The Case for Exercise

by Site Author

Lumosity is a video game designed to make you smarter. At least, that’s what the game’s creators say. Lumos Labs bills the iPhone game as “sophisticated, scientifically designed brain training for anyone.” Playing the game, they claim, will improve your working memory and intelligence.

Unfortunately, the game doesn’t do that. Brain games are bogus. To date, no video game has been shown to actually improve intelligence. Playing games makes you better at… playing games. The skills don’t transfer into other areas of life. Indeed, for adults, there is little that can improve intelligence. Playing chess, crossword puzzles, or Lumosity doesn’t help.

So when neuroscientist Nicholas Spitzer, is asked whether he plays brain-training games, he is quick to criticize the hype. But, Spitzer is also quick to offer an alternative. Brain games don’t make you smarter, but three other things do. According to Spitzer, “exercise is number one, diet number two and then social interaction. These are the important things for brain function.”

Indeed, many people feel “sharper” on days after they exercise. Exercise can be a kind of secret weapon. Richard Branson, the billionaire owner of Virgin airlines, was once asked how he is so productive. His answer: exercise. He starts every day with a swim or game of tennis, and claims to achieve twice as much in a day by keeping fit.