Physical Activity comes with many perks. Big ones include losing weight, reducing the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases, prevent depression or to just look better. But, here’s the real deal – exercise can actually protect the brain in many ways and improve your cognitive and thinking skills.

Simply moving your body with moderate exercises has immediate, permanent and protective benefits for your brain. According to neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki, exercise is the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today. Learn how to exercise to improve cognitive health and memory.

Exercise to Improve Cognitive Health and Memory: Exercises have Immediate Effects

A single workout – moderate walking or a 20-minute Yoga session will improve the levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline. Now, this will give you an immediate mood booster. And, the effects don’t just stop there, you will actually find to have a better focus and concentration after your workout at least for two hours.

In addition, exercises will also improve your reaction times, which means that your mind will be better at problem-solving, which is very important. The best scientific evidence for this comes from a testing conducted on school children. These children had lessons interspersed with 20-minutes bouts of aerobics-style exercises and this seems to have improved the attention span of the children.

Definitely, this study proves the age-old adage of “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy”. So, the next time you are unable to focus on finishing your assignments, distract yourself with a small session of exercise and get back on track.

Enhance your Creativity

Many stalwarts claim that walking gives wings to your imagination. Studies have also proven this fact with empirical efforts. Walking on a treadmill or an outdoor stroll, actually promoted divergent thinking and opened up the creative trajectory for the participants immediately after this test. When you hit the wall or are mentally exhausted, try rebooting yourself with a simple walk or a few jumping jacks.

Exercise Boosts your Memory

Apart from the immediate brain benefits of exercise, there are also long-term effects. We all know how complex our brain and its parts are. But, the most important part of it is the Hippocampus, that is where our memory is. Events like your first kiss or the moment your first child is born forms our memory and is treasured forever in this region.

Cardiorespiratory exercises actually affect the hippocampus region and help to produce brand new brain cells. These new brain cells increase the volume of the Hippocampus, thereby improving your long-term memory.

Preserve your Cognitive Health

Just think of your brain like a muscle. The more you workout, the more brain cells are produced. This process is called as neurogenesis and it actually makes your hippocampus and other brain parts stronger.

Parts of the brain like the Prefrontal cortex and the medial temporal cortex controls your decision-making, thinking, attention and personality. As you exercise, the volume of these important parts of the brain is increased.

As you age, the brain is susceptible to cognitive decline and other neurodegenerative diseases. However, with increased exercises over your lifetime, you are creating a brain that is stronger and bigger. So, it takes longer for diseases like Alzheimer’s or Dementia to actually have an effect.

Simply think of Exercises as one magic tonic for your brain and the best part is that it’s free.

Put it to Test

Exercise has immense benefits to the brain, so how much of exercise should you actually get to reap its brain benefits?  For starters, you don’t need a rigorous workout or become an athlete to get these effects. The rule of thumb is to practice exercises that get your heart rate up and make you moderately breathless. The suggested frequency is 3 to 4 times a week for a duration of 30 minutes.

Find out what you enjoy the most, get up and do it. You don’t have to join an expensive Gym, simply include exercise as part of your life. For example, take the stairs, add an extra walk around the block or move around with your household chores.

Therefore, exercise for a happier life today and protect your brain from incurable diseases and cognitive decline!

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