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Your Brain on Exercise

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Who needs more motivation to workout?  Check this out, research now suggests that working out will make you smarter!!!  O.K. maybe not a genius but exercise will increase blood flow which in turn will help brain function and development.  This is an article written by Tony Horton based on a Newsweek report about the benefits of exercise.  (CLICK HERE to read the article)  I thought this was a great time to promote more reasons why everyone should be working out.  Even if is’t only for 20 minutes a day.

There was an astonishing article in Newsweek a while back about the benefits of exercise on the brain that just blew my mind/brain/cranium/noggin.  Here’s what I’ve learned from this article and further research.

Just 20 minutes of exercise

We all know that working out and exercising do amazing things for our  bodies, and the benefits, in addition to weight loss and getting fit,  are endless. Most of us know that when our hearts, legs, and lungs get  pumping, we feel much better than if we did nothing. Turns out that  doing 20 minutes or more of cardiovascular and/or high-paced resistance  workouts affects every aspect of our lives.

The science behind the brain magic

The great thing about the Newsweek article is that it really  laid out the scientific findings over the last few years. Here’s the  scoop: When you’re forced to pull more oxygen into the body through  exercise, you break what’s called the blood-brain barrier. It happens  when you climb a long flight of stairs, or when you’re busting through  any kind of workout that gets your heart rate pumping. This  oxygen-filled blood makes its way into the temporal lobe of the brain.  Inside that temporal lobe is an area called the hippocampus. Inside the  hippocampus lies the seahorse-shaped area known as the dentate gyrus. As  you exercise, these oxygen-filled blood cells rush into this area of  the brain. A chemical/protein called IGF-1 is formed and released inside  the dentate gyrus, which ramps up another chemical/molecule called  BDNF; both IGF-1 and BDNF are like Miracle-Gro® for the brain.

Benefits for all, from kids to adults

Power 90®Studies involving folks from kids right up to seniors have proven that high-paced workouts (Power 90®, P90X®, Tony & the Kids!,  etc.) cause the release of the chemicals mentioned above into the  brain. Combine this with even more “brain drugs” like dopamine,  serotonin, and norepinephrine, and you’ve got yourself a feel-good party  in your head. Aerobic physical movement causes the release of these  chemicals, and they all help you focus and give you energy when you need  it. They also help you relax and rest properly. It’s like a homemade  chemistry set inside your skull that produces a cocktail that simulates  the effects of Prozac® and Ritalin®.

Children who play outdoors more often score better on tests than kids  who don’t. Regular physical activity improves memory, mood, and  problem-solving abilities. Consistent exercise raises self-esteem and  decreases anxiety. Study after study has proven that people who exercise  5 to 6 days a week greatly decrease their need for psychotherapeutic  drugs. If your brain goes without regular bouts of exercise, the  hippocampus will shrink and erode, which can lead to neurological  illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease. When the dentate gyrus is  stimulated, neurogenesis (the generation of new neurons) or  neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to change, also known as cortical  remapping) occurs. I’m not talking about just slowing the aging process;  I’m telling you that the brain creates new cells through  exercise—brand-new cells that assist in the reversal of aging.

By Tony Horton, creator of P90X®

“If you’re looking for the Fountain of Youth, you can find it inside your head every time you exercise for more than 20 minutes.”


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