Aerobic exercise increases the amount of oxygen in the blood and studies on rats have shown that neurons (the brain's nerve cells responsible for communication) operate better when they get more oxygen. So, if you think you’re going to get smarter sitting in front of your computer or watching television, think again.
Movement and exercise increase breathing and heart rate so that more blood flows to the brain, enhancing energy production. In fact studies have shown that moving your body can help:
- Minimize symptoms of depression
- Combat mental decline
- Increase memory function
- Improve concentration
Knowledge of the effects of exercise on the body and mind continues to grow and in doing so, it helps to guide the development of new therapies to improve our general quality of life. There seems to be little downside to a moderate aerobic exercise program; with the approval of your health professional, of course.
References from the SIRC Collection:
1. Archer S. Youth Exercise Contributes to Cognitive Development. IDEA Fitness Journal [serial online]. February 2012;9(2):76.
2. Brisk Walking Can Rebuild Your Brain. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter [serial online]. March 2007;25(1):1-2.
3. Don't Put Off Exercise--Put Off Alzheimer's Instead. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter [serial online].
4. Kleim J. Exercise and the Brain: Exciting discoveries underscore how exercise benefits brain health and boosts lifelong learning. IDEA Fitness Journal [serial online].
Studies: Physical exercise a good warm-up for learning. Pennsylvania Journal Of Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance [serial online].