How physical exercise makes your brain work better – The Guardian (June 18, 2016)

How physical exercise makes your brain work better – The Guardian (June 18, 2016)

The brain is often described as being “like a muscle”. It’s a comparison that props up the brain training industry and keeps school children hunched over desks. We judge literacy and numeracy exercises as more beneficial for your brain than running, playing and learning on the move.

But the brain-as-muscle analogy doesn’t quite work. To build up your biceps you can’t avoid flexing them. When it comes to your brain, an oblique approach can be surprisingly effective. In particular, working your body’s muscles can actually benefit your grey matter.

Scientists are showing that the runner’s high and the yogi’s tranquility have profound effects on your brain. Moreover, specific physical activities can markedly alter its structure in precise ways. For further reading, visit “The Guardian”.

Article Written by: Ben Martynoga. He is a neuroscientist and science writer. He’s currently a visiting researcher at the Francis Crick Institute in London.

Courtesy: Guardian News & Media Ltd.

Today’s Words:

  1. Prop up (phrasal verb) – support, assist, bolster up, help when someone/something is about to fail.
  2. Hunch over (verb) – raise shoulder and bend forward when sitting/standing. Bow, curl, bend, hump, crook, arch.
  3. Literacy (noun) – the ability to read and write, knowledge.
  4. Numeracy (noun) – understanding of numbers and quantitative basics.
  5. Oblique (adjective) – indirect, in-explicit, roundabout.
  6. Grey matter (noun) – brain, brain tissues, dark tissue in the brain & spinal cord composed of neuronal cell bodies, axons terminals and others
  7. Tranquility (noun) – calmness, restfulness, reposefulness, quietness, silence.
  8. Profound (adjective) – great, deep, extreme, acute.
  9. Markedly (adverb) –  apparently, noticeably, significantly.
  10. Impetus (noun) – motivation, stimulus, encouragement, inspiration.
  11. Aerobic exercise (adjective) – strengthening exercises for heart & lungs (involving better oxygen flow).
  12. Hippocampus (noun) – human brain’s part which is useful in learning, storing, processing memory.
  13. Cardiovascular (adjective) – relating to heart & blood vessels.
  14. Scupper (verb) – ruin, wreak, destroy, damage, spoil.
  15. Intersperse (verb) – intermix, mix, mingle, vary.
  16. Bout (noun) – spell, period, stretch, stint, time, session,cycle.
  17. Adept (adjective) – expert, skillful, proficient, accomplished.
  18. Manipulate (verb) – control, influence, manoeuvre.
  19. Reap – receive, obtain, get, acquire (some benefit)
  20. Potent (adjective) – powerful, strong, vigorous, mighty, formidable.
  21. Elation (noun) – happiness, joy, jubilation, excitement, delight.
  22. Opiate –  calmative, palliative, mind-altering drug, tranquilizer, depressant, pain reliever.
  23. Endorphin (noun) – hormone secreted in the brain and nervous system which helps to produce internal opiate. (internal opiate helps to relieve body pain).
  24. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) – It is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.
  25. Psychoactive (adjective) – (of a drug) affecting the mind.
  26. Cannabis (noun) – marijuana/hemp which is used as a psychotrophic drug.
  27. Cry out (phrasal verb) – say (loudly) that something is needed, appeal/request (for something necessary).
  28. Empirical (adjective) – observed, experimental, practical, factual.
  29. Bolster (verb) – strengthen, boost, support, reinforce, assist, help.
  30. Divergent thinking – thinking differently to get a right solution for a problem.
  31. Convergent thinking – thinking to find the best solution from the options available.
  32. Home in on (idiom) – focus on, concentrate on, zero in on, aim at.
  33. Stroll (verb) – walk slowly in a leisured way.
  34. Compelling (adjective) – fascinating, engrossing, riveting, enthralling, thrilling.
  35. Cognitive (adjective) – related to the mental processes (cognition) of thinking, understanding, learning, remembering.
  36. Preservation (noun) – conservation, protection, maintenance, care, safeguarding, keeping.
  37. Fend off (phrasal verb) – keep off, hold off, discourage, prevent, stop, halt.
  38. Wear and tear (noun) – damage, deterioration, degeneration.
  39. Dementia (noun) – mental illness, Alzheimer’s disease, madness,
  40. Agility (noun) – deftness, nimbleness, ability to think and understand quickly.
  41. Restorative (noun) – something which restores health & strength.
  42. Tease out (phrasal verb) – find something out, unravel.
  43. Impinge (verb) – affect, have an effect on, impact, influence.
  44. Dither about (verb) – hesitate, delay thing, falter, be undecided, be unsure.
  45. be off (phrasal verb) – leave, go  away, to start going, running etc.


  • Click each one of the words above for their definition, more synonyms, pronunciation, example sentences, phrases, derivatives, origin and etc from .
  • Synonyms provided for the words above are my personal work and not that of Oxford University Press.

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