Healthy Habits for Brain : Get Physical Exercise
We know that exercise is good for the body, but it’s also incredibly good for the brain. As the authors of “The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness: 18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice, and Product Reviews to Keep Your Brain Sharp” point out, physical exercise is one of the four pillars of brain fitness, the other three being good nutrition, stress management, and mental stimulation. Exercise gets rid of harmful stress chemicals and it boosts problem-solving, planning, and attention. Getting more exercise will help you improve your cognitive functions whether you’re a high school or college student, part of the work force, or an elderly person in retirement.
Below you’ll find interesting data from two books, filled with information on how our brains work, which describe the science behind the discovery that our brain functions much better when we exercise.
The First Brain Rule is to Exercise In the New York Times bestseller “Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School”, Dr. John Medina—a developmental molecular biologist focused on the genes involved in human brain development—shares 12 rules that will improve the functioning of your brain so that you can get the most out of it. He explains that the first rule for getting your brain to work at its best is to exercise. Dr. Medina argues that if we were to design an almost perfect anti-brain environment, it would look like our current classrooms and work cubicles.
Because a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor)–which builds and nourishes the infrastructure of cell circuitry in the brain—is created when you’re physically active. Dr. Medina basically calls BDNF brain fertilizer, and he equates a group of kids sitting around in a classroom listening to a lecture, or an employee sitting in a cramped cubicle typing away at his computer, with a light bulb that is turned off. However, when the kids are out on the playground, or the employee is walking to work, the light bulb is turned on. He suggests that employees have “walking meetings” in a treadmill conference room, that they move around the office as they speak on the phone, or that they sit on exercise balls and bounce up and down as they read their e-mails. Creative solutions can also be found to get kids in the classroom to be more physically active.
In addition, Dr. Medina explains that in 18 studies of older adults, those who exercised outperformed those who did not in long-term memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving, abstract thinking, and more. He goes on to say that an active lifestyl
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