Exercise on the Brain

In Monday’s post, I talked about the exciting study that indicated that 20 minutes of yoga can improve both cognitive efficiency and accuracy in the hours afterwards.  If yoga isn’t your thing (and that’s okay!  Find what you like!), that doesn’t mean the link between exercise and your brain is broken.

Rather, in another study by the Cooper Institute, research indicates that fit individuals who participate in regular exercise in midlife can help stave off cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life.  If you’ve ever watched a loved one suffer from either of these ailments, you know how tremendously difficult this row is to hoe.

I think this type of research is so exciting; it demonstrates that exercise has so many benefits.  While the physical benefits are obvious to most people– heart health, weight control, strength to power through the everyday– the mental benefits of exercise are less well-known.  For those people who never feel the surge of endorphins that can come with a high-intensity workout (and that’s okay, too!), there are still brain benefits to be had from exercise.

Next time you’re thinking of skipping your workout, think about how much goodness comes from your regular sweat session.  Work your muscles, breathe deeply, and reap the benefits– know that you’re doing good things for yourself both in the present and laying foundations for good health in the longer-term.


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