Does watching sports increase brain function?

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I have watched football games, football reruns and football highlights for more than 30 years. Now a new study at the University of Chicago, finds that people who watch sports may experience an increase in brain function. If this is true, then my husband must be a genius.

Researchers found that being an athlete or merely a fan improves language skills when it comes to discussing their sport because parts of the brain usually involved in playing sports are instead used to understand sport language, Reportedly this changes neural networks in the brain enhancing brain function. The study concludes that the brain may be more flexible in adulthood than previously thought.

Actually, the results are not really all that surprising. Any activity that makes you use your brain can improve function and memory. The Alzheimers Association recommends regular brain exercises such as crossword puzzles to maintain healthy brain cells. It also recommends regular social interaction as recent research demonstrates a lower risk of Alzheimers among people who live with other family members.

I guess I have to admit that football probably fits the bill for brain protection. When I see my husband dancing around the family room giving "air fives" to everyone while screaming about a touchdown, I just try to remind myself that he is just getting smarter.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. She is a relationship expert and author of Why Did I Marry You Anyway? Overcoming the Myths that Hinder a Happy Marriage. For her Free e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro.

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