What if there was an easy and real way to help you with all of the following at once: stress, concentration, hormone dips and even depression Pass of Exile? No, not a magic medication or a weird diet – something truly simple and even pleasurable? Well, there is. And anyone can do it.
All it takes a tiny adjustment in how you see fitness. Maybe you think of fitness as working out 3 hours every night in a sweaty gym and drinking all kinds of shakes to get ‘ripped’. Rather, start looking at fitness as something to get your brain firing at its best.
That’s what Dr John Ratey is talking about in his book, Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
Written in an engaging, storytelling style, Ratey uses recent research to explain how exercise:
- lowers stress and anxiety
- enhances learning (and this is great)
- can help the ageing brain stay young
Chapter by chapter, he shares basic brain science and inspiring stories on how exercise directly influences your brain, helping with anxiety, depression, ADHD, hormonal changes and the most chronic condition of our times: stress.
What kind of exercise benefits your brain?
As it turns out, you need to do aerobic exercise – think running, swimming, cycling, dancing or (the one used in many of the most convincing studies) walking – to get the benefits.
How does it work?
Executive control, and other basic mental functions like memory, can benefit from doing physical activity, as shown by recent studies. When you exercise, parts of the brain that help you to focus your attention on one task also get a work-out. This means that, if you cycled to work this morning, you wouldn’t be that distracted by all the chit-chat and notifications: your brain is now geared to zone in and get stuff done. Great news for anyone battling with attention deficit issues!
How long before I see the effects of exercise?
The positive effects of exercise on your mental function can be seen after only a quick bout of exercise! Research shows real benefits after 20-30 minute sessions of moderate aerobic exercise such as running or cycling. Imagine the effects after a few weeks!
What is ‘moderate intensity exercise’?
This will help you to measure it: during moderate intensity exercise, you should still be able to talk to someone, but you won’t be able to sing your favourite song!
Forget the fountain of youth – just get moving!
Even if you’ve taken an oath to never enter a gym, find a form of aerobic exercise that’s possible and interesting for you, and aim for 45 minutes a day.
Don’t think about weight-loss, six-packs or entering a marathon – just enjoy a stress-free break in your day that leaves you feeling better than when you started. So, what are you waiting for? Take your brain for a run around the block!