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Brain Workout

August 31, 2006

A listener asks: Do you get dumber when you exercise?


Your brain on exercise. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Listener Cyril Emery likes to exercise while watching Jeopardy, but wonders whether it interferes with his ability to play along. Neuroscientist Arthur Kramer at the University of Illinios says anytime you divide your attention your performance suffers. But, contrary to jock stereotypes, working out regularly can actually improve your brain function.

ARTHUR KRAMER (University of Illinois):
Even if you start late. There have been studies with sixty-five to seventy-five year old couch potatoes who get involved in exercise and actualy improve their memory and improve their decision-making and improve their attentional processes.

So, Cyril, exercising during Jeapardy may cost you some points, but it’ll pay off in the long term. Call 1-800-why-isit with your science question. If we use it on the air, you’ll win a Science Update mug. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.