How about using exercise to build your brain?
The British Medical Journal published a new study that establish that short 10 to 40 minutes bursts of exercise led to an immediate boost in concentration and mental focus, likely by improving blood flow to the brain.
It is very common to hear about how exercise can lift your mood, ward off depression, and help the brain age more gracefully free of memory loss and dementia, and now we can add, improving your mental focus and cognitive performance for any situation, to that list.
“These results provide further evidence that doing about 20 minutes of exercise just before taking a test or giving a speech can improve performance,” said Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey, who wrote the best-selling book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
Exercise boosts a chemical called BDNF, which is instrumental for the development of new nerve connections and brain tissue in areas of the brain responsible for higher reasoning, which Ratey calls Miracle-Gro for the brain.
Slow and steady workouts several times a week also increase levels of serotonin, which is a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.
It doesn´t matter if you are 10 or 60, here are some ideas to use exercise to increase brain power:
- To improve blood flow to the brain, helping to improve the transmission of signals through the nerve cells, try high intensity or cardiovascular exercises, like, jumping rope, running in place and squat bends.
- Burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, moderate activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants.
- Try something new, maybe Yoga or Pilates, according to Ratey, taking up a new workout routine that requires hand-eye coordination or fancy foot moves puts a little stress on your brain cells to help them grow.