Genius and exercise

Genius and exercise (Einstein, Turing, Thims) 2
A number of geniuses follow a regular exercise routine and or think up their best insights and solutions while exercising, such as: Einstein (biking), photo shown being him riding a bicycle (1933) in front of Ben Meyer’s house, Santa Barbara, Turing (running and rowing), photo shown being him running (Ѻ) a marathon (or some race) in 1946, Hypatia (rowing, swimming, horseback riding), Dirac (walking), Kierkegaard (walking), and Thims (running, biking, free weights, primarily, [along with: elliptical, stair climber, swimming, etc., on occasion]), photo shown being a mock photo of him running at a 15 percent incline at 7.8 mph at one of the Chicago gyms.
In genius studies, genius and exercise refers to the exercise habits peculiar to geniuses, e.g. walking, riding bikes, running, in their daily or weekly regimen, and also to studies on brain development and exercise.

English polymath Alan Turing used rowing as an undergraduate at Cambridge and then later, after winning a fellowship to King’s College, began to run intensely, continuing to do so into his 30s and thereafter to process information. In his mid-30s he supposedly ran a very-impressive 2:46:03 marathon, and was mentioned as possible representative for England in the 1948 Olympics. He is said to have often run a route from Cambridge to Ely and back, a distance of 50 kilometers (31 miles)

Sometime after WWII, in circa 1947, when asked by J.F. Harding, the secretary of Walton Athletic Club, the local athletic club, in which Turing was considered the best runner, why he “punished himself so hard in training”, he responded: [6]

“I have such a stressful job that the only way I can get it out of my mind is by running hard; it’s the only way I can get some release.”
Alan Turing (c.1947), reply to J.F. (Peter) Harding on why he punished himself so much in training [7]

Turing often ran the 10-miles between the two places where he did most of his work, the National Physical Laboratory and the electronics building on Dollis Hill, beating colleagues who took public transportation to the office. (Ѻ)

Libb Thims, very similar to Turing, ran his first marathon (Chicago Marathon, 2001), for the first 18 miles, at a 2:50:00 marathon time (Ѻ) pace, which was his “predicted marathon time”, based on estimation charts according to his 1-mile and 5K times, albeit finish eventually at 3:06 (a Boston Marathon qualifying time), had longest one day run distance of 40-miles (ran on a treadmill at 7.8 mph at 15% incline), a one mile time of 4:55-min, and frequently as a youth while on vacation, in the upper peninsula of Michigan, would run from town to town (30 mile distances), and or bike from town to town (60 mile distances), wherein he had different relatives, in the for fun.

A number of studies show positive correlation between exercise and cognitive ability.

In the 1990s, Carl Cotman, and colleagues, at the University of California at Irvine, conducted experiment in which they found that putting rats on treadmills induced their brain cells to produce chemical “growth factor” that spurs growth of dendrites, thereby expanding communication networks. The study found that neuronal grown happened not only in parts of the brain that have to do with motor control, but also in areas of the brain that control memory, reasoning, thinking, and learning. Exercise was also found to increase blood flow to the brain. Moreover, older humans who exercised scored higher on tests of cognitive function than nonexercisers. Cotman summarized his findings as follows: [1]

“Simply running a few days a week increases brain proteins, and helps protect nerve cells from injury, cells known to be associated with cognition.”

Another study, conducted by Arthur Kramer, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, wherein 124 men and women, aged 60-75, who never or rarely exercised, were put on an exercise program of either a brisk one-hour walk or yoga type stretching, three times a week, after which, six months later, found that “walkers” scored 25 percent higher than “stretchers” on cognitive tests of executive control or memory, specifically in higher functions of decision-making, planning, scheduling, ability to quickly switch tasks, look up and remember phone numbers. [1]

In a study by William Greenough, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, wherein rats were raised in three different environments: alone in cages, two to a cage, and in a large playground cage with many young rats, toys, and treadmills, it was found that only with four days of exposure, rats in playground environment “went wild with new growth—the dendrites of their synapses and the length of their dendrites increased profusely and rapidly and they suddenly acquired more connections per nerve cell—more synapses—and a lush forest of dendrites”, as Jean Carper summarizes. [1]
Nietzsche (on walking)

In a study done by neuroscientist Fred Gage, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California, new born rats were put either into ordinary laboratory housing and others into enriched environment housing, replete with climbing tubes and running wheels, novel food, and lots of social interaction, after which, two months later, the teenage rats, per examination using a tracer drug to pinpoint new brain cells, varied to the effect that the standard environment rats had 270,000 neurons per hippocampus hemisphere, whereas the enriched environment rats had 320,000 neurons per hippocampus hemisphere, i.e. the enriched rats had 20 percent more brain cells in the memory and learning centers of the brain. Moreover, the enriched rats were smarter, performing better on water maze tests of memory and learning. [1]

American anthropologist Helen Fisher, citing the New York Times article “Runner’s High”, reports the following: [5]

“Jogging, biking, and other forms of strenuous physical activity are known to drive up levels of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens of the brain, bestowing feelings of euphoria.”

The cited article, as reported by former addict Bill Fox and recreational bicyclists, notes that two-hours of sweaty, intense, vigorous exercise, produces an equivalent effect equivalent to cocaine, a “well-being kind of feeling, that Superman kind of feeling”. [6]

Fisher continues:

“Exercise also elevates serotonin and some endorphins, calming substances. And it increases BDNF (brain-derives neurotropic factor) in the hippocampus, the memory center, which protects and makes new nerve cells.”

