Related ArticleExercise & Brain Health
When you look in the mirror, you can see the results of exercise on your body, but not on your brain. Yet, physical exercise definitely has an impact on brain health, according to Vince Andrich, Executive Vice President at Xact, a new dietary supplement designed to help you gain a mental edge.
Exercise helps the brain by providing blood flow, circulation, and utilization of energy. When your body uses glucose, the primary nutrient for your brain, it also reduces a possible overload of glucose in your brain. Andrich explains that our brains have a certain amount of glucose they can process, and when you burden your body with a poor diet and lack of exercise, you can become prone to insulin resistance, higher levels of inflammation, and you may reduce the growth factors and chemicals necessary to regrow new brain cells. Recommended Exercise
A fitness enthusiast and former body builder with over 25 years of experience in Performance Nutrition, Andrich says any level of exercise is beneficial for your brain. Lower intensity exercise can reduce stress and provides time for reflection. Even if you’re watching TV or listening to a podcast while exercising, as long as you’re moving, you’re releasing dopamine, endorphins and other chemicals that heighten your brain activity. With all the noise and distractions in our daily lives, we need more stimulation to naturally release those chemicals.
Andrich recommends high intensity cardio exercise at least twice a week, with the goal of raising your heart rate to a level where conversation is difficult. Only about 12 to 15 minutes at this level is necessary to release chemicals and trigger your system to store energy for later. Three days a week, plan on a lower intensity activity such at walking for 12 to 15 minutes, and schedule a minimum of two days a week of weight training.
Many research studies are now examining how exercise relates to conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s, so consistent physical activity is more important than ever.Brain Games
In addition to physical exercise, make sure you are mentally exercising for optimal brain fitness. There are now specially designed “brain games” and apps available, but simple challenges such as balancing your check book, taking a different route to your destination, using your non-primary hand for routine tasks, and good old fashioned puzzles are also very helpful.
The goal of brain exercise is focus, which is especially important in our multi-tasking society. When we focus, our neurons become stronger. Baby cells can grow and add to brain capacity, which is called neuroplasticity, or re-growing new brain cells. When we multi-task, our brains can get in the habit of blocking things out. This lack of focus can cause anxiety and frustrating memory issues that most of us have experienced, such as misplacing keys or walking in to a room, only to wonder why. Your Brain Is Your Most Important Muscle
If you need motivation to exercise, remember that physical exercise also has fitness benefits for your most important muscle: your brain. Make sure you get the proper exercise so your brain can continue to do the heavy lifting and provide the focus you need for your busy lifestyle and future health.
For more information on brain health, visit xactmind.com