"Miracle-Gro for the brain"...

The Simple Way to Keep Your Mind Sharp

 

Can exercise keep your mind sharp? 

If someone figured out a way to cram all the benefits of exercise into a pill, it would be so popular and beneficial everyone would take it. 

Admittedly, I’m biased, because I love exercising, but it wasn’t always that way. My dad had to drag me to the gym and I hated every minute...at first. 
But like most difficult things that we try and try again, I got better at it and actually started to enjoy it. Today, it’s something I look forward to. 

When I exercise, I get to take a mental break from the world. I find I have more energy throughout the day, I’m in a better mood, I sleep like a baby, and I’m not as stressed out. 
 

So what is exercise actually doing for the mind?

Well, according to Dr. John J. Ratey’s book Spark, exercise increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). 
BDNF is “Miracle-Gro for the brain,” according to Ratey. BDNF sparks the growth of new neurons, synapses, and brain cells - which is vital to learning, memory, and higher thinking. 

  • One study found that just three 60-minute sessions of exercise increased memory.1 

  • In women between the ages of 60-78 years old, exercise increased cognition, brain size, and power.2 

  • Another study found that elderly people who engaged in aerobic exercise had bigger brains. 3 

  • Not surprisingly, people who exercise have lower rates of age-related memory and cognitive decline compared to sedentary people.4 

 

Other than exercise, what else can help boost BDNF? 

  • Learning something new
  • A good night’s sleep (exercise improves sleep, too!)
  • Getting some sun
  • Stress reduction (some studies show Fish Oil, Ginseng, and Turmeric may boost BDNF)

All in all, exercise looks like the key to a long, healthy life for your body and mind. I’ll leave you with this quote by Plato

REFERENCES:

  1. Anderson, Elizabeth, and Geetha Shivakumar. “Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety.” Frontiers in Psychiatry, Frontiers Media S.A., 23 Apr. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632802/.

  2. Burzynska AZ;Wong CN;Chaddock-Heyman L;Olson EA;Gothe NP;Knecht A;Voss MW;McAuley E;Kramer AF; “White Matter Integrity, Hippocampal Volume, and Cognitive Performance of a World-Famous Nonagenarian Track-and-Field Athlete.” Neurocase, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26237526/.

  3. Chapman, Sandra B., et al. “Distinct Brain and Behavioral Benefits from Cognitive vs. Physical Training: A Randomized Trial in Aging Adults.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 20 June 2016, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00338/full.

  4. Colcombe, Stanley J., et al. “Aerobic Exercise Training Increases Brain Volume in Aging Humans.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Nov. 2006, academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article/61/11/1166/630432.

 

 

 

Loading...

Your cart