Use It or Lose It

brainI am a big fan of the evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman. He is the scientist whose theories are covered in the book Born to Run and Gretchen Reynolds the Phys Ed writer for the times often quotes him in her articles.

Her Article yesterday focused on the connection of activity and brain growth. Dr. Lieberman, along with his colleague Dennis Bramble posited that we evolved to run in order to chase down big game to provide complex proteins for our ever developing brain.

I love this concept even though it is an unproven theory. The main thrust of the article is that we need to keep active to keep our brain functioning.

The broad point of this new notion is that if physical activity helped to mold the structure of our brains, then it most likely remains essential to brain health today, says John D. Polk, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and co-author, with Dr. Raichlen, of the new article.

And there is scientific support for that idea. Recent studies have shown, he says, that “regular exercise, even walking,” leads to more robust mental abilities, “beginning in childhood and continuing into old age.”

Use it or lose it is a pretty simple recipe for the success of the human system and in today’s day and age it is unbelievably easy to lose it.


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