Hidden in this picture is a device that will make you smarter.
It's not the telescope in the back corner. It is not the alarm clock in the box waiting for the next garage sale. It's not the board games on the dresser. It's the exercise bike.
People who exercise regularly outscore people who don't in tests of long-term memory, reasoning, attention and problem solving. Now, you might be thinking that there is only a correlation between these two variables. Perhaps people who are physically active tend to be more mentally active and those two outcomes are caused by some third genetic characteristic. The thing is, it turns out that when people who lead sedentary lifestyles start exercising regularly, their cognitive skills improve over time.
There is actually a biological explanation. We only have one heart. So, when people exercise, blood flow is increased to the every part of the body, not just the specific muscles being worked on. So, exercise makes the body more efficient at moving muscles and getting oxygen to the brain.
For a more in depth look at the topic, read chapter one of John Medina's book "Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School." He writes more about the biology behind exercise. I will write more about the book when I get to the next chapter. So far, it has been a fascinating read.