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Wisdom from my Baby Brother

My brother Henry runs “every day that ends in a ‘y.’”  Yes, he’s a bit obsessive, but at least he’s given up running marathons – or maybe he’s just stopped telling me about them. A few years ago, I asked him to stop with the marathons because, baby or not, he was still too old for that particular form of nonsense and I worried he would have a sudden death event. To which he answered, “Jan, when people die suddenly during marathons, it’s usually because they’re sprinting at the finish line – whereas when I’m crossing the finish line, it looks like I’m doing tai chi.” A very funny man he is.

In any event, Henry was telling me recently that when he goes for a run, he isn’t particularly thinking about anything at all – but when he finishes, he finds that he often has the solution to a problem that he wasn’t even aware was percolating in his brain at the time.

Well, Henry, not only are you younger, better-looking, taller, and funnier than I am, you’re also smarter. I say this because Gretchen Reynolds recently wrote a fascinating piece in the New York Times about a study that showed that physical activity increases creativity. The link between exercise and enhancement of cognition and mood has long been known and comes as no surprise. In this new study, though, the researchers were able to demonstrate that not only does creativity rise as well, but also that it does so independently of cognitive function and mood level.

This is all just one more reason to find some type of physical activity that you like and then do it. Doctor’s orders (hah! At least I can still lord that over my little brother).