Learning a new sport for brain health: An amazing journey

Have you considered learning a new sport, not in your school times, that’s pretty normal, apart from that, after you are an adult and working? It’s a crazy thought, right? It’s not easy to take out time from our busy schedules and having to practice for hours in learning an entirely new sport. But, are you someone who wants to become more intellectual and raise their cognitive skills? Who doesn’t want that. Every person wants to be intelligent and tap into their brain power for excellent growth in work life as well as personal life. For example, learning to juggle, swim or even ride a bicycle is not only fun but also in strengthening the brain rather than other family pursuits like crossword puzzles or marathon training, as per a research of motor learning on the brain. 

Considering learning and intelligence, what comes to our mind is adding numbers, remembering names, writing poetry or learning a new language. Such type of thinking is known to be higher order cognition and it leads to activity in certain portions of the brain and promotes plasticity or even physical changes in those areas. Moreover, evidence is recorded that learning a second language as an adult brings increased white matter in the parts of the brain which is known to be involved in language processing. Therefore, exercising regularly changes the brain, as studies in animals show that running or other types of physical activity increases the no. of brain cells that are there in parts of the brain which are important for memory and thinking. 

But, the effect of this learning on the most integral portions of the brain have greatly not appreciated fully scientifically or outside the lab. As most of the people to the part of our brain known as the motor cortex, which controls how well we can move. We want to watch athletes go in action but little do we do anything for our own physical health, more than walking or jogging. We do not really wish to pursue any sport or learn any of the sports that we like watching with much vigor. Had we engaged in a sport, our brains would function 10times faster than ever. Some neurological studies suggest that learning any new skill in adulthood like juggling which results in an increase of the volume of gray matter in the parts of the brain which is related to movement control. 

Further, a study was conducted with mice in which it was found that when the mice were introduced to a very complicated kind of running wheel, in which the rungs were spaced in an irregular manner, in a way to enable animals to learn new, stutter type of running and that led to significant change in their brain. When they learnt to use these new wheels that led to increased myelination of neurons in the animal’s motor cortices. It is the process by which certain parts of the brain cell are being insulated so that the messages between neurons may proceed even more quickly and smoothly. 


At last, learning a new skill had transformed the inner working of the adult animal’s motor cortices well. There is no age for learning and growing, because it genuinely uplifts your soul and mind, helps in keeping you balanced and active throughout the day. If your instructor is younger than your age, then that will also boost your motivation to some extent. It will be of profound benefit to learn a new sport in old age and being an inspiration to others. 

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