In a day and age where so many of us are overworked, overscheduled, and overcommitted, do you have 10 minutes to spare? Hopefully you do, because evidence suggests that as little as 10 minutes of very light exercise daily can be good for your brain! A bit of exercise can help sharpen your memory, and facilitate neuronal changes that enhance learning and thinking. Research indicates that yes – you can actually improve your memory with just a short 10 minute walk!
Stepping towards a healthier mind
There are plenty of reasons for being physically active. Regular exercise helps prevent and manage countless chronic conditions, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It also promotes good sleep, improves your mood, boosts your sex life, and helps you stay at a healthy weight.
But perhaps the ultimate benefits of working out daily are its long-term effects on memory and cognition, as well as its ability to protect your brain against neurological conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In a 2018 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers asked a group of 36 college students to sit on a stationary bike for 10 minutes and do nothing. At a separate date, they were told to pedal leisurely for 10 minutes, at a pace so subtle it barely raised their heart rate — about 30% of their maximal oxygen consumption. The participants were asked to take computerized memory tests immediately following both sessions (exercise and non-exercise).
Surprisingly, the results of the study showed that, as short and undemanding as it was, the effects of the exercise were beyond question. Right after gently pedaling for a mere 10 minutes, the students fared better remembering the images shown on the memory tests, especially those that were harder to discern. M.R.I tests also confirmed that specific portions of the participant’s brains associated with learning seemed to communicate better after being physically active.
Furthermore, a study of older adults who agreed to donate their brains to science when they passed, also found significant cognitive improvements among active individuals. Participants of the longitudinal research study underwent annual medical and mental evaluations for about 20 years when they were alive. They also wore wrist devices that measured their daily activity levels around the clock.
During the postmortem phase of the study, researchers analyzed 454 brain autopsies of deceased participants, looking for clues on whether physical activity could be associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other brain conditions.
As expected, results showed that the more active a lifestyle the individual led prior to his or her death, the better their cognitive function. And those who moved more also had fewer odds of dementia and other brain pathologies. In technical terms, for every one standard deviation increase in physical activity, there was a 31% lower risk of dementia in the time leading up to the individual’s death.
The findings of these and other studies show that exercise can quite literally change your brain for the better. And what’s more, these effects are immediate and long-lasting. In other words, you don’t have to break your back at the gym for months on end to protect your brain and improve your memory.
Moving your body can have powerful effects on your brain
Regular physical activity benefits your brain in several ways. Mainly, it is an excellent remedy against the many factors that negatively affect cognition, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Poor circulation
Some research also suggests that people who work out often also seem to have a larger hippocampus and more gray matter, compared to sedentary folks. The hippocampus is a critical region of the brain deeply involved in emotion processing, learning, and memory formation.
Help improve your memory – try it for yourself!
So what can you do to reap the brain-changing benefits of physical activity and improve your memory? Just start moving more! Research shows that being physically active — regardless of workout type and duration — not only enables your brain to age better; it also increases its ability to withstand neurological damage and keeps your memory sharp and agile.
And if you’re looking to give your thinker an extra hand, try our new and improved Calm & Clever daily supplement, formulated with scientifically proven all-natural ingredients shown to support cognitive function, reduce cortisol levels, and enhance memory.
Akeso Health Sciences
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