Monosyllabic Pedantry

Monday, February 01, 2010

Logical Bats

NPR did a story this morning on the benefits of aerobic exercise.
Most of it was pretty standard, except for the part where they found, once again, that even very moderate exercise reaps huge benefits:

A new study of 13,535 women finds that women who regularly walked for exercise in their 50s were much healthier in their 70s and beyond.

What they found might be surprising, given the level of exercise involved. The brisk walkers — who moved at a clip of about 3 mph — were 90 percent more likely to be free of all these conditions (diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson's disease and pulmonary disease, cognitive function) when compared with women who weren't in the habit of walking beyond a leisurely pace.

What I found most interesting was the part about aerobic exercise's effects on the brain:

One school started measuring target heart rate zones as part of an in-school exercise program. And they found it helped more than just the students' physical health.

At Woodland Elementary School in Kansas, Mo.,...The big surprise for administrators at Woodland Elementary: They've noted a significant decrease in aggressive behavior. In-school suspensions have gone down about 60 percent since the program began.

Changes in the brain during exercise could help explain the students' improved behavior. There's increased blood flow to the prefrontal cortex during and just after exercise.

"They're activating this prefrontal area," says John Ratey, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "One of the jobs [of this part of the brain] is to inhibit the impulsivity coming up from the emotional part of the brain."

This means kids may be more likely to think before they act.

Which brings be back to the logical bats. I've found that inversion therapy (hanging upside down) has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain.

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