Your brain is no different than any other muscle in your body and therefore needs to be exercised. Physical exercise is not only important for your body’s health but it also helps your brain stay sharp. By putting on your runners and hitting the gym you can boost your brain’s fitness especially with aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise has shown to have positive effects on the brain on many levels, ranging from molecular to behavioral. According to a recent study, even 20 minutes of exercise helps the brain’s informational process and memory functions. While another study states that exercise increases the growth factor in the brain making it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections.
Exercise increases your heart rate which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also aids the release of hormones which helps provide a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells. From a behavioral perspective, the same antidepressant-like effects of “Runners High” are associated with a drop in stress hormones.
In general, anything that is good for your heart is good for your brain. Aerobic exercise not only improves brain function but it also acts like a first aid kit on damaged brain cells.
The next time you change your routine, try incorporating coordination into your cardiovascular exercise. Why not try a dance class? Ballroom dancing is both physical and mentally demanding as it involves different parts of the brain such as coordination, rhythm and strategy.
And finally if you like your alone time at the gym, try a circuit workout. It gets your heart rate up quickly and constantly redirects your attention.
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Aristotle