It is time to go back to school for many. We all know the benefits of exercise for your health. In fact it is essential. Research actually shows that exercise is vitally important for keeping your mind sharp and your brain functioning. Exercise is one of the best ways to increase brain power.
I recently dealt with a frozen shoulder and this limited a lot of my normal physical activity. I also noticed a little more brain fog. Finally my shoulder is 'unfreezing' or thawing as my physical therapist puts it. I'm back full steam exercising. I can't believe how stiff and out of shape I got. But I will tell you that I have noticed a huge increase in my energy, no more brain fog, and and I don't need as much sleep - I wake up energized and refreshed.
There are several studies that suggest that exercise can boost brain power. Physically fit kids have more 'white matter' in their brains; greater ability for memory, learning and attention.
According to Laura Chaddock-Heyman a postdoctoral researcher with the department of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, "Aerobically fit and physically fit children have improved brain health and superior cognitive (thinking) skills than their less-fit peers."
Exercise helps you study, focus, improve brain function, your ability to learn new things, and increase energy. It is a great remedy and help for improving your performance with your studies.
Research tells us that our bodies are hardwired for movement. Dr. Darren Weissman in his book 'Awakening to the Secret Code of Your Mind' stated, "Think about it - if movement is integral to the optimal function of the brain, what happens when we're not moving? I believe it means we're actually limiting our ability to achieve our highest potential."
But exercise isn't just about keeping our bodies fit, or improving test scores; it also helps to reduce the risk of memory disorders including Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Some memory loss is normal as we age, but we can keep our brain active by staying active ourselves.
Even after just a few weeks of a moderate exercise program, studies show improved brain function. No study has ever shown that a drug can do what is possible with exercise.
So whether you are in school, middle aged or a senior; you will absolutely benefit from exercise. Make it fun. Even if you are physically impaired or bed ridden, there is a lot you can do even if all you can do is take deep breaths.
It doesn't matter so much what you do as long as you are moving. Variety is nice as it uses different movements. But do what you enjoy and have fun and keep moving. Shoot for an average of 30 minutes 5 times weekly. Just make exercise a priority.
As for what is the best exercise...well that is a big topic itself. There are all kinds of exercise theory and programs out there and many are wonderful. But it doesn't matter if you are not enjoying yourself. If you are walking on the treadmill and hating it - you are not reaping as many benefits. I had an exercise device in my bedroom for years and I hated it - I never used it. It did make a great and expensive place to hang clothes.
I enjoy walking, bike riding, hiking, resistance training with bands, Jazzercise, Yoga, Zumba, weight lifting, going to the gym where the teacher pushes me, and sometimes walking on the treadmill. You don't have to spend a lot of money either. Cans of food make great weights. I've been known to do the dancing games with my kids. Recently I discovered Ageless Grace, an exercise program for everyone. If you live in the Gila Valley, Irene teaches you how to do the Ageless Grace program. Check out her page and information and come join us.
If you need some motivation, get a friend or a coach/mentor. If I don't feel like walking, I'll call a friend while walking; or I get on the treadmill and read. It makes the time pass easier. Find an exercise partner. Challenge someone to join you.
The benefits are clear, you can notice a difference yourself. And the studies clearly show that the key to staying younger, keeping your body and your mind fit and to increase brain power, you need to exercise.
Of course check with your doctor before beginning a new fitness program.
What is your favorite exercise program? How do you stay fit? Leave a comment below.
P.S. That's me kayaking, I love it.
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Photo credits: Stock Photos and Stuart Miles at Freedigitalphotos.net