The Throwing Human

How often per week do you throw stuff at things? It turns out the more often you do the stronger your brain becomes. The human arm, shoulder, eyes, and brain are specially designed to throw things with both force and accuracy. The unique combination of physical and mental structures was evolved by our ancestral hunters. What we lacked in raw power we made up for with force multipliers of rocks, sticks, and other thrown objects. You may have seen monkeys at the zoo throw their poo. Studies have shown the most accurate of these monkeys also score the highest on intelligence tests.

Throwing stuff at things has been shown to strengthen neural connections in the brain. The development of these connections is particularly good for children. Personally, I used to set aside time several days a week with my young daughters for them to throw beanbags at a target across the room. Each hit earned them a dime and it wasn't long before they finished the sessions with several dollars in their hands. That was almost a decade ago and they still have amazing eye-hand coordination as well as scoring at the tops of their classes at school. How much was due to throwing things at stuff is hard to know for sure but science says it helps.

If you don't have the space to throw things at stuff, consider throwing things to yourself...juggling! All it takes is three cheap beanbags or tennis balls and a room without much breakable stuff. At first it may be frustrating but as you practice you'll get better and better as your brain/body connection gets stronger and stronger. You'll also discover that juggling for five minutes is a good upper-body workout!

So, grab your tribe and head over to the nearest axe-throwing bar to rebuild the muscles and coordination your ancestors had. This will strengthen your brain as well as build the tribal social bonds. It's a win-win!


The Throwing Madonna

Time-source of neural plasticity in complex bimanual coordinative tasks: Juggling




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