We all know that exercise is good for us and and helps keep our bodies healthy, but did you know that exercise affects the brain?
A study performed by the University of Georgia’s Department of Exercise Science shows that exercising for as little as 20 minutes improves memory and information processing in the brain. When you consider that exercise moves oxygen through the body, it would logically move more through the brain, as well. This oxygen “feeds” the brain and the result is improved function.
A similar study performed in Sweden shows antidepressant effects from exercise. You may have heard about “runners’ high” that runners claim they feel after a good run. This results from a drop in stress hormones, which is connected to cell growth in the area of the brain connected to learning and memory, according to the Stockholm study.
What Are the “Best” Exercises for the Brain?
Have you seen advertisements for puzzles and other brain teasers on the internet that claim to contribute to brain health? Although they might indeed be good for your brain, I got to wondering if there were exercises that would combine an increase in body health with increased brain health. My online research did, in fact, show that a combination of physical and mental activity has a higher impact on brain function than physical or mental exercises alone. Furthermore, activities that combine rhythm, coordination, and strategy, like organized dancing (folk dancing, ballroom dancing, Zumba, etc), skiing, skating and running fall into these categories. These types of workouts are often the most fun, too!
The Bottom Line
Recognize that physical exercise is a way to improve and maintain both your body and brain! Remember that old saying: Use it or lose it? Apparently, it’s true! And, it doesn’t have to be costly! YouTube has hundreds of exercise videos that you can do from home absolutely free!
What exercise plan have you created for yourself to make this your best year?