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One of my 2018 goals was to read more books. Since I wanted to make this a SMART goal, I decided I set the goal to read 12 books, 6 fiction, and 6 non-fiction. One of my friends made a recommendation to read Brain Rules, as it had some helpful insights on how to be a better instructor based on scientific studies conducted on the brain.
What’s this all got to do with exercise you ask? It’s that of the 12 Brain Rules outlined in the book, Brain Rule #2 is “Exercise boosts Brain Power.”
Research has shown that when going from a sedentary lifestyle to doing regular aerobic exercise, after four months executive brain functions vastly improves and memory improves as well. This means your ability to manage time, pay attention, problem solve, and remember things gets better with regular exercise. Regular aerobic exercise also helps to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzhemers.
Why? For two reasons, from the book:
1. Exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain, which reduces brain-bound free radicals. One of the most interesting findings of the past few decades is that an increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness2. Exercise acts directly on the molecular machinery of the brain itself. It increases neurons’ creation, survival, and resistance to damage and stress.
So how can you put this into action today? By starting a regular program of aerobic exercise, at least 3 times per week. Here four ways you can start doing aerobic workouts today:
- Start with a low impact cardio workout like walking. You can do this outside or on the treadmill. Try to walk for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Become a runner. Here’s an 8 week running plan that can take you from being sedentary to running a 5k.
- Try a Triathalon….on the exercise machines! If your gym has a bike, an elliptical, and a treadmill, do 10 minutes on each machine for a 30 minute aerobic workout.
- Try a HIIT workout. Shorter intervals of high intensity work also build up your aerobic capacity, and can burn more calories over a longer period of time.
Whichever method you choose, the point is to do something to break a sweat and get you breathing a little harder than normal. Not only will you build up your body, but you’ll be boosting your brain power.
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