(add discussion)

Genius exercise habits
A number of geniuses either followed a certain exercise regimen-philosophy or, if they were forced prodigies, had parents who initiated a certain physical exercise program to coincide with the mental exercise program.

The most famous of these is Greek female universal genius Hypatia (IQ=190) who, per the guidance of Theon, the last head of the Library of Alexandria, as part of his plan to raise a female polymath, established a regimen of physical training for Hypatia, such as rowing, swimming, and horseback riding, to ensure that her body would be as healthy as her well-trained mind.

German-born American physicist Albert Einstein (IQ=220) frequently commented that a large number of his theories were conceived while riding his bicycle. The most famous of these responses, was when Einstein was queried about his theory of relativity, to which he replied, something to the effect that he conceived the relativity while riding a bike.

Paul Dirac famously preferred to spend his nights talking long, solitary walks around the city, of Copenhagen, setting out from his lodgings after dinner, take a tram to its terminus and walk the streets back to his digs, thinking about the problems of quantum mechanics. [3]

Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard took what he referred to as a “people bath” each day walking around his native streets for some two decades in the 1830s chewing over ideas. [4]

American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims early on followed a motto that "once goes the body, so goes the mind"; early on in his educational climb, he frequently rode his bicycle some 20-miles per day, nearly throughout his entire electrical engineering education; most of the writing of his 2007 Nobel Prize nominated Human Chemistry textbook, which Russian physical chemist Georgi Gladyshev claims "symbolizes the beginning of a new era (epoch) in human history", was done at while running on the treadmill at a 15% incline, at various Powerhouse/X-Sport gyms; in fact towards the tail end of the writing process, in order to ensure completion, specifically after chapter 10 (Goethe’s Affinities), Thims ran continuously every day for six months straight, exactly 6-miles per day, at a 15% incline, at exactly 7.8 miles per hour, for a total of 1,080 miles, during which time new concepts and theories and solutions to problems were pushed out and grew in the mind "while on" the treadmill.

At one point, prior to the writing of Human Chemistry, on one particular day, Thims had ran a record total 40-miles, at the same rate and incline, although broken up into 10 four mile chunks, with 15-minute breaks in between run sets.

German polyintellect Johann Goethe noticeably met his reaction end at the reaction extent (age) of 82 without an ounce of fat on his body, as recounted by Eckermann: “Frederick drew aside the sheet, and I was astonished at the divine magnificence of the limbs. The breast was powerful, broad, and arched; the arms and thighs were elegant, and of the most perfect shape; nowhere, on the whole body, was there a trace of either fat or of leanness and decay” (see: Goethe timeline, 23 Mar 1832).

In forced prodigies, Sufiah Yusuf (1984-), similar to Hypatia, albeit not a success in the long run, was forced child math prodigy, who passed her maths A level aged 12 and started at St Hilda's College, Oxford at age 13. Her domineering father Farooq Yusuf, early on subjected her to his "accelerated learning technique", in which her days revolved around stretching and breathing exercises in freezing-temperature rooms so as "to keep her brain attentive"; Sufiah would then study hard and be forced to play tennis with just as much intensity as fanatical Farooq drove her on. The routine was so effective, that Sufiah was seeded number eight in the country for under 21s (Ѻ). The pressure and or technique, however, was too much, and at age 15, she eventually ran away and become a $400 per date ($95,000 annually) escort, telling the police that she'd "had enough of 15 years of physical and emotional abuse".

The following are related quotes:

“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
— Socrates (c.410BC), Publication

“I have walked myself into my best thoughts.”
Soren Kierkegaard (c.1840) [4]

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”
Friedrich Nietzsche (Ѻ)

“I thought of that while riding my bicycle.”
Albert Einstein (c.1930), response to query about relativity [2]

1. Carper, Jean. (2000). Your Miracle Brain: Dramatic New Scientific Evidence Reveals How You Can Use Food and Supplements to: Maximize Brain Power, Boost Your Memory, Lift Your Mood, Improve Your IQ and Creativity, Prevent and Reverse Mental Aging (Greenough experiment, pgs. 30-31; Gage experiment, pgs. 31-32; treadmills, pgs. 35-36; Kramer study, pgs. 35-36). Harper Collins Publishers.
2. Anon. (2014). Keep Calm and Pedal On (pg. #). Random House.
3. (a) Interview with Dirdca, AHQP, 14 May 1963, pg. 9.
(b) Farmelo, Graham. (2009). The Strangest Man: the Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom (pg. 111). Basic Books.
4. (b) Interview with Monica Dirac, 3 May 2006.
(b) Farmelo, Graham. (2009). The Strangest Man: the Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom (pgs. 111-12). Basic Books.
5. (a) Kolata, Gina. (2002). “Runner’s High? Endorphins? Fiction, Some Scientists Say”, The Science Times, New York Times (FI and F6), May 21.
(b) Fisher, Helen. (2004). Why We Love: the Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love (exercise, pg. 185). Henry Holt and Company.
6. Kolata, Gina. (2002). “Runner’s High? Endorphins? Fiction, Some Scientists Say”, The Science Times, New York Times (FI and F6), May 21.
7. Anon. (2014). “Alan Turing the Runner” (Ѻ), The Runner Eclectic, WordPress, Dec 1.

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