Exercise Your Brain

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Your thighs may not be the sole benefactor from some one on one time with the treadmill. A recent study by Harvard Medical School found “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning,” says Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. “Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.” If that is not enough incentive to hit the gym, I don’t know what is!

If the weight of the world is feeling heavy, instead of grabbing the Ben & Jerry’s Triple Caramel Chunk from the freezer, head outside for a jog. Thirty minutes of cardiovascular activity boosts brain soothing chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, melting tension away.

Exercise not only alleviates daily stressors, but may actually help at a cellular level as well. In a June study by the University of California at San Francisco researchers found that stressed-out women who exercised vigorously for an average of 45 minutes over a three day period had fewer cells that showed signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and inactive.

Similarly, mild symptoms of depression can be warded off by burning 350 calories three times a week through physical activity. Exercise stimulates the growth of neurons in the brain that are damaged by depression. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine may allow one to no longer need the use of anti-depressants.

We’ve all heard of a runner’s high, but is it a myth? Studies say no. Interval training yields the best results. Try sprinting in bursts of 30-40 seconds, then slow down your pace for five minutes, repeat for a total of five intervals. You’ll be feeling extra peppy the rest of the day!

Source: U.S. News & World Report




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