If there is one thing that gets on my goat - and not many things do these days besides fluoro-coloured footy boots and socks around athletes' ankles, it is lazy thinking.

There is a school of thinking in rugby circles that too much brawn and not enough brain can be the demise of our Super Rugby teams. We need to balance the taro with the 'tinking' was a comment I heard in the crowd - as we watched the Chiefs and Blues battle it out on Friday night at Waikato Stadium.

The same scenario applies to the Highlanders, who let lazy thinking get in the way of what should have been a well-earned win against the Crusaders.

Lazy thinking for me comes from not using one's brain to its fullest capacity, and when that happens - to coin a rugby phrase, it's use it or lose it.


In fact, the brain is the most under-utilised organ in the body according to scientific research and does not seem to feature on the fitness radar.

Perhaps this is where the warning signs should be flashing about memory loss later in life? How we match "brainspan" to lifespan is the challenge.

In an age where image is everything - and length of life can be invoiced back to how long you spend working out each day, more and more I am convinced of the need to work on exercising the only organ the gym junkies left back in the locker room - my wairoro (brain).

The brain, in my opinion, is the one organ we all need to work out most, given it runs the rest of the show inside and outside of the complicated piece of machinery we call "me".

Cat Stevens once sang, "Lord, my body has been a good friend - but I won't need it when I reach the end". I reckon the Cat was right and ever since that song, I have treated my body as a friend and tried to work out how to keep it going for as long as possible.

One of my epiphany moments in life came while walking through Central Park on the island of Manhattan in New York. Like all Hitch Hikers to the Galaxy - looking for the meaning of life - and not finding it, I was constantly looking for how you could live it longest.

There were parts of that answer found in the temples of Kathmandu as there were in the complicated positioning of large rocks at Stonehenge, but the Hail Mary moment came when walking through Central Park in downtown NYC.

For a long time I have been working on the theory of use it or lose it and applying it to the engine room above my eyes - my brain.


I noticed two groups of people going about their daily routine of exercise. One group looked like they were not enjoying themselves so much and in a lot of pain, while the other looked very content and at peace with the planet.

It was the second group I focused on.

They were reading and writing while some were walking, doing yoga or tai chi, and some were even waltzing in the park together. Many were in their 80s, if not older - compared to the spanner crabs, as I call some gym junkies who walk kind of sideways, because of pumping too many weights and supplements in to their tinana (body).

Other than walking to their local library as a daily workout, I soon found out they all exercised their brains by reading, writing and thinking as a priority over running, lifting, jumping and gyrating at a gym.

When they did do physical exercise, it was the passive type such as tai chi, yoga, walking and swimming.

Hence, the epiphany of keeping the brain well-oiled and match fit.

For a long time I have been working on the theory of use it or lose it and applying it to the engine room above my eyes - my brain.

Reading 10,000 words a day is part of my routine, as is writing 1000 words.

I like to think I have a very fit brain. As for the rest of the body - hmmm, not so much.

Let's say the weekly walks around the Green Park golf course and a couple of circumnavigations of Mauao are about it.

However, I am banking on my reading of 10,000 words a day and disciplined writing of 1000 words a day will keep me in the game a little longer, as it has for the golden oldies I have met on life's hikoi across the planet.

Not all of us will become brainiacs or clever buggers.

All of us can keep our wairoro fit by reading more and applying exercises for the brain to stay focused.

Thanks for being part of my daily exercise routine and allowing me to live a little longer (by reading these 800 words.)

- broblack@xtra.co.nz