But does exercise reopen the window of neuroplasticity? That might be the wrong way to frame the question. One of the last couple of decades' big neurological insights, as Boyle's piece recounts, is that the window stays open, or at least openable, our whole lives. "Your brain can always change, whatever your age," says UCSF's Michael Merzenich, a seminal researcher of brain plasticity. "And there are things you can do to make it change faster," he says.
As far as my review of the science can tell, nothing works better than exercise to keep the brain's plasticity window open...or to pry it open once again. So for now, while you wait for a learning pill to take before dulcimer class, Rebecca, try walking to your lesson.