Training Your Body — and Your Brain (Ep.95)



TOPICS & TIMES:

  • Dr. Merzenich’s background (4:22)
  • Discoveries in “neuroplasticity” (10:42)
  • Outdoor sports & your brain (17:44)
  • Exercising your brain vs. gathering information (24:58)
  • Preventing neurological disorders through training (37:07)
  • Generosity & Joy – their neurological significance (45:47)
  • How screens & social media are changing our brains (49:46)

If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you don’t need to be convinced of the importance of physical exertion, going outside, and staying physically fit and active. But it’s also probably safe to assume that you — like us — don’t spend nearly as much time thinking about the best ways to stay mentally fit.

The purpose of today’s conversation is to get each of us thinking more clearly about the things we should — and shouldn’t — be doing to optimize the health of our bodies and our brains, in order to keep both functioning at a high level.

And to get this conversation started, we talked to Dr. Michael Merzenich, a neuroscientist whose work centers around the “plasticity” of the brain, and how through training, we can keep up and improve the health of our brains — just as we know that, through proper exercise, we can keep up and improve the health of our bodies.

Dr. Merzenich is a professor emeritus at the University of California San Francisco, and the Chief Science Officer at Posit Science. He is also the author of the book, Soft-Wired, which is a book I’m reading now, and that I’d encourage you to check out.

In this conversation, we discuss the important neurological benefits of going fast, going outside, and undertaking new activities; some of the more effective and less effective ways to exercise our brains; what disorders we might be able to avoid with proper neurological training; and we talk about the changes to our brains that are the result of the increased amounts of time so many of us — and our kids — are spending in front of phone, computer, and TV screens; and more.

Jonathan Ellsworth talks with neurologist, Dr. Michael Merzenick, about brain plasticity, how we can improve the health of our brains, and more on the Blister Podcast.
Dr. Michael Merzenich

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