Dr. Orman at the Disney Marathon, 2013.
Can sports make you smarter? According to a recent study, the answer is a resounding YES. Researchers at the U of Granada compared subjects who participated in sports versus sedentary people. Those who played sports —regardless of the sport – exhibited better cognitive performance and reaction time as compared to the sedentary individuals. In addition, active people had longer attention spans and better memories.
Sport, according to the researchers, also helps promote the growth of nerves and blood cells in the brain, while preventing neuro-degeneration.
A special note, the authors were very clear to point out that “It may NOT be enough just to exercise at very low intensity.”
Doc’s Thoughts: I am in total agreement with this. Perhaps the most impactful of all of the physiological benefits is improved blood flow systemically, particularly to the brain. That alone is reason enough to lace up your running shoes and get off the couch.
In addition, many participants in sports are required to memorize large amounts of information such as playbooks, dance routines or katas (in the case of martial artists). Memorize, metaphorically speaking, is very similar to a muscle in that the more it is use, the better it becomes.
Other characteristics that are the focus of sport include creativity, determination and discipline. . . . ones that most certainly transfer to virtually all aspects of life.
In a related thought, those patients who (I have seen) who were active as kids are typically active as adults. And healthier. And more fit and trim.
And. . . .vice versa!