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How Exercise Feeds The Brain

We all know that exercise is a basic requirement for our main organs to function properly, and most people have heard that exercise is excellent in alleviating stress, anxiety, to lift your mood, keep fit, help you concentrate and focus etc. There is more evidence that shows how exercise feeds the brain, and that’s its ability to improve memory, cognitive ability, and slow down or prevent dementia.  This article from by Meg Selig for Psychology Today, explains how recent research has presented all of the above findings.

How Exercise Feeds Your Brain

Exercise Feeds Your Brain1.  Exercise and memory smarts. Exercise guru Gretchen Reynolds reports here that when a group of 120 older men and women followed either a walking program or were part of a control group, the walkers performed better on cognitive tests and regained volume in the hippocampus—a part of the brain responsible for memory, certain types of learning, and the genesis of new brain cells. A typical 65-year-old walker developed the hippocampus of a 63-year-old.  My new goal: A youthful hippocampus!

2.  Exercise and name/face recognition.  In this study, after just 30 minutes of exercise, exercisers were better able to recall names and faces than volunteers who sat quietly for 30 minutes. This ability would come in handy in reducing those embarrassing I-know-I-know-you-but-who-are-you moments.

Continue reading on Psychology Today

So if you’re not regularly exercising already, hopefully these findings on how exercise feeds the brain will entice you to do so. I think not exercising, is like trying to run a car without maintaining it. It’ll be fine for a while, but soon enough the engine will become sluggish, and gradually, over time, parts will start to fail. It’s so important to exercise. It doesn’t even have to be strenuous but regular exercise is imperative.

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How Exercise Can Help You Focus

If you’re a regular on this site, you’ll know that there are a number of articles about the benefits of exercise in general and how exercise can help you focus.  Regular exercise is absolutely key for your body and its vital organs to function properly but there are added benefits too, three of which I have added below.  They are written by Jennifer Cohen for Forbes.com.

How Exercise Can Help You Focus

Increases Energy

The more you move, the more energized you will feel. Regular physical activity improves your muscle strength and boosts your endurance, giving you the energy you need to think clearer and come up with new ideas. A good 15 minutes of moving around, even just around your living room, makes your body produce more energy on a cellular level.

Sharpens Focus

Dr. John Ratey, author of “Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” says that exercise improves your brain in the short term by raising your focus for two to three hours afterwards.  If you have a presentation or speaking engagement try to work out beforehand; you’ll be at your peak when you have to perform. In the long term, it can even help starve off brain aging and Alzheimer’s. This works on the cellular level through neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to improve itself with blood flow and levels of brain-derived protein. He calls it “miracle-gro” for the brain, and it all comes from regular exercise!

Helps Impulse Control

Exercise helps trigger endorphins, which improve the prioritizing functions of the brain. After exercise, your ability to sort out priorities improves, allowing you to block out distractions and better concentrate on the task at hand.

Read the full article here

Of all the articles I’ve read about how exercise can help you focus this is the first time I have come across exercise as being an aid in impulse control.  This is a little gem of advice as I for one, act on impulse a little too frequently and struggle with decision-making.  From this day forth, I shall make decisions only after a decent workout.  Will you do the same? Share your thoughts below!

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