The key to caring for your brain is knowing that what’s good for your heart is good for your brain. Just like staying active with physical exercise boosts your cardiovascular fitness, it also benefits your cognitive health.
Your brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and other nutrients. Exercise increases the circulation of nutrient rich blood throughout your body, sending more oxygen to your brain. Exercise also increases a process called neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is the ability to grow new brain cells.
So, maybe you started an exercise program, because of that whole “new brain cells” thing. Congrats! Maybe you started walking, joined a gym, or watched an online workout video. It’s easy to find out how to workout, but most people don’t get instruction on how to rest between workouts.
“Rest?” you might be thinking. Yes, if you’re really getting into a good habit of exercise, you need to know how to rest.
- During Strength Training (weights): Rest for at least 60 seconds between sets. Less than that is not enough for the muscles to recover.
- After Strength Training: Rest a group of muscles (legs, arms, abs) 1-2 days before using them again for optimal recovery and progress.
- Cardio Exercise: You can do cardio pretty much every day, but don’t do too much too fast or you risk injury. Start slow and build your way up.
- Soreness: It’s normal to experience soreness after a workout and is a sign that you did something new and worked your muscles. Most soreness should pass in a few days. If you notice that your soreness continues multiple days or if you experience intense discomfort, it’s a good idea to decrease the difficulty and length of your workout the next time.
Enjoy your workout!
- Fernando Gomez-Pinilla CH. The Influence of Exercise on Cognitive Abilities. Compr Physiol. NIH Public Access; 2013;3: 403. http://paperpile.com/b/mUZ0fP/dZT9
- Mandolesi L, Polverino A, Montuori S, Foti F, Ferraioli G, Sorrentino P, et al. Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits. Front Psychol. Frontiers Media SA; 2018;9. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00509
- Warburton DER, Bredin SSD. Health benefits of physical activity: a systematic review of current systematic reviews. PubMed - NCBI [Internet]. [cited 18 Mar 2019]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28708630