Exercise Is Good For Your Brain

Most everyone knows that exercise is good for your body and your cardiovascular system. Did you know that exercise is good for your brain, too? According to Professor Charles Hillman at the University of Illinois, 30 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise can increase your mental cognition by up to 10 percent. Professor Hillman measured the cognitive performance of volunteers before and after exercising. The volunteers performed better on the tests following exercise. Exercise helps you to perform better at cognitive tasks, because you think more clearly and your mood is improved. The brain functions better after exercise because  acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, is released in the muscle tissues near nerve endings. Engage in some moderate exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 3 to 4 days a week to get a brain boost and a healthy body. 
Photo Credit: PD-USGOV
Jump rope is an exercise that you can do at home, at the gym, on your lunch break at work, or just about anywhere there is room to swing a rope. Jumping rope is an excellent moderately strenuous exercise that involves most all of the major muscle groups and helps to improve your coordination and balance. Athletes, especially boxers, jump rope to get a good aerobic exercise and improve their coordination and stamina. Jump rope for about 10 to 15 minutes or until you begin to sweat. Gradually increase your time spent jumping rope until you can jump steadily for 30 minutes. 

Aerobic dance exercise is another way to get a really good workout and boost your brain power. Dance aerobics classes are popular and often available at local gyms and fitness clubs. The advantages of signing up for an aerobic dance exercise class are detailed instructions and personal assistance from trained fitness professionals. The more experienced aerobic dancers can also do aerobic dance exercises at home by following instructions on an aerobic exercise DVD. Try to do at least 15 to 20 minutes of aerobic dance exercise every other day as part of your overall fitness program. 
Swimming is an aerobic exercise that is very low impact, but involves all the major muscle groups for an intense aerobic workout. Local gyms, fitness clubs and the YMCA usually have a swimming pool available for public use or a low membership fee. Swimming is one of the best ways to work your whole body with minimum risk of injury. Swim for 30 minutes, three times each week. 

For more information about exercising to improve cognitive function, see: 

ABC News Good Morning America, Study: Exercise Can Make You Smarter, Claire Shipman, et al. 2009
Scientific American, Fit Body, Fit Mind? Your Workout Makes You Smarter, Christopher Hertzog et al., 2009
The Franklin Institute, Brain Training Games, Renew-Exercise, 2004

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