We all know that aerobic exercises are great for our body and circulation, but have you ever thought of them aerobic exercise as brain exercises? Well, it’s true. If your oxygen level is low you lose your ability to concentrate. If you can’t concentrate you can’t learn new information. Physical exercise actually increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain, allowing you to think better.
Research over the last ten years has verified that you can actually grow new brain cells (neurons) in the hippocampus area of the brain — the part responsible for memory. A study at National Academy of Sciences in 2007 showed that “a three-month program of vigorous aerobic exercise seemed to produce new neurons in this area, as well as improvements on tests of mental recall.” Participants in this study gained 30% more brain cells after exercising one to two hours a day for four days a week on a stationary bike or treadmill. The more you exercise the better for your body, your immune system, your lifespan and your brain.
Benefits of exercise:
- Improved memory!
- Better concentration
- Sharper thinking ability
- Longer life
- Increased resistance to disease
- Look better physically
- Feel better physically
- More endurance
- Reduced stress levels
- Better cholesterol levels
- Improved digestion
- Lose weight
- Stronger heart and lungs
- Stronger bones
- More energy
- Better sleep
Fitness expert Robert Sweetgall, who has walked over 70,000 miles in his lifetime, explains: “Exercise helps oxygenate (supply oxygen to) the brain. This supply makes it function better. Even walking 15 minutes a day will help you focus better.” The way I read this…the more oxygen to your brain the better!
If the idea of actually working out doesn’t appeal to you, or if you are physically not able to get up and work out, try some simple isometric exercises at home while on the computer or watching TV. There are a lot of different sites available to walk you through the routines that will work for you. Of course it is better to get up and out, so going to a gym, workout center, senior center or even joining friends in a buddy-system exercise program will be helpful.
But, if you think your brain increases because you ran on the treadmill once last week, think again. Like any muscle, your brain takes time to build up. A regular routine of at least three times a week for 20 minutes of intensive cardio exercise will amaze you with the results. The trick is to push yourself (thus the word intensive). You won’t gain anything by doing just the minimum amount; you need to get out of your comfort zone.
My name is Ron White, and I am a two-time USA Memory Champion, memory training expert and memory keynote speaker.
Memory Improvement Tips.com — Exercise and Memory: http://www.memory-improvement-tips.com/exercise.html
HelpGuide.org — How to Improve Your Memory: http://www.helpguide.org/life/improving_memory.htm