Why Exercise is so good for your brain!
I just watched the TED talk, by Dr. Wendy Suzuki. Inspiring and Informative. Here’s my summary of her talk.
The brain changing benefits of exercise | TED talk by Wendy Suzuki
See her talk at:
The power of exercise
- Better Mood
- Better Memory
- Better Attention
- Better Energy
Exercise is the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today for the following reasons:
- Exercise has immediate effects on your brain, a single workout that you
do will immediately increase levels of neurotransmitters, like dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline. That is going to increase your mood right after that workout. A single workout can improve your ability to shift and focus attention, and that focus improvement will last for at least two hours. Finally studies have shown that a single workout will improve your reaction times. To get the long-lasting effects, you need to change your exercise regime, increase your cardiorespiratory function.
- The most common finding in neuroscience studies, looking at effects of long-term exercise, is improved attention function dependent on your prefrontal cortex. You not only get better focus and attention, but the volume of the hippocampus increases as well.
- Finally you not only get immediate effects of mood with exercise, but those last for a long time.
Protective effects on your brain. Here you can think about the brain like a muscle. The more you are working out the bigger and stronger your hippocampus and prefrontal cortex gets.
Why is that important?
Because the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus are the two areas that are most susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases and normal cognitive decline in aging.
So with increased exercise over your lifetime, you’re not going to cure dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but what you’re going to do is you’re going to create the strongest, biggest hippocampus and prefrontal cortex so it takes longer for these diseases to actually have an effect.
You can think of exercise, therefore, as a supercharged 401K for your brain, OK?
And it’s even better, because it’s free.
Just tell me the minimum amount of exercise I need to get all these changes.
First, good news: you don’t have to become a triathlete to get these effects.
The rule of thumb is you want to get three to four times a week exercise minimum 30 minutes an exercise session, and you want to get aerobic exercise in. That is, get your heart rate up.
And the good news is, you don’t have to go to the gym to get a very expensive gym membership.
Add an extra walk around the block in your power walk. You see stairs — take stairs. And power-vacuuming can be as good as the aerobics class that you were going to take at the gym.
Wendy Suzuki, neuroscientist, wants to understand the optimum exercise prescription for you, at your age, and your fitness level, for your genetic background, to maximize the effects of exercise today and also to improve your brain and protect your brain the best for the rest of your life.
One last thought, and that is, bringing exercise in your life will not only give you a happier, more protective life today, but it will protect your brain from incurable diseases, and in this way it will change the trajectory of your life for the better.
More information can be found at her website: Wendy Suzuki