November 09, 2009

Cycling and the Brain

More broadly: exercise in the brain, with an emphasis on cycling. There's a neat article in the Nov. 2009 issue of Bicycling about the effects of cycling on ADHD. The focus is on a first-year college student named Adam Leibovitz, in the lead article Riding is My Ritalin, in which Leibovitz is able to control his attention difficulties with long bicycle rides.

There are a few interesting sidebars in the article.
  • Christine Mattheis summarizes some scholarly articles on the cognitive benefits of riding (as well as other regular exercise) in Your Brain on Cycling
  • Bruce Barcott describes exercise as a tool to combat ADHD in The Exercise Option: Who Knew?
  • Mattheis also reviews Michael Wendt's research suggesting the possibility of controlling ADHD with exercise in The Drug-Free Drug
I was intrigued by (summaries of) so much research demonstrating not only that exercise is good for mood but also good for concentration. Barcott quotes Harvard's John Ratey: " 'Regular exercise can raise the baseline levels of both norepinephrine and dopamine,' he says, 'which are the same neurotransmitters that Ritalin and Adderall go after.' "

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