Did you know that just 20 minutes of exercise a day could make you smarter?
Over the past two decades, Scientists have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. In recent years they have discovered that exercise does more to boost thinking than thinking itself. In fact, studies show that adults and children, who regularly exercise, experience improved brain health and superior cognitive skills than their less-fit peers.
So how does exercise help boost our brainpower?
It’s like Miracle Grow for our brain.
When we exercise, we increase blood flow to the brain and produce brain-derived protein which enhances our brain health and function (see more). According to Dr. John Ratey, recognized expert in Neuropsychiatry , this is like ‘miracle grow for the brain’. The benefits of this in the short term is an increase in your focus for 2 or 3 hours after physical activity and, in the long term, it can help reduce brain aging.
It gives us more positive energy
Regular physical activity improves your muscle strength and boosts your endurance. Just 20 minutes of exercise helps your body produce more energy, helping you to think more clearly and come up with new ideas.
Better yet, participating in any aerobic activity can actually make us happier! When we exercise we release a chemical called serotonin, popularly thought to be a contributor to maintaining a positive mood balance.
It improves our memory
Your brain remembers more when your body is active. When we exercise, we release endorphins, which help to improve concentration, our ability to prioritise tasks and our working memory.
In our late 20’s we lose about 1% (annually) of the volume of the hippocampus – a key portion of the brain related to memory. Although, this may not be an immediate concern for the younger generations, encouraging physical activity from a young age can set a lifelong discipline for our children to keep fit and avoid brain aging and memory loss in the future.
Use it or lose it…
Your brain is no different than the rest of the muscles in your body–you either use it or you lose it. Is 20 minutes daily activity going to produce a child genius? Probably not. Nevertheless, along with all the other obvious health benefits, keeping active does provide substantial benefits for maintaining their brain health.
So, make sure you get out and active this Summer with your kids. Just 20 minutes playing in the garden, or a trip to the swimming pool can help you both to boost your brain power and prepare you for the new school year!