The problem: I lost my car keys. What kind of training will make my brain work better?
The solution: Brain-boosting software programs are a booming business. And studies show that both computer exercises and old-fashioned mental activities - reading or crafting - can affect memory.
But the best thing you can do for your brain is to move your body.
"If I had to pick between fitness training and brain training, I'd go with fitness," said Sam Wang, an associate professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. So far, he said, exercise has been shown to have an effect several times larger than computer-brain exercise.
But Wang noted that "fitness training only lasts as long as the benefit to your cardiovascular system." Brain exercise, on the other hand, "might last longer."
Why not combine mental and physical fitness? That's the idea behind Brain Center America's NeuroActive Bike, which allows people to select from 22 brain-stimulating exercises while they pedal.
Wang said he would never shell out $3,995 for the bike, which is available in the U.S. only in South Florida, but it could be a double workout for the brain.
What he would really like to see is a computer that works only if he's moving on an exercise bike or treadmill.
(c) 2009, Chicago Tribune.
Visit the Chicago Tribune on the Internet at www.chicagotribune.com/
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Explore further: NY councilman wants ban on kid toys in high-calorie meals