Quick —what’s the No. 1 thing you can do for your brain’s health? Differential calculus, you say? Chess? Chaos theory? Nope, the best brain sharpener may be …sneakers? Yup. Once they’re on your feet, you can pump up your heart rate. “The best advice I can give to keep your brain healthy and young is aerobicexercise,” says Donald Stuss, PhD, a neuropsychologist and director of the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto.
differential calculus [数]微积分；微分学
chaos theory 混沌理论
pump up 给……打气；加速
aerobic exercise 有氧运动
Mark McDaniel, PhD, professor of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, agrees, but adds, “I would suggest a combined program of aerobics and weight training. Studies show the best outcomes for those engaged in both types of exercise.”
As we age, our brain cells, called neurons, lose the tree-branch-like connections between them. These connections, or synapses, are essential to thought. Quite literally, over time, our brains lose their heft. Perhaps the most striking brain research today is the strong evidence we now have that “exercise may forestallsome kinds of mental decline,” notes McDaniel. It may even restore memory. Myriad animal studies have shown that, among other brain benefits, aerobic exercise increases capillarydevelopment in the brain, meaning more blood supply, more nutrients and —a big requirement for brain health —more oxygen.
forestall v. 垄断；预先阻止
mental decline 智力下降
The preeminentexercise and brain-health researcher in humans is Arthur Kramer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In a dozen studies over the past few years, with titles such as “Aerobic Fitness Reduces Brain Tissue Loss in Aging Humans,” Kramer and his colleagues have proved two critical findings: Fit people have sharper brains, and people who are out of shape, but then get into shape, sharpen up their brains. This second finding is vital. There’s no question that working out makes you smarter, and it does so, Kramer notes, at all stages of life. Just as important, exercise staves off heart disease, obesity, diabetesand other maladiesthat increase the risk of brain problems as we age.
preeminent adj. 卓越的
a dozen 一打；十二个
out of shape （身体）走形；变样
sharpen up 使……更敏锐；认真思考
stave off 避开；延缓
2. Feed It
Another path to a better brain is through your stomach. We’ve all heard about antioxidantsas cancer fighters. Eating foods that contain these molecules, which neutralizeharmful free radicals, may be especially good for your brain too. Free radicals have nothing to do with Berkeley politics and everything to do with breaking down the neurons in our brains. Many colorful fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, as are some beans, whole grains, nuts and spices.
neutralize v. 抵消；中和；使……中立
have nothing to do with 与……无关
be packed with 挤满；塞满；充满
More important, though, is overall nutrition. In concert with a good workout routine, you should eat right to avoid the diseases that modern flesh is heir to. High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol all make life tough on your brain, says Carol Greenwood, PhD, a geriatric research scientist at the University of Toronto.
in concert with 和…相呼应；与…合作；和…一致
flesh is heir to 人所难免[共有]的
If your diet is heavy, then you’re probably also heavy. The same weight that burdens your legs on the stairs also burdens your brain for the wittyreply or quick problem solving. The best things you can eat for your body, Greenwood notes, are also the best things you can eat for your brain. Your brain is in your body, after all. Greenwood’s recommendation is to follow the dietary guidelines from the American Diabetes Association (available at diabetes.org).
3. Speed It Up
Sorry to say, our brains naturally start slowing down at the cruelly young age of 30 (yes, 30). It used to be thought that this couldn’t be helped, but a barrage of new studies show that people of any age can train their brains to be faster and, in effect, younger. “Your brain is a learning machine,” says Michael Merzenich, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. Given the right tools, we can train our brains to act like they did when we were younger. All that’s required is dedicated practice: exercises for the mind.
a barrage of 大量的
in effect 实际上