Physical Fitness for Psychical Fitness: The Mental Benefits of Exercise

Age-related cognitive decline is pretty much inevitable, especially now that people are generally living longer. While this decline in fluid intelligence (e.g., reasoning abilities) is complemented by an increase in crystallized intelligence (e.g., factual knowledge) (see figure below), fluid intelligence helps us deal with many aspects of our daily lives (such as processing new information and solving problems), so it’s worth preventing its decline as much as possible. Thankfully, there are ways to do this. Continual learning and mental engagement (i.e., effortful mental engagement, not simple passive learning) is an excellent way to keep one’s mind sharp. But, perhaps one of the best ways is by doing something that also benefits us in other ways: exercise. Continue reading