When we think of exercise, anything from planks, sit-ups, squats, and push-ups may come to mind, But, in all our training programs there is one exercise we almost always forget – the brain.
Exercise may be good for your body, but at the same time, training the brain is essential to our mental and emotional health. In addition, boosting the brain performance will leave you more energized, healthier and emotionally balanced.
To really understand the practice of exercising and how it affects the brain, neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki opens up on the reasons physical activity is recommended.
Exercise Saves Your Brain!
Dr. Suzuki begins her journey starting with herself. After feeling down and blue for a long time, Dr. Suzuki decided that some exercise might do her body and mentality good.
So, she committed to exercising daily. By merely exercising for some time, Dr. Suzuki uncovered a change for the better in her mood, energy levels, and calmness.
Intrigued by this discovery, the doctor wanted to know more about how the body and brain work when exercising.
This ultimately led her to discover important reasons why the brain benefits from exercising, as listed below.
Brain Benefits of Exercising
1. It Stimulates the Brain Performance
Exercising triggers the release of dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline, all known neurotransmitters. When these are produced in larger quantities, they improve your mood, focus, attention and overall stability.
As per studies, even a minor exercise can trigger the brain to work faster than usual, thus making you more efficient in your daily life.
In fact, research done at Western University, Canada, studied individuals who were keen on exercising and those who weren’t.
The research findings showed that subjects who enjoyed physical activity responded faster than those who didn’t train, by staggering 50 milliseconds. In percentage, this indicates a 14% boosted brain performance, as a result of physical training.
2. It Boosts Attention and Focus
As per Dr. Suzuki and studies in the field, exercising regularly boosts the attention area in the brain. With this, those who exercise increase their focus and attention span, while also obtaining more energy.
Studies in the field explain that doing aerobics is one of the best ways to achieve a greater focus and still provide the body with plenty of benefits.
3. It is a Brain Protection Method
The brain is easily subjected to many ailments, especially neurodegenerative disorders. With this, the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus make two parts of the brain which need the most attention.
When exercising, you not only erase signs of premature aging but also suppress any development of brain-related issues. Such include memory loss, dementia and even Alzheimer’s.
As per Dr. Suzuki, by increasing the level of exercises over time, you train your brain to become resistant to these disorders.
How Much Should You Exercise to Boost the Brain?
The thing is, it doesn’t take a hardcore training programs to stimulate the brain. However, you do need to set a weekly exercise goal, which will encourage your brain to adapt to this new practice.
Dr. Suzuki suggests that if you want to maintain the brain healthy, you will need to exercise 3-4 times a week, for a minimum of 30 minutes. Aerobics, as mentioned, makes one of the best brain exercises, together with yoga and meditation.
And no, you don’t need any gym to squeeze in exercising in your lifestyle. In fact, by merely walking or climbing stair, you can acquire the same brain boost as with lifting weights.
Additional Tricks to Boost the Brain Performance
Together with exercising (which is a must!), there are other ways to trigger a better brain performance. Such include:
- Hydrating regularly and sticking to a pro-brain-health diet.
- Talking as much as possible and using your cognitive abilities daily.
- Disconnecting from real-life stressors.
- Snacking healthily.
- Enjoying aromatherapy, which can seriously aid the brain.
- Keeping the gut healthy, by consuming plenty of probiotics and electrolytes.
- Breathing properly, especially when exposed to a stressful situation.
Take your health into your own hand and remember- it all begins and ends with the brain!