Genius Hack to Make Your Brain Smarter
Exercise has heaps of perks, many beyond what we see on the outside.
January 7, 2020
A New Year's resolution is just one of those traditions you wanna skip but feel an internal pressure to commit to. And if you’re still riding the “I’m gonna be super fit in 2020” bandwagon and don’t plan on getting off anytime soon, congratulations! We all know how hard it is to get the momentum going after weeks of sleeping in and eating terribly. While getting into shape is a well known benefit of getting a hot bod, many people are unaware that a fit body also equals a fit mind.
Study after study has shown that physical activity keeps our heart healthy, works as an antidepressant, boosts our immune system, and keeps our brain in shape. If people only knew how amazing a quick workout is for every part of the body, we may think of it less like a chore and more like a treat. Physical activity is so important to health that the US Department of Health and Human Services created guidelines to help Americans figure out how much exercise we should be getting on the daily. They even go as far to say that “adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits”.
Exercise is also a top strategy to keep the brain cells happy and healthy. In a recent review published September 2019 in Genes, several studies illustrated that exercising can increase memory and attention. One study mentioned was in 18 to 30 year old healthy German subjects. The study showed that the subjects were able to remember more foreign language vocabulary when they studied while they were doing very low intensity exercise (e.g. walking) compared to when they were at rest. Even though these studies uncovered the benefits of physical activity and brain health, the verdict is still out on the right amount and intensity of exercise that has the most benefit. Check out our latest Podcast on the effects of exercise on brain health.
Exercise has heaps of perks, many beyond what we see on the outside. And it isn’t an all-or-nothing deal. All types of activities -- walking, running, stretching, weight lifting -- bring their own unique benefits to the brains and brawns. Simply moving the body releases lots of feel good chemicals. Think dopamine, endorphins, and brain-derived neutrotrophic factor, a factor in the body that controls thinking and the growth and development of the brain.
One of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health is to incorporate a form of exercise into your daily routine. Just like learning, physical activity can be done anywhere and at anytime. If you can fit the gym into your schedule, great! If not, don’t fret! There are tons of no cost, quick, high reward exercises you can do anywhere:
Yes, this is a form of exercise. It’s not the only form you should do but it’s an easy way to give yourself a mental break and get moving. Added benefits if you slip on those tennies, walk around the block, and get some Vitamin D from the good ol' sun.
You don’t even have to stand up to do this one. You can stretch while sitting, laying down, or standing in place. I read and work a lot on the computer so every half hour or so, I do a combo of these exercises to get the blood flowing and prevent my muscles from feeling stiff: neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, or sitting 'cat cow'.
Dancers aren’t the only ones with moves. Lots of people claim that they hate to dance but when you’re alone in your room and the tunes are turned up, you can’t help but move your body. Dancing is a great way to get your mood and brain waves up, sans the audience.
You can weight lift anything. When I was in Pharmacy school, I used my pharmacology book to do bench presses. Other good weight options are a basket of laundry or a full backpack.
Studies have shown that exercising while studying can help you remember more.With the Leksi text to speech app you can listen to your study materials while you’re walking, jogging, or running. Leksi makes it easy and convenient to create and save audio versions of your notes, files, or articles so you can scroll and listen whenever, wherever. Login to your Lekis Library to get your brain and grades in shape.
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