Give Your Brain 30 Minutes a Day

Exercise


How does getting your heart rate up impact your brain health?

Your brain needs oxygen to function at its best. When you exercise, the circulatory system speeds up the intake of oxygen. When your heart beats faster, your brain gets the added benefit of receiving more oxygen.

People tend to feel more alert after exercise. This phenomenon happens because exercise encourages neurogenesis. Hitting the gym actually helps you grow new brain cells!

We all know that exercise is good for our bodies. Still, many of us find it challenging to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day. How can you make it work for you?

  1. Start slow: If you can’t get a 30 minute gym break at work, take a 5 minute break instead. Climb some stairs or take a quick jog around the parking lot. Eventually you can increase your break time as it works for you.
  2. Combine exercise with something you enjoy: There’s a reason most runners wear headphones. Exercise is more fun when you engage your brain with something else you love. Whether that’s AC/DC, the Eagles or an audiobook, combining two activities can help you find more motivation to work out. You can even work out in front of your favorite show if that’s what gets you going.
  3. Bring a friend: Catch up with a friend on a brisk walk. It will be good for your heart, brain and soul. Plus, you’ll be helping your friend’s brain health, too.
  4. Make it first: As the day goes on, our calendars just get filled with obligations. When it comes time to finally exercise, there may be no more time left in your day. When you wake up, throw on your work out clothes and get going. You’ll fly through the rest of your day feeling alert and proud you made it happen.

References

  • Farris, W., Mansourian, S., Chang, Y., Lindsley, L., Eckman, E. A., Frosch, M. P., … Guenette, S. (2003). Insulin-degrading enzyme regulates the levels of insulin, amyloid beta-protein, and the beta-amyloid precursor protein intracellular domain in vivo. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 100(7), 4162–4167. doi:10.1073/pnas.0230450100
  • Weuve, J., Kang, J. H., Manson, J. E., Breteler, M. M. B., Ware, J. H., & Grodstein, F. (2004). Physical activity, including walking, and cognitive function in older women. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 292(12), 1454–1461. doi:10.1001/jama.292.12.1454
  • Yau, S.-Y., Gil-Mohapel, J., Christie, B. R., & So, K.-F. (2014). Physical exercise-induced adult neurogenesis: a good strategy to prevent cognitive decline in neurodegenerative diseases? BioMed Research International, 2014, 403120.0. doi:10.1155/2014/403120