because my daughter can now beat me in a race.

rooeytoo's avatar

It’s probably why I am so brilliant! I have been running for about 40 couple years now.

Seek's avatar

I seriously need to, or I’m going to die at the Gasparilla 5K next month.

hearkat's avatar

No. My back is killing me – a product of being overweight and lazy. The new gym just opened, but the pool isn’t finished yet. I’ve always preferred swimming to running, anyway.

dabbler's avatar

I used to run A Lot, starting in high school several decades ago.
I know for certain that all that running made my lungs bigger, at one point my lung capacity was measured and I was told they were 50% larger volume than typical for my height/weight.

As far as brain capacity, ... the Fluther keeps telling me I have a big brain and who would argue with that.

I think running is fun and I fortunately have a physiology for it (long legs and solid knees). Something I always enjoyed are the moments of weightlessness between footfalls, while both feet are off the ground. I have no science behind this idea but I think the brain and nervous system respond to that in a positive fashion. Makes me feel good anyway.
I run less than I used to mostly because everything around here is paved with concrete and is mostly flat. My ideal are those lovely fire roads on the mountains in California where I grew up. Climbing and huffing/puffing my brains out on the way up and then rocketing back down. Woohoo ! Get Wild !

burntbonez's avatar

The article says the hypothesis is unprovable, and I am highly skeptical. I think the physical environment creates the conditions whereby certain traits will confer an advantage. The fact that endurance and brain power may have developed simultaneously does not mean they are related to each other. It is more likely that they are both related to an independent third factor—such as would be found in environmental conditions, and possibly such as already existed in human capabilities.

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mattbrowne's avatar

The Greek philosopher Thales coined the term ‘mens sana in corpore sano’ (a healthy mind in a healthy body). Modern science seems to confirm this view. Great article!

I prefer brisk (uphill) walking over jogging.

Another hypothesis for the large homo sapiens brain focuses on the handling of complex social interaction in large groups. Related to this is “face perception, i.e. the process by which the brain and mind understand and interpret the human face (of other people). The human face’s proportions and expressions are important to identify origin, emotional tendencies, health qualities, and some social information. From birth, faces are important in the individual’s social interaction. Face perceptions are very complex as the recognition of facial expressions involves extensive and diverse areas in the brain.”

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Shippy's avatar

Nothing new in that; a spot of serotonin, a dash of dopamine in an oxytocin cocktail does wonders but don’t spill it while you are running. With a comma for a swivel stick.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

But surely any type of exercise would help and not just running since it forces the body into producing the things that Shippy mentioned so rowing machines, walking, and anything else that raises the heart rate. Anyway the guy that invented jogging as we know it died of a heart attack whilst jogging did he not? That is like Ronald McDonald dying of a fries overload so I might take a healthy heart and a slightly smaller brain.

wundayatta's avatar

Many hypotheses. Little clear evidence, yet.

rooeytoo's avatar

My answer was satirical! I don’t contribute my brilliance solely to running. But I tell you what, I recently went to the doctor to have blood work done. I hate going to the doctor but since my family has a history of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, I get it checked now and again. It had been 3 years since it was done. Anyhow it was a new doctor and he kept asking me what meds are you on, what meds are you on. I had to repeat several times that I take nothing. Now granted his english was not the best which always makes me nervous, I like to speak the same language as my doctor, but I think the point is that so many my age are on numerous medications. I am lucky that I am healthy but I do think the exercise helps too!

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SuperMouse's avatar

[Mod Says] Please remember this is in General and keep the responses on-topic and helpful. Thanks!

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