Archive for November, 2010
I started reading the new Nicholas Carr book The Shallows the other day. The premise of the book is that internet usage affects our brains, rewiring us for the new technology. Carr reports that some who use the internet tell of a difficulty reading long articles or books. I must say that I certainly skim newspapers more than I once did, so feel as though my reading ability has been affected as well. That said, I make a deliberate effort to continue to read books, magazines and newspapers precisely because they open my mind up in new directions. On-screen and off-screen reading are very different activities, and I continue both as an effort to cross-train my brain.
Take the example of typing versus piano playing. I am a professional computer programmer and have been a proficient typer for decades. I am also an amateur piano player and play a little for fun. What I can tell you is that typing and piano playing feel completely different and use a different nuance altogether. The short staccato pecks on a keyboard are nothing like the fluid, graceful movements of piano playing, although both actions are done primarily with the hands.
Lately I have undertaken a daily exercise regime for my health. What I can tell you is that I need to do many different types of exercise to keep myself fit. It is not enough for me to do some daily yoga, but rather mix up my regime to include a wide variety of activities including swimming, palates, biking, skating, roller-blading. Not only does this work many different muscle groups in different ways, it makes exercise interesting. I find that the more I exercise the more I want to try different things or try things again I did long ago.
Like the body, the brain needs a similar variety of activities for optimum performance. Keep your brain sharp by reading a variety of mediums